Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Graduating in Style - Without Busting Our Clothing Budget!

My younger son's grade 8 graduation ceremony was yesterday afternoon. It seemed pretty surreal, especially since this was his first-ever year of school! And of course there's nothing like being packed into a non-air-conditioned school auditorium with a few hundred other people during a humid Southern Ontario heatwave :)

While the school encouraged parents not to spend too much on fancy clothing and told the kids to dress "like they were going out somewhere special with their family", of course all the kids had their own ideas about what was appropriate! I remember us all getting dressed up pretty fancy for my own grade 8 graduation, and these kids wanted to do the same.

Nathan was determined that he wanted an outfit comprised of a dress shirt, vest and dress pants, as this is what all his friends decided they were going to wear. As his usual attire is more along the lines of a pair of Adidas shorts, a T-shirt and a pair of sneakers, we didn't exactly have anything to draw on from his current wardrobe. Add to that the fact that all our schedules have been crazy busy of late and we didn't end up coordinating a time for him to go out shopping with his dad until Saturday (3 days before the event!) and we were all feeling a bit stressed about whether we'd be able to pull things together!

Thankfully, when Joe and Nathan finally did go on the hunt for an outfit, they hit paydirt at their first stop (Value Village). They were able to get the dress shirt, vest and pants in the above photo - all for just under $25! Thankfully Nathan, who doesn't own a pair of dress shoes, has the same size feet as Joe so he was able to borrow his dad's black dress shoes and socks to complete the outfit.

He was pleased with his fancy look (and he did indeed fit right in with what many of the other boys were wearing) and we didn't have to spend a ridiculous amount of money for him to get all spiffed up for his graduation ceremony. I was pretty glad about that since he ended up taking those clothes off ASAP after the ceremony and changing into his "normal" attire to head over to the dinner/dance afterwards! I'm sure he'll probably get a bit more mileage out of the shirt and pants in the future, too, since they are both basic wardrobe staple pieces.

While this wasn't quite as impressive a feat as the time I pulled off my $10 holiday outfit a year and a half ago, we were all satisfied that we put together a good outfit for a great price.

Have you managed to pull together a stylish yet frugal outfit for a graduation, wedding or other formal occasion lately?


  1. Well done!! He's a good looking boy, looks very smart in his vest!! :)

    1. Thanks Carla! I just can't believe how *big* he is already at 13 (the same size as my husband!). They grow up so fast...::sigh::

  2. The last wedding I attended was in 2010. I wore a dress I made with fabric, pattern and even zipper from second hand stores. (I already had matching thread.) Over the dress I wore a jacket thet I bought at St. Vincent de Paul for 99 cents. It was a new with tags,(over $100)suit, the skirt was way too small but the jacket fit perfectly. I already owned shoes and handbag to match. the whole outfit was somewhere between 5-10 dollars.

    1. Wow, that's amazing! Sewing is such a useful skill to have...unfortunately not my strongest suit. I used to sew as a teenager, but these days my sewing machine completely intimidates me and the couple of projects I have attempted have NOT gone well!


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