Monday, February 6, 2017

Budget friendly basics...starting with Tops.

Most women I know like to get a bargain,
especially on clothing and
many will only buy at the sales when items are sold at a reduced price.

Thrift and consignment shops are great places to look for items when one is trying to stretch the clothing budget.

Finding decent tops in great condition can be a challenge, particularly in the thrift shops. Tops seem to show wear faster than most pants or sweaters.

I have been on the hunt for some new white Tees,
which I never seem to find second hand,
readers gave me numerous suggestions of their favourite brands
many of which are sold exclusively online.

I am tactile and visual so I prefer to try things on before I buy them.
Returns can be expensive and I am frugal
so I do not like to "pay to try things on."

Last year I had a rather tedious experience when ordering Tees.
The fabric on the Tees was too thin and sheer and the styles were quite shaped which meant that they clung to reveal and focused on my untoned  midsection...

Currently I am working to improve this area at the gym,
but in the meantime, I do not want to advertise my wobbly bits!

Tees and crisp white shirts are two items that I love to have in my wardrobe.
I obviously have high expectations
when currently planning to replace those that are tired and worn out.

Two new white Tees 
by Joe Fresh
which I will be test driving for the next while.

Mr. HB and I drove out to the Western Community on the weekend and we stopped in at Superstore where a line of clothing by the name of Joe Fresh is sold.
It is a low cost line of clothing that Club Monaco founder Joe Mimran sells.
The cotton Tee on the left is lightweight and has some texture to the fabric 
but is not too sheer and was on sale for $7.64
The "performance tee" is made in a heavier weight blend 
 spandex is mixed with the cotton
has body, does not cling 
 sells for $16.00

I really like to try things on as sizing is not standard like men's wear.
Here is an example of the size variations...

Two basic black tank tops which make great layering pieces.
Gap in an XL
Haggar in a Small.

Impressions top in a Large.

Two other tops in blue...
Style and Co. 
Calvin Klein

These 7 basics are my casual every day tops.

I have 2 other active wear tops for working out in at the gym and on my walks.

Keeping a small inventory of clothing is necessary as our closet is really small.
It does make it easier to stay within a budget and it means getting dressed is mush faster as there are not too many choices.

I will share some more aspects of my minimal wardrobe in a future post.

Thank you for your suggestions and comments about the Tees
and I hope you have a lovely week.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~


  1. I know what you mean about finding tops! It can be so frustrating! Those two white tops look very nice, and look cut nicely, too. I bought a Joe Fresh Breton top with an orange stripe at a thrift store, and love the fit of it. I had never heard of the line before that. I will definitely look into finding some white tops like yours. Google to the rescue!

    1. Joe Fresh make many well cut garments in decent my experience they have worn well. I am sure that they have online sales.

  2. I love white tees from Talbot's - they are not to sheer, wash well, and last for quite a bit.

  3. I'm on the hunt for a white T without pockets that is quite loose. Difficult isn't it.

    1. Those pesky pockets, ah yes!...
      when one has a "generous balcony" as I do, those pockets are not all that flattering!

  4. Did you know there was a Joe Fresh store at Uptown mall? (If it's still there, that is). It's a nice big store with lots of choices. I like the heavier tee in white, looks comfy. I don't live in Victoria any more and enjoy your pictures.

    1. Unfortunately the Uptown Joe Fresh shop has closed.
      Oh you'd be surprised by how much snow we are getting this winter!
      Its a snow day here in The Humble Bungalow!

    NOT SO SHEER.........wear it NOT TUCKED IN so LONGER.......roll sleeves up.
    I know you have a beautiful laundry room so IRONING it would NOT BE A PROBLEM!YOU can always find these shirts in the USA in THRIFT SHOPS!AND REALLY TOP NAME BRANDS!I know it might be out of your comfort zone but pass it BY THING FINDER........XX

    1. Yes I agree that tuxedo shirt is a great item!
      I have a crisp white shirt, still in circulation, and I love to roll up the sleeves wear the tails out side of my skinny jeans and layer on multiple strands of pearls...
      I have had a crisp white shirt in my wardrobe for as long as I can remember...they are classics!

  6. I am fortunate to live in a city that has abundant shopping opportunities. Even so, it is sometimes daunting to find the right white t-shirt. I've found that J Jill (not an exciting retailer) sometimes has exactly what I am looking for. But, sometimes their offerings don't work. You are so right--it IS important to see the items in person.

    1. I liked what I saw on the JJIll would be a store that I would definitely peruse regularly if it were in my town.

  7. I always forget about the Joe Fresh line. I have always found their pieces to be good value and good quality.

    1. It really is not that far to drive to except in these snowy conditions! I used to check out the stock regularly when they had the store at Uptown. Still it is worth the drive for the variety and selection and they have some fun seasonal things for the home too...cheerful planters of primulas right now which I forgot to add to my cart while there this past weekend. Hope you are doing well.

  8. I tend to go for modal white t shirts as they keep their shape and their whiteness (at least for one season!) ... and require no ironing!
    I do find I need to buy at least one new white t shirt at the start of each summer, as I like sparkly white. I avoid shirts because of the ironing ... and the balcony, as you beautifully call it!

    1. The idea of ironing used to be daunting but I find it very relaxing...I have ironed tees in the past, it depends on the fabric...yes that balcony does factor in quite a bit when buying tops!


    1. Oh please do not be discouraged...I loved that you suggested that idea...I think Ines de la Fressange wrote about it in her Chic Parisian Fashion are in good company!

  10. Love that black and white Impressions top you showed. "Wobbly bits" is a perfect description. That's how I have come to think of my upper arms! I used to have great upper arms. Oh dear.

    1. My English friend calls them "bingo arms" trainer calls them "angels wings!"
      I like the trainer's label the best!

  11. Here's my problem with many if the cotton knit tees I buy. I get pin size holes around the waistline area or a little lower. Is it from rubbing against the snap or zipper? These are not necessarily cheap tops either and sometimes happens after only a few wearings. Does anyone else have this problem?

    1. I would hazard a guess and suggest it might be the teeth of the zipper...have you tried pants with a wide stretchy band or zip on the side? I bought some ponte knit Calvin Klein pull on dressier pants and also had a pair before by Nygaard called Slims that were figure flattering and oh so comfy and they did not look like "old lady pants!"

  12. The whole sizing issue is so frustrating and makes online shopping difficult. Last summer I was in the BAY looking for some new, dressy tops - I had lost weight and wasn't sure about sizing so took in a number of tops.

    I had a Regular size Medium. Large & Extra Large - plus two tops in the Plus sizes 1x and 2x. Each and every top fit exactly the same way - just ridiculous!

    I've never shopped at Joe Fresh but will check them out in a few months (not clothes shopping until at least June) as a number of friends have had good luck there.

    1. Margie, your experience is exactly why I like to try things on...
      then there is also what they call "vanity sizing" which makes things even more confusing!

  13. I love these posts. Like you, we have a teeny closet. Our was was built in 1927. I don't think women had massive amounts of clothing back then. So these are really inspiring to me. ~Mary

    1. Sunday Best and a few dresses for house work would probably make up the extent of an "average" working class woman's wardrobe. Our 1912 bungalow was built for a woman who was a seamstress, she had been widowed and had several children...I cannot imagine her having the funds to fill a closet with many garments...her focus would probably have been food and shelter.

  14. Hmm - it is difficult to find the "right thing". And even more so because i think we all need to be mindful that the bargains we seek are not made with misery - cheap clothing often equals horrible labour practices and conditions for the children, women and men who make the garments. Perhaps Joe Fresh has improved its practices - and they were one of the companies behind the shocking warehouse collapse that killed so many.

    For me, it's worth it to pay more (no, I am not rich) to know that the people who made the clothing are not being exploited. Two resources if you're interested: Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion and

  15. Loblaws is one of the companies being sued for that terrible fire in Bangladesh in 2013.
    Wal Mart, Gap and Sears have also been mentioned in a Huffington Post article about sweatshop clothing...I think there are many many more retailers who outsource their more here
    I do not consider myself to be an "average consumer"...I don't think I represent the mass consumer who is looking for cheap fast fashion in bulk quantities.
    Purchases are not motivated by greed, but by for the want of a better word "need."
    Shopping is not a past time nor do I buy many things and half of what I do buy is second hand.
    Those two sites anonymous has mentioned have lots of good information, and I would encourage you to read them.

    3 of the recommended "ethically made brands" in fashion that I am familiar with, are Stella McCartney, Eileen Fisher and Patagonia... that leaves a huge gap in what consumers know about where their garments are made and a lots more needs to be made available to consumers if we are to choose clothing that is not made in countries where practices are not ethical. It sounds to me like this is a movement that is gathering speed and support and hopefully will continue to expose bad labour practises so that consumers can wear garments that are "guilt free."

  16. I don't care for white tops at all. Inevitably they get a grey tinge. You have to have the right colouring for white next to the face. Just doesn't suit me. Regarding chest pockets, I actually went to the trouble to phone LL Bean, whom I like, because almost every top in a ladies wear catalog featured one or two chest pockets. I can't imagine any woman would put anything in them, even a pen. Not flattering unless you are small. Similar with shirts --the dreaded gap or if you go with a larger size there is a lot of extra fabric around the waist.

    I'm awaiting an order from Lands End including 3 T shirts. Hoping for the best. They were $20 CAD each (remember to always google store promo code before completing your purchase). That saved me the cost of duty.

  17. I don't wear t shirts anymore because I don't care for my arms. I wear 3/4 length tops or sleeveless t's with a 3/4 length cardy. I like the LL Bean tops.

  18. My daughter bought one of these Joe Fresh tees for me last summer - I really liked it - the fabric was of a heavier weight and came through the wash beautifully. I bought several more when they were down to $6. When Lands End was in the Canadian Sears stores, I found their tees (both round and v-neck) and golf shirts - they were perfect. Good fit, good fabric. However, like you, I'd be hesitant to order online in case they weren't the same version now. Many years ago I used to buy Talbots tees and golf shirts - but the fabric just isn't the same weight now and it's disappointing. It's difficult when one comes to depend upon a store for those classic items in our wardrobe only to find they are no longer available. Just like when a favourite bra style is discontinued!