Save. Spend. Splurge.

Why my love for mainstream retailing has started to disappear completely

There is no love lost with mainstream retailers as of late.

Don’t get me wrong, I still covet things like this amazing Banana Republic goddess maxi dress I bought in cobalt blue and received a ton of compliments on as a general casual dress…

….or this stunning nature-inspired maxi I picked up for a wedding, but in general, it has been ho-hum in the stores.

Frankly, I’m bored.


40% off!

30% off!

Half price today!



They’re discounting all the time and while I understand its business need it annoys me greatly when I see that I bought something let’s say for 40% off, only to see it marked down and on sale AGAIN another 3 weeks later at another 20% off.


Why don’t you just price this stuff as if it’s always on sale, and give a smaller discount?

I get that it’s hard to pull back from giving 40% (people wait and wait and wait for that sale), but something has to be done. It is frustrating.


Things are unlined, everything is in polyester, the fit is all off (too short, too long, too low cut).

I mean, I am expecting something better than 100% polyester and unlined, almost see-through for $150. Why does polyester even crop up in expensive pieces?


No way. No how.

The fabrics are thin, they colours are strange, the prints are cheap… no thanks.



They have missed the boat of what women want to wear.

The colours I see in store are sick chalky pastels, strange mud colours, things that look terrible on most skin tones unless you’re a specific white alabaster (and even THEN!).

Colours that women want to wear are simple: Black, Ivories/Whites, Jewel tones (cobalt blue is always a winner), and beautiful greys in charcoal and pearl grays, or navy or midnight blues.

The dresses, bottoms, tops are also not current shapes or styles.

I don’t wear miniskirts (who does except if you’re a teen), and I want skirts to at least reach my knees, the waist to be a little looser, and I want to see quality details like a nice sewn in waistband, not some cheap elastic ruching to make it stretchy, and little things that make it feel and look luxe.


You save the environment by reusing, and you save a lot more money as well.

Here are my observations from 2 weeks of thrifting and here is what I have found for $182 with another $200 for tailoring which is well spent.

$382 for amazing wool skirts & dresses and jackets? DONE.

You pay $10 for a dress (no taxes) when in stores it would cost at least $50 even on sale, or higher at $150!

That is insanity.

When you thrift, you can also buy secondhand designer goods that are at least of higher quality than H&M, Forever 21, Zara for instance, but even then, it is questionable depending on what it looks like. Not all designer items are worth buying or wearing either.


You can find really great designer items for the price of a new cheap polyester dress at your local retailer.



I am moving way towards what I could term minimalist femininity with some colourful touches in accessories mostly, or very stylish, graphic prints that aren’t juvenile.

I don’t see any of that in the stores, and when I do, it is too expensive to consider for 100% polyester.

What I want, simply doesn’t exist.

If I could, I would just create my own Sherry Shops store and design what I want to wear and be done with it, but that’s another story for another day.



  • SarahN

    Some things I thrift, some I buy new..

    Thrift: button up shirts, jackets, some trousers/pants, some dresses (seeing I seldom wear them, new seems a waste… but for weddings, I have sought out a new, fit for purpose)

    Buy new: cotton/elastic long sleeves tees (under layers), knickers, bras, work out wear (incl legging, functional tops, tanks and toppers) <- seldom are these available in thrift store, tank tops and strappy under layers

    For the new items, I have 'go to' brands generally, being Lululemon (the rest), Uniqlo (knickers), American Eagle and/or White House Black Market (ranks). It's narrow, but they work, fit for purpose, last, wear well.

    After doing a year of 'second hand only' I feel I've found a good middle ground.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I’ve started noting certain brands I prefer to wear as well, and regularly checking for them or sales. There’s no point in hoping that I will fit into brands that are cut for slimmer-shouldered women.

  • Laurie

    I’ll do anything to avoid the mall. I’ve found a great consignment shop that I can almost always find great jeans when I need them. I’ve got a narrow selection of brands and colors that work for me so I know what to look for and what to not bother with. eBay and Thread Up if I know what it is I need. In fact, a pair of Frye boots are on there way to me. I’ve been in the market for a pair of flat boots and was inspired by yours!

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I’m the opposite. I LOVE to shop but don’t have time to leisurely do it like before now with a job, the toddler, errands, things to get done… 🙂

      Frye boots are fantastic, you won’t regret it. Just be sure to put some Vibram soles on them though because they are slippery without.

  • The Luxe Strategist

    I so hear you on this. I think mainstream retailers are a huge rip off, even more so than designer stuff. I hardly ever shop anymore because the quality gets more horrendous as time goes on. That’s what we get for living in a disposable world. And also these stores don’t have the designs I want.

    Like you, I think secondhand is where it’s at. I almost never think designer is worth the price at retail. But if you can get it used and then resell the stuff after you get tired of it, to me, that’s just smart shopping.

  • Kathy

    I am so envious of people who are successful shopping at thrift stores. In my locale, the thrift store items look….well…sadly used. Most of my shopping now is done online and yes, I do go to major retailer sites. I have a select few that I frequent because I’ve been successful getting things for my age and size.. Too many retailers don’t think that women are over size 8-10. They even have size 12 as extra-large for crying out loud. And don’t get me started on shoes! Brick and mortar stores have such a terrible selection of size and styles it is truly pathetic.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      The key is to try on brands (lots of them) to get an idea of which ones fit you the best, and then from there, do not stray.

      I know for instance, Smythe is a US 6 for my shoulders. I buy every jacket I can in US 6.

      For other brands, I take a US 4 or the pants are US 2 but only in Theory.. etc. It’s a lot of pre-shopping in stores to get an idea, and that’s it.

      You’re lucky being in the U.S. though (Alaska, but still), as you can get free shipping most times and returns…

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