I was lucky enough to be able to make the decision to stay at home as long as I did with the kids until they reached school age. Blogging and writing assisted this, true, but it wasn’t an easy choice.

Then the opportunity came along for my current role and as I talked about it on the school playground I was overwhelmed by the response from many of my friends: that they had been in a similar situation, waiting until their youngest was in school before going back to work, and some had already been on the lookout for a long time.

It’s been ten years since I was out of the traditional workforce. In my old position I dressed corporately, was used to spending nine hours on my feet in high heels, occasionally with a walkie talkie or an earpiece in my ear during a big function. Thing is, those clothes are long gone and even if I’d kept them many wouldn’t fit anymore.

Such times like this are when I turn to Savers. Yes, I could walk into Myers or David Jones and pull a pair of black pants off the rack for fifty, eighty, one-hundred dollars or I could go into Savers and get a complete outfit for less. Nothing against doing things the former way – as I have myself  – but when there’s a family at home, with kids wanting to participate in after school activites, then priorities are brought to the fore.

So I issued myself a challenge. I went to my cupboard and pulled out a few items I’d already bought from Savers, plus I went over to my local store to do a bit of scouting about, and I put together these five outfits to show you that going back to work needn’t be stressful (in the clothing sense, at least!) or a major financial consideration.

Here’s what I came up with:

 country road outfit

White Very Very top, size 8: $12.99
Brown Country Road pants, size 8: $9.99
Chunky skull bracelet: $4.99
Total: $27.97

I wear these pants on average once, sometimes twice, a week. They are amazingly comfortable and can be dressed up or down, as the saying goes. The top is beautiful to wear.

review outfit

Black Review pants, size 8: $14.99
Chelsea Design Top, size 8: $7.99
Necklace: $4.99
Total: 27.97 

I’ve always found it hard to buy black pants. I think it’s because I’m short, maybe. However these are great, even if buying straight leg pants is straying into dangerous territory, thanks to my pear-shape.

Jacqui E outfit

Brown Jacqui:E skirt, size 8: $11.99
White Witchery top, size 12: $11.99
Total: $23.98 

The Witchery top is a size too big for me, so I have to wear it tucked in, otherwise it looks a bit tent-esque. This is a lovely skirt, although is very dangerous to wear in the city whenever one of Melbourne’s surprise gusts of wind turns up to blow through. I’ve accidentally flashed many a pedestrian.

Witchery outfit

Blue Witchery dress, size 10: $24.99
Pendant: $7.99 (There were two side-by-side and I couldn’t decide, so got both!)
Total: $32.98 

A well lived-in dress, I just love it. Not sure if it will transition into winter all that successfully (opaque stockings or no opaque stockings), but time will tell.

Banana Republic outfit

Banana Republic dress, size 4: $34.99
Brown cardigan (no label or size): $8.99
Total: $43.98 

I don’t feel all that comfortable in this dress: it cuts across my thighs and does nothing for my boobs. I think I was seduced by the Banana Republic label, which will teach me a well-deserved lesson about forgetting about all that stuff and focusing first on fit. The cardigan – which if you think looks like a suit-ish jacket, you’d be right – is marvellous.


You’ll note I didn’t add in the cost of the shoes and that’s because I’m assuming there’s a pair of nude or black heels (or flats) the cupboard for many of you. But in other Thrifty Thursday posts I’ve gotten shoes that would still enable me to squeak in under the fifty dollar mark, so there’s that.

Next time you go thrift shopping, perhaps you might pick up some bargains too!


Photos: Sarah White.

This post has been written as part of the ‘Thrifty Thursday’ partnership I have with Savers Australia – The Recycle Superstore in 2012. 


Karen Andrews is the creator of this website, one of the most established and well-respected parenting blogs in the country. She is also an author, award-winning writer, poet, editor and publisher at Miscellaneous Press. Her latest book is Crying in the Car: Reflections on Life and Motherhood.