The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

The Truth about TJ Maxx

Does T.J.Maxx sell fakes and damaged goods? Here's the truth about shopping at stores like T.J.Maxx and Marshalls.
As I mentioned earlier, TJ Maxx invited a bunch of fashion bloggers from around the country to their headquarters in Framingham, MA, for a behind-the-scenes look at how their business really operates. It was an awesome experience. My brain is overflowing with facts and information right now, so I'll just dive right in and share some of the key things that I learned.

First, I should preface this report by saying that I've been a long-time fan and loyal customer of both TJ Maxx and Marshalls. I never quite knew how they managed to sell brand names at reduced prices, but my assumption was always that they bought overstock, irregular merchandise, and probably did some other wheeling 'n' dealing that would simply never become transparent to me, the customer. Some stores seemed better than others; some days you got lucky, other days you'd leave frustrated and empty handed. Sometimes you'd find a deal on something you loved or needed; other time you'd find sub-par styles at practically full price (or at least, stuff that just wasn't a good deal. For us budget babes, a $200 blouse that's marked down to $80 still isn't a bargain.)

So yeah, that's kinda where I stood with regards to TJ Maxx and Marshall's prior to the blogger event, and I gotta say, not much has changed. However, I did learn some new and interesting facts so read on (more photos from the event, too!)...

Budget Babe in Boston

Yesterday morning the boyf and I drove up to Boston where I was invited to participate in a TJ Maxx blogger event. After checking in to the The Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel (thank you TJ's!), we spent the afternoon window shopping on Newbury street. It's been a while since I've been to a Zara, so I had to pop in. Saw the spot where the new Madewell 1937 store will be opening in the spring. Hit up the American Apparel, Queen Bee, Karmaloop, and of course H&M. Good times. In the evening, we had a little meet-n-greet dinner at SkipJack's where I got to mingle with some of the very talented faces behind some of my favorite blogs (including Wendy from nitro:licious!! She is adorable and amazing in person, of course. That's her above, wearing an H&M dress and toting a delicious Balenciaga bag. I'm wearing my new coat from, where else? TJ Maxx!). TJ Maxx has a full day of events planned for us, so I'm gonna get going... I'm hoping to get the inside scoop on this off-price retail chain to share with all of you budget babes out there. More updates to come!

Pashminas On A Budget

I was recently introduced to a great online resource for affordable pashmina scarves called Pashmina International. In addition to selling a wide array of genuine pashmina shawls and scarves, the company's website also has quite a lot of useful tips and guides (if you don't know what a pashmina is, click here). Pashmina International also does nice things like charity donation and inspecting factories to check for good working conditions. Unless you're planning a trip to Nepal in the near future, I highly suggest you check them out and get yourself a nice, warm, versatile and stylish scarf. I actually own their merino wool shawl in oyster ($44.25), and I love it. It's classic and adds just the right touch to any winter outfit. Be sure to check out their bargain pashmina section where you can get a genuine cashmere and silk pashmina in a brilliant color for as little as $27.40. The real deal is worth it, and it'll cost you much less that it would cost you from a department store, so Pashmina International is worth a visit whether you're shopping for yourself or for holiday gifts.

Visit Pashmina International (

Featured above: BB models her merino wool shawl from Pashmina International. I swear I wear other shirts but I took all these photos on the same day and didn't feel like changing. Just focus on the fab scarf!

Runway to Real Way: Givenchy Fall 2008

Regardless of who has been at the helm of Givenchy (pronounced zhee-VAHN-shee) over the years, this fashion house has always been near and dear to my heart. But this Fall, Riccardo Tisci blew me away with his collection that was both runwaylicious and laden with ideas we could extract and apply to our own real life wardrobes. It was dark (lots of black and leather), it was romantic (lots of lace and ruffles) and it was divine (lots of layered chains and crosses). Here are some pieces inspired by the Givenchy collection that will lift your sartorial spirits but won't break the bank.

Deal du Jour: Save 25% at

Bebe isn't a place I normally shop at for everyday items, but over the years they've delivered some much-needed attitude into my wardrobe. I've scored everything from a blue fur shrug to a biker jacket to a perfect, knock-'em-dead red cocktail dress at Bebe, all at great prices courtesy of their clearance racks. Lately, I've complained about their high prices and overly skanky clothing styles but after seeing the stunningly fashionable blogger over at Fashion Toast rock things from Bebe in ways that look really high-fashion and fierce, it's made me reconsider. If you absolutely must have 5-inch multi-strap peep toe heels or a lynx faux-fur vest, or a collared zip thigh jumpsuit, where else can you turn but Bebe? Ok, so you may never need those items but right now, save 25% when you enter code FRIEND25 at checkout. Offer ends 11/16, so now's your chance to pick up something sexy for holiday parties. Quick, shop before we change our minds.

Featured above: Sexy Striped Banded Dress (available in three colors), $98