The Challenge: Nifty But Thrifty

Pete Bellis via Unsplash
By Pete Bellis via Unsplash

We asked our summer editorial fellows, Krisna Bharvani and Sierra Schellenberg, to find an office casual outfit that they would wear, as cheaply as possible. The rules were that they could spend no more than $50; they had to assemble a complete outfit, including shoes and one accessory; and they needed to get their items from a combination of online and local resources. Here's how they did:

Left: Total Krisna paid: $49
Estimated retail value: $162
Savings: $113Total Sierra paid: $18.95
Estimated retail value: $158
Savings: $139


Krisna (left) bought her cotton print dress from Beacon’s Closet, a New York City vintage clothing store that has an online and brick-and-mortar shop.
Cost: $9.47 + $5 shipping. “It was 50% off.”
Retail: $39.99 for a similar dress at Urban Outfitters

The intertwined circle pendant comes from No Relation Vintage, a “salvaged goods” shop in NYC.
Cost: $5
Retail: $34 at Nordstrom

Her “fun-sized” leather cross-body bag came from the Beacon’s Closet brick-and- mortar store.
Cost: $7.97.
Retail: $18 for its doppelganger at Target.

Krisna “instantly spotted” these patent leather Tahari flats at an outdoor flea market.
Cost: $22
Retail: $69.95 at DSW

Sierra (right) got her beaded necklace at a clothing swap with friends. “I also walked away with a really nice vase, and my friend walked away with my old sweater and one of my bracelets,” she says.
Cost: $0.
Retail: $8 from Forever 21

Her wool/acrylic dress is from, an online used clothing store (now closed).
Cost: $13.95 + $5 shipping.
Retail: $84.95 at Ann Taylor

Her leather shoes are a hand-me-down from a family member.
Cost: $0.
Retail: $65 from Clarks

From Green American Magazine Issue