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Transitional Dresses on a Budget

"Am I allergic to pants?"

I ask myself this question every morning. However, when I go shopping, I look for pants and I end up with dresses so I have to give myself an A+ for effort. Just like every other season, I'm craving "transitional" dresses for the ole summer-to-autumn cool down. I'm also broke. Here are my three bargain picks and thoughts on why they work:

Target Xhiliration Bodycon Striped Dress, $15

I bought this dress without trying it on which is something I never do (I'm responsible like that - har, har). However, it was on sale and it was Target, which generally tricks me into buying a bunch of crap I don't need. I'm ecstatic that I found this though! It was on sale and I loved it so much that I went back a week later to get another. It's cotton, which is awesome for the summer, but I'm committed to it working with black suspender tights as well. With red lips, a messy bun, and simple flats, I feel like a sexy French girl.

Why It Works: When I first wrote about dresses, I mentioned the body con style and there were a ton of reader suggestions that this dress type looks great on hourglass or full bust figures. Until I stumbled on the dress above, I hadn't found anything that truly clicked so I was skeptical. When I went back for my second stripey number, I tried this same dress on in the solid colors and it didn't look nearly as good. The stripes, I decided, help to conceal irregular lines (like the panty and bra variety). I also appreciate that the sleeves are shorter, as if to say, "Hey yo', look at my waist!".

Goodwill "Styleworks" Dress, $5.50

Typically, I have a general distaste for thrift store shopping. I know, I know. I swear, now you know the least hip thing about me! Like Billy Bob Thornton's aversion to antiques, I get a bit of the heeby jeebies from the idea that something's been previously owned. However, I'm trying to branch out recently and it looks super cool when other people do it so I made a special trip to the local Goodwill. I found this dress, which my friend said was "really 90s". Um, yes. Except the nineties are cool again! Hasn't anyone seen the Urban Outfitters catalog?! Question: If I paired it with these AMAZING floral Doc Martens would it be too much? Or, just right? Just to set the mood, I posed like an obnoxious hipster:

Why It Works: Controversial, but I'm gonna say it...puffy shoulders! Puffy shoulders make you forget I have boobs. However, taking into consideration the feedback I received on my dresses series, this magic concealment trick only works on the narrow shouldered ladies. But hey, this dress is totally made by the tie waist which is something anyone can pull off.

Jessica Simpson (via Marshall's), $25

My newest dress obsession is long sleeved, chiffon-y numbers that have some flattering waist details. I've been giving the hard look to this monochromatic, polka dot frock and this equally beguiling, vanilla confection. So, when I walked into Marshall's on a rainy day and saw the happy floral print below, I was a goner. I've also been searching everywhere for a high-low hem and haven't found anything that worked. I didn't even notice it right away because it's subtle, but it's definitely longer in the back.

Why It Works: Enough room in the bust. This is certainly a dress that, if measured differently on the top, would've never worked on me (Thanks, Jessie S.!). Also, like all the dresses in this post, it does a swell job of finding and flattering my waist. Since the difference between the hemlines isn't as dramatic as other dresses I've tried, it doesn't highlight or maximize my hips. Hooray.

Now, for the fun stuff! Have you been bargain shopping for fall essentials? Do you think my awkwardness in thrift stores is utterly lame? But most importantly, where do you hunt for the greatest cheap dresses?


  1. I love all of these dresses on you, especially the stripey one! Very cute!

    I have yet to do my fall dress shopping....actually....I don't know that I really wear dresses in the fall; I'm usually more of a summer dress kind of girl.

    But for bargains I usually hit Kohl's, Old Navy or even Forever 21. Kohl's always has great sales and they are always mailing out coupons :-)

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