$30 Outfit in Under 30 Minutes: The Summer Dress Challenge


THE CHALLENGE: Find an outfit for $30 in under 30 minutes at TJ Maxx
THE REWARD: Cocktails at the Spiced Pear

A $30 outfit in under 30 minutes? It was a challenge I was reluctant to accept at first.

You see, it was a challenge proposed after a long day of sitting in the sun at our very first polo match. The day was going well and we didn’t want it to end so Amanda’s husband proposed we get a cocktail at the swanky, upper-crust Newport establishment, The Spiced Pear, to watch the sun dip into the ocean.

We were all like, yeah! Good idea! And then Amanda and I were like, whoa. Wait a minute. We’re not dressed appropriately. 

But being the resourceful RTC girls that we are, we have every TJMaxx & Marshalls location in the greater New England area seared  into our brains and there just so happened to be a TJs on the way to the restaurant. How convenient.

That’s how our little challenge came to be.

My first reaction was to fight to get the budget increased. No, said Amanda with the intensity of 1,000 suns, we can do this. And then she put her game face on, walked away, and I got scared.

Amanda turned out to be right and we scored these super cute, summery frocks (pictured below). We were quite pleased with ourselves. We’re bargain shoppers in the most serious of ways, thank you very much.

Things were going well until Amanda reached into the depths of her trunk and there emerged a denim jacket, which sparked a debate to last the duration of the evening.

Here we are discussing the jacket. To wear the jacket or not to wear the jacket?


We decided yes. The husbands were vehemently against it. Jean jackets aren’t in anymore, they argued.

We ignored them and proceeded into the very beautiful Spiced Pear restaurant (part of The Chanler hotel), overlooking The Cliff Walk. First stop, the bar for some lovely libations on the right. Boy drink on the left.

Beer & cocktails  in Newport, RI

After ordering, Amanda wanders off in search of some prime outdoor seating for four.

Lonley Amanda

She finds the fire pit and marks her territory by ripping the jacket off. We sip, sip. Sip away.


Wait, no. She’s decided it’s not over yet. Amanda pops the collar to show the husbands that denim above the waist is still cool.

The jean jacket debate rages on.

Jean jacket & neon dress

Erin tries to prove she’s cool, too, but… #epicfail

Erin is so not cool

The Chanler in Newport, RI

We had such a memorable night with our cocktails on the patio! Actually, we just had one drink each because this place is a bit pricey. Having drinks with friends is a really nice compromise if you’re interested in trying an expensive restaurant with beautiful ambiance and views, but don’t have the budget to splurge on a meal.

On our way home, we stopped for burritos.

What did you think of our $30 for 30 challenge? Would you try it? Have you ever scored an outfit on the cheap and on a whim? We’d love to chat with you in the comments.




4 thoughts on “$30 Outfit in Under 30 Minutes: The Summer Dress Challenge

  1. Pingback: Fall Makeover: Your Favorite Maxi Dress | Red Tag Couture

  2. Pingback: 13 Most Read Blog Posts of 2013 | Red Tag Couture

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