Last week, I introduced you to my client, Mrs. Sublime. During our closet edit, Mrs. Sublime pulled out a pair of pants, of which she had all three colors. They are an elastic waist, pull-on style in the very familiar look that has emerged from the pandemic. Mrs. Sublime put them on, they looked great and the conversation went something like this:
Mrs. Sublime: “You’re never going to guess where these pants came from.”
Me: “Tell me.”
Mrs. Sublime: “LOFT!”
Me: “No way! Shut up. Stop it!”
Mrs. Sublime: “I KNOW!”
Me: “LOFT is so, eh, these are so cute!”
We kept the pants in all three colors and as Mrs. Sublime was putting the LOFT pants back in her closet, she said, “You should write a post about this, that hidden gems can be found anywhere.”
I had to agree with Mrs. Sublime. I remembered my own situation this past summer where it was hot as Hades, I wanted a pair of comfortable, cool, easy-on pants in a rush and found this linen pull-on pair from some no-name company called Minibee, paid a total of $30 and change for them and had very low expectations. I wound up wearing them all summer, sometimes multiple times a week.
I know you can relate to this because we all have these surprising finds from random places that sometimes cost little or at least a great deal less than we normally spend. We put little stock in these things lasting and make peace with the strong reality that we’ll likely be at least mildly disappointed by how they work out. Yet, much to our surprise, they wind up becoming such big important pieces that the only thing that surprises us more is the fact that we go back and buy them repeatedly.
SHOPPING FOR HIDDEN FINDS: SURPRISING PLACES TO FIND STAPLE WARDROBE PIECES
My cheapy Amazon pants aren’t my first experience with finding hidden finds for myself or my clients. I had an H&M raincoat about 20 years ago that refused to die no matter how often I wore it. I found the most perfect eyeliner pencil for non-natural redheads from some rando company on Amazon and I always buy my layering tanks for under my sweaters from Old Navy, the quality of knitwear for the price at Quince is unbeatable and my new favorite, and by now everybody knows my level of devotion to J.Crew’s Vintage V-neck t-shirts that I get at J.Crew Factory. As I thought about turning this idea into a post, I decided that in order to be comprehensive I was going to pose this question to my Facebook Group and see what hidden finds they had to offer. The results were really interesting. I am listing some of them here with you and I would also love to hear yours in the comments.
Ann Loves this knit cardigan from LOFT
Ann told the group that she was looking for a cotton knit blazer in a blue that leans warm without being teal and LOFT came through. For Ann, the selling point was the color and this one fit her well and is the perfect color she was looking for. She said she has found that clothes in good colors for her, which aren’t neutrals, are at places like Target and Kohls and she feels like higher-end clothes all look alike now.
Shop For Ann’s Sweater Here.
Anna Loves the colorful variety from Kettlewell
Hidden finds aren’t always dictated by price. For Anna, Kettlewell was an excellent find for her because of the huge variety of colors they offer in their products. Anyone who knows the frustration that happens when a brand you like makes nothing in a color that is flattering on you, what a big find Kettlewell can be.
Anna said if you love having color choices Kettlewell becomes addictive and when she looks at other stores she can’t fathom having only one color choice now.
Barbara owns several pairs of IUGA leggings
Barbara heard about these leggings in a magazine and took a chance. At a price point of around $20 she probably figured she had nothing to lose. Barbara now owns four pairs and reminded me that I also buy most of my leggings for workouts on Amazon too. Group member, Maria, expressed the same sentiment Barbara did about IUGA leggings, calling them, “thick and sturdy for the price point.”
Shop IUGA Leggings Here
Kristol loves Old Navy’s Luxe T-shirts for Layering
Everyone is on that search for the perfect t-shirt and at the end of the day, nobody cares where it comes from, just that it fits. Kristol found hers at Old Navy and loves their Luxe t-shirts and said that they even look nice layered with blazers.
Shop Old Navy’s Luxe Tees
Carlene found the perfect argyle cardigan on Amazon.
Carlene spends decent money on her wardrobe yet couldn’t find a decent argyle cardigan at high-end brands. Instead, she found one at Amazon from a brand called Grace Karin for all of $26.99.
Shop For This Argyle Cardigan in a Variety of Colors
Lisa Swears by This Scoop Bra from Victoria Secret
Lisa told the group she picked up one f these basic and plain bras on a whim and now it’s her go-to style. She told us they are super comfortable and feel like nothing on and smooth out your back if you need it. Best of all, you can get this bra for $15 on sale.
Shop for Lisa’s favorite bra
Cheryl lives in the Prana Halle Pants
Cheryl has an ongoing love affair with the Prana Halle pant. Living in a more temperate Pacific Northwest climate from Spring to Fall, she lives in hers this year and considers the price per wear on the $85 price tag is negligible.
Shop Cheryl’s Go-To Pants
Jamie says The Gap Factory’s T-Shirts and T-Shirt Dresses are her staples
Jamie can’t turn down the amazing price she gets for her favorite t-shirts and t-shirt dresses from the Gap, $12 often $10, and it’s easy to assume that Jamie found an affordable style that fits her well.
Sarah says you can’t beat Costco’s Wool Socks
I am fascinated by people who buy clothing at Costco, not that I am a snob who doesn’t believe that it is possible but because I have no reason to have a Costco membership so anytime someone tells me they get an article of clothing at Costco that they love, the only visual I can conjure is someone fishing it out of a bin next to a freezer full of frozen tilapia and a palette of industrial-sized boxes of Tide. It’s weird. But, Sarah has gotten me intrigued because wool socks are amazing but often expensive. You can get six pairs of wool socks at Costco for $13, normally the cost of one pair.
Shop Sara’s Wool Socks
Marilyn Thinks Walmart’s 3/4 Zip Top Rivals Better Brands
As a riding enthusiast, Marilyn compared Walmart’s 3/4 Zip Top to better riding brands, like Equestrian where their similar tops usually start at $40. She gets hers at Walmart for around $17. Riding horses is an expensive sport, so shaving off expenses anywhere you can is helpful.
Shop Marilyn’s 3/4 Zipper Top
Kate Says What Many of Us Think, Old Navy is a Great Place for Workout Clothes
Old Navy’s workout clothing has gotten rave reviews from even the pickiest of people and Kate echoed that sentiment in her recommendation saying, “you can often get 40-50% off of list prices which have meant $8 running shorts, $12 power soft leggings (that rival lulu for comfort and performance) $17 fleece-lined leggings $25 rain/windbreakers … I could go on and on and it lasts multiple seasons!” Clearly, she is a fan.
Susan found these trousers at J.C. Penney
Even though these pants are sold out, I wanted to include Susan’s recommendations for a few reasons. First, J.C. Penney. Even if it was the last store standing I’d sooner grab some sheets and craft them into a dress before I’d shop for clothes there. Second, Susan is considered to have a pretty covetable style in the group, often posting photos of amazing looks. So excuse me while I go and eat my words about J.C. Penney.
Susan, who paid $37, down from $54, said the fabric is amazing quality, they are really well finished on the inside and she has worn them every week since purchasing them. Like me, she never used to shop at JC Penney, but since they closed every other store except for JCP in the big mall near her office, she has become a regular.
Get a closer look at Susan’s pants and give the rest of their clothes a look.
Polly Wears Eddie Bauer T-Shirts from Sam’s Club
Back to life’s biggest mystery, finding t-shirts, Polly has found hers at Sam’s Club and wears styles by Eddie Bauer. Fellow member, Anna, chimed in by saying that they last forever.
Having never been to a Sam’s Club in my life, and the fact that quite often brand names sold at these types of stores are just licenses manufactured by other companies, the significance that Polly and Anna can find their perfect t-shirts at a bulk membership discount type store is huge. It has to be cool to be able to buy t-shirts and shower fixtures at the same time.
Shop Edd Bauer Tees at Sam’s Club
Maria and Ana Love Uniqlo
Let’s be honest, everyone loves Uniqlo. They have great prices, good basics, and some of the most innovative fabric technology. I love their lounge pants and have a teal crossbody from Ines des Fressange, use it constantly and would be devastated if it died. Ana and Maria both love the tees and Maria loves their cardigans, HEATTECH and AIRism lines.
Ana Also loves J.Crew’s Jeans
This is one I can really get behind because I too love the fit of J.Crew’s jeans. For Ana, it’s the petite jeans they offer that are actually short enough that she doesn’t need to have a foot’s worth of fabric removed. Ana said the medium-rise is a true medium rise and doesn’t hit just under her bra when sitting and they are not so low-slung that she inadvertently flashes her undies to the world.
Shop J.Crew Jeans
Jona Gets Her Wool Socks from Sierra Trading Post
Jona counts on Sierra Trading Post for wool socks and base layers. The colors are from previous seasons, and inventory changes constantly, but great for outfitting everybody if they are you’re not picky.
Shop Wool Socks at Sierra Trading Post
Another favorite of Kristol’s is Rekucci Women’s Ease Into Comfort Straight Leg Pant with Tummy Control
On the hunt for good pants, Kristol found this pair from Rekucci, a brand I am sure nobody has ever heard of but a style that Kristol compares to Beta Brand’s Yoga Pants only for a 1/3 of the price.
Shop Kristol’s Staple Favorite
Kristin Wears Lou & Grey’s Softblend Dresses All Sorts of Ways
This dress is Kristin’s favorite for its versatility — it can be worn in summer with sandals and then layered with tights and boots and a cardigan in the winter. She ordered one on a whim and loves it.
Get This Dress
Nancy Loves the Curvy Couture Full-Figure Mesh Underwire Bra
As a full-busted gal, I came to accept that the only way to keep things supported and in place was to drop serious coin on my bras. Nancy, who wears a 38DDD, loves this underwire bra from Curvy Couture that holds her together well and is comfortable. The best part is the price at only $38.
Check out Nancy’s Favorite Bra
Sarah, the Costco Wool Sock Lover, also loves Lee’s Secretly Shapes Jeans
Sarah finds these affordable jeans to fit well, wash well and really hold up. She especially appreciates them when she finds herself between sizes. Sarah often buys them on Poshmark for next to nothing but you can get them retail for as little as $29 on sale.
Shop Sarah’s Jeans Rec
Jeanette and Sara Also Get Their Pants at Costco
Let’s summarize what we’ve learned here today: Bridgette needs to get a Costco membership. Not for the endless rolls of toilet paper but the clothes. I’m not completely ready to give up my stance that you shouldn’t be able to buy clothing with a shopping cart, but clearly, my elitist attitude is keeping me from some good finds.
Jeanette loves Buffalo jeans from Costco because they are soft, comfortable, and fit well and Sara prefers Hillary Radley pants. She said they fit and pull on like leggings, have straight leg bottoms, look tailored enough for work and some even have pockets. Shut up, Sara, just shut up, you had us at pockets.
Kathy is All About the L.L. Bean Pima Cotton Open Cardigan
Hidden finds fill needs. For Kathy, this cotton cardigan from L.L. Bean is a winner because it is lightweight but warm, feels (almost) like silk, folds or rolls up easily and is wrinkle-free.
Shop Kathy’s Cardigan
Brenda Loves Her XCVI High-Waist Leggings and Casual Blazer
Brenda loves these leggings and this casual blazer. These aren’t her finds for the shockingly cheap prices but for the comfort Brenda finds in wearing them. Can we put a price tag on comfort? Not these days.
What About You? What Are Your Hidden Finds?
I want to hear from you! Where you have found your most surprising finds? Leave a comment below.