1. Scarves - gifts that are guaranteed to fit.
The scarf selection at my local store is extensive to say the least. This winter wall continued for a few more yards, plus there was a whole other wall of silk & lightweight scarves behind me. Prices of the ones I tried on ranged from $6 to $40 for cashmere, and were marked at about 50% off retail or more.
Wearing: My J.Crew lady day coat from 2010 in 0P, and Calvin Klein Elara pumps in leopard. I tried on this lightweight olive one with mustard fringe, imported from Italy (approx. $24?):
2. Chic shoes sorted by size (in extended sizing).
While working at Marshalls, my shoe collection grew a bit out of control. The styles are the same as in department stores and there's new ones in every week. If you have a "Runway" section at your local store - there could even be Dolce & Gabbana (see Cher's score), Prada (see Vicky's find), or other designer treasures.
Enzo A. leopards in tiny sz 4 ($49), Steve Madden wedge boots ($69), Sam Edelman velvet T-straps ($39)
Here's another view of the SM taupe wedge booties. They remind me of H&M booties I liked, but are better quality with a suede upper and rubber tread sole.
3. Shoe pads and inserts - affordable little stocking stuffers.
I use shoe cushions for comfort and for making slightly too-big shoes fit better. I always knew that TJ Maxx & Marshalls carried some foot cushions, but during this visit I was amazed by the stock. They had the Foot Petals combo pack (above left) for almost 75% off - it's currently sold here at full retail - and a whole wall of individual cushions and non-skid sole stickers.
4. Hosiery - useful and fun.
I love giving and receiving hosiery, especially in colors or textures that I typically wouldn't purchase for myself. I liked this package in the middle - $9.99 for 3 pairs - containing a dark gray, light gray, and brown - colors that are different from your basic black, but still very wearable for women of all ages.
5. Don't underestimate the power of...
Shapewear and nude-colored bras. Two of the most commonly asked questions on this blog are: 1. How do you get rid of visible blouse-tucking lines? and 2. Do you wear a layer under sheer tops? I don't know the answer to the first one, but a number of readers said that tucking blouses into shapewear bottoms are the answer. I found a rack of them for under $10, and would've picked these up if they were flesh-colored. Not sexy, I know, but whatever may get the job done.
As for sheer blouses - I've been featuring a number of sheer garments lately on this blog and I usually do not wear a layer underneath. I don't like the extra bulk of having a camisole under thin, drapey blouses (not to mention the extra visible lines that show through my skirt). I have a drawer full of nude-colored bras, so I never have to worry about an undershirt. TJMaxx and Marshalls often have extended sizing in bras available for much less than department stores.
6. Something for the little ones.
Each year, a few coworkers and I "adopt a family" and buy gifts for children of local lower-income households. We usually do our shopping at the local Marshalls to get more bang for the buck. I looked at our little girl's wishlist this year and was worried I wouldn't be able to find the specific branded items (Baby Alive - whose giggles give me nightmares, EZ Bake Oven, and Justin Bieber merchandise) at an off-price retailer. To my surprise, I found everything on the list, Bieber pajamas and all : )
7. Just for fun...
I lost Nick in the store and eventually found him getting a small workout.
Here are Nick's gift picks: Michael Kors iPad case & leopard Snuggie (which he already has & loves):
Disclosure - This post is sponsored by TJX. Stay tuned for a giveaway later today where 3 of you will win $50 to spend at TJ Maxx or Marshalls.