I’ve developed a bit of a reputation at the office as being the “dress” girl, due to my extensive collection of dresses that I wear on a regular basis.
I wear dresses a lot for a couple of different reasons. The first being out of sheer laziness; it’s so easy to pull a dress from the closet and throw it on with a pair of tights and boots in the winter, or, in the summer, with a strappy pair if sandals.
The second is to play up what I’ve finally realized over the past few years is one of my stronger features – my legs, which are becoming even that much more so after all the running I’ve been doing.
The third reason is because of how cheaply I can buy quality dresses at Ross Dress for Less, which I discovered during a trip to Florida and have also shopped at while in Vegas.
And always, it’s Ross Dress for Less whenever I’m talking about it, not just Ross.
Last week, while in Vegas, Taylor and I took turns shopping at Ross while Clara napped. At best, shopping at Ross is a solo adventure and can not be done efficiently while also wrangling a 3 year old toddler.
It *can* be done, even quite successfully, with a sister or a best friend, especially when there’s a changing room large enough to share and you can toss pieces of clothing back and forth to one another if you’re the same size. This is convenient simply because by doing this, you double your maximum number of pieces (8) to potentially 16.
My last couple or Ross excursions have been done solo, however, and it saves quite a bit of time to not be waiting for someone else to be ready to go to the change room, or to also have to leave your change room to seek or give an opinion on an article of clothing that is being modelled.
First things first: Get, at the very least, a basket, or a shopping cart if in the bigger stores. Even if you’re not planning on buying much, you’re probably going to try on a lot. Seriously.
The Ross shopping baskets have a handle and are on wheels, very handy when the basket becomes to heavy to carry.
Because it will.
Know what you’re shopping for. I’m losing weight so I skipped pants and skirts that would only become too big on me in hopefully a few months. Because I didn’t need pants, I mostly skipped shirts too.
Ross is so big and so overwhelming it really is best to have a plan. To know exactly what you’re looking for. You can go through all the racks, but it’ll take forever. If you can zero in on what type of clothing, it’ll make your trip easier. But save time for the shoes. Always save time for shoes.
I do shoes last, because I have so many and don’t need new ones as much. I let what I’m already spending on clothes dictate and how many pairs of shoes I’ll buy. And sometimes, a dress will get cut to allow for an extra pair of shoes.
I can’t help it; shoes are shoes!
I headed straight to the dress section (as always) and even then, I knew in my mind exactly what I was looking for. No long dresses because they make me look frumpy and hide my legs. No V necks unless it was a wrap style dress. Nothing with spaghetti straps because I want to be able to wear what I buy at work and avoid the dreaded cardigan.
Bright colors, bold patterns, fitted and not baggy. If it looked anything like what you’d see on an episode of Mad Men, it went in the cart.
But even then, I always (always) make a point to grab a few things that are not necessarily my style, as in these two pieces:
I loved the idea of the green dress on the right so I tried it, and when I saw it wasn’t working, I quickly pulled it off and moved on.
That’s another key thing – trust your instincts with the first glance in the mirror. If you don’t immediately love it, move on. There’s guaranteed to be other stuff in your basket that you *will* love.
The dress on the left made the short list. Despite the pattern being extremely loud, I loved the print and how comfortable it was. It didn’t make the cut because it was a little too big, and with the weight I’ve been losing, I knew it would be a short term investment.
The next dress I tried on, I loved the second I had it on. And at $17 (I think) it was an easy decision.
I always grab a piece or two that is younger than perhaps I should be wearing, and I wear it regardless. Usually those are the pieces that randomly catch my eye, because they’re hanging on the edge of a rack, or has been cast aside.
I’ve been wanting a pair of white linen wide-legged capris for a while now, and when I found a pair ($88 MSRP) for $18, they made the list of “must-haves”. Drawstring so I can wear them as I gradually lose weight.
And sometimes, I buy something merely because of the size. This orange top, size small, made the cut, because of its size,but also the color (immediately pictured it with lightweight gray slacks) and price ($10, MSRP $40).
I don’t usually do stripes, especially horizontal, but this was super cute, a size medium, and another good deal.
Because of Mad Men, and the dresses the characters wear every episode, I’ve been drawn to colourful, bold prints. Especially with a hemline that ends above the knee, narrow waists and room for up top (definitely Joan inspired).
So loving the narrow black belt the sits at the top of the waist, just below the bust.
Most of the dresses I bought were a size 10, down from the size 12/14 that I was buying last year at this time. A couple of the dresses I tried on were a size 8, and likely made the cut for that reason alone. Like this one, that I also couldn’t resist for it’s striking simplicity.
$30, MSRP $99. Maggie Zoe.
I loved it so much that I wore it my first day back at work, with black tights and boots because the weather was cool.
And then another size 8, this one a Ralph Lauren that I splurged on ($50, $135 MSRP). But I fell in love with it instantly because its cut and polka dots reminded me of the brown polka dot dress that Julia Roberts wore in Pretty Woman.
And there’s this, a red wrap dress with ruffling on the edges:
And last but not least. A black lace dress over a muted pink slip that’s not necessarily practical but was so gorgeously delicate with a little bit of Mad Men thrown in, that I (again) couldn’t resist. $20, MSRP $99.
I have enough shoes (trust me, I do) so I’m selective with what I buy. I don’t have a lot of beige and refuse to wear white, and wanted a pair to wear with the polka dot Ralph Lauren and found these:
Nine West. $27, MSRP $70. Not a great deal, but perfect for what I needed.
Black open-toed Madden Girls with a killer heel and will work with a number of the dresses I bought. $18, MSRP $60.
And then, because I scratched my sunglasses in Vegas, I grabbed a couple of pairs of sunglasses. A pair of Ellen Tracy’s ($8, MSRP $40) and these ones, which were $6:
Total bill, $360, after tax.
MSRP, after tax? $954.72
Total time? 3 hours (including multiple trips into the change room) plus 20 minutes or so in line.
And that’s how you (or at least I) do Ross Dress for Less.