Point 3 in Mary Woodward's article "What I've learned from 40 years of shopping" for The Guardian notes that: There are two main types of clothes-buying. One, the everyday, picked-up-in-your-lunch-hour kind, tends to be local and should always be cheap. Never spend more than a tenner on this kind of shopping. As Karl Lagerfeld says, "go either very cheap or very expensive. It's the middle ground that is fashion nowhere."
I generally go by that rule. (Of course, the concept of "very cheap" and "very expensive" varies from people to people.) Luckily for those in the states, the return policy is pretty lax, and therefore, even if you have made a shopping mistake during your lunch hour it is easily correctable.
Some of my recent "picked-up-in-your-lunch-hour" goodies -
Zara tank top: I picked up a high-waisted work skirt, a beach cover up and this size L tank top from Zara. The only piece I ended up keeping is the tank top for $9.99. I couldn't find a size XS, but I love the face on it. It's so large that even after knotting up the straps it can almost work as a dress, but it works great with skinny jeans or leggings!
Express maxi dress & Express leggings: I am usually not a big fan of Express, but since I had a $25 off every $50 coupon, it is almost like an additional 50% off, so why not? I managed to find a perfect casual maxi dress on the sale rack ($29.99) and also a pair of long black tights (overpriced at $24.50 but whether or not I get it I still pay the same amount since the $25 coupon nets it out). However, when I got to the counter, the dress actually had an addtional 30% off. The cashier was nice enough to let me use the coupon even though the two items only added up to $45.49. So for $20.49, I managed to get a deep plum maxi dress and a pair of tights! (Which as you see below, I had a lot of fun twirling in.)
On a completely unrelated note, the photo of the railroad in the pictures is from a framed photo that I picked up on the streets last Tuesday! It was lying on the streets with the garbage bags from the building next door. There is a bit of a mark on the top center and the bottom of the frame is scratched from sitting on the streets, but I still love it!