3 R29'ers Took On The $50 Challenge At The Big Fat Flea

New York City’s annual Big Fat Flea is a haven for people who wear plus sizes. With a mainstream plus-sized fashion selection that is known for higher price points, limited availability, and/or questionable sizing, the idea of a rummage sale exclusively dedicated to people who wear above a size 14 is honestly a dream. But was it too good to be true? Three R29ers decided to put Big Fat Flea to the test with a challenge: Each of us had to find an outfit for under $50 and show off our findings in a photoshoot.
It turns out that simply finding something to wear and staying under budget were the least challenging parts of the day. Everything is under $12, with items like t-shirts priced at only a buck — and the selection is huge. The room in the New York University Law school was bigger than a lot of stand alone clothing stores in NYC and it was filled with tables and racks overflowing with apparel (thankfully, they were organized by type and size). Choosing which outfit to take pictures in, figuring out how to make it our own, and carrying all of the stuff home were probably our biggest obstacles.
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My only complaint about the Big Fat Flea is that it only happens one day a year. Keep scrolling to see our picks and read about our experiences.
Valis Vicenty, Snapchat Discover Writer
"I usually have about 10 minutes to get dressed before I have to run out of the door to catch my bus everyday, so I need to be a strategic when choosing an outfit. Since black and white pieces fill most of my wardrobe anyway (those colors make it easy to mix and match in a rush), I decided to keep to that color scheme when searching for clothing at the Big Fat Flea. I picked up a pair of cool printed pants that could go from desk to drinks — and they only cost me $5! I know the white button-down and the black tank I got will be incorporated into an endless array of outfits and they were only $6 each. The blazer was a last-minute snatch and grab, and at $12 I couldn't beat it. With its pinstripes and wool lining, it's a jacket I could throw over anything: a graphic tee, a blouse, or a sweater as the temperatures start to drop. Not too shabby for $29 total!"
Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Marshall Bright, Food Writer
"I love dresses for many reasons: I'm a girly-girl, pants are the worst, and it’s an outfit in literally one piece. So when I dove into the piles at BFF, I started with, of course, dresses. The first one I grabbed was about the pattern — it was so pretty. It was also long-sleeved and high-necked, but had no tag indicating its size or brand. For all I could tell, it might have been one-of-a-kind. The line for the dressing room was long, so I opted to change in the open (one of the lasting benefits of going to an all-girls high school is that I'm pretty comfortable changing in public, and also really good at running fast for free food). The dress, to my shock, fit like a glove. I even got compliments from fellow shoppers and the woman MCing the event. I can’t wait to rock it this winter with booties and tights. For the shoot, however, I paired it with my coworker's pink mules, perfect for the transitional weather we're having. The dress was $12, but I bought six of them for a total of $72."
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Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Sesali Bowen, Entertainment Writer and Yours Truly
"Here’s a little secret: after I got home to sort through my BFF treasures, I realized that the $12 lilac dress I’m wearing in these pictures is actually a nightie. The lace detail in the boob area is sheer and the satiny material is extremely lightweight. But this isn’t the first and probably won’t be the last time I wear intimates as part of my look. I was drawn to the beautiful color and the lace, which I couldn't pass on. But it was really long, and because it was made for rolling around in bed, not very shape conscious. I tied a knot on one side, layered it with my black leather jacket and some combat boots for an edgier vibe. It’s by far the most comfortable dress I own. Not pictured is a bunch of other steals from BFF including a full length purple leather trench coat, a white tulle skirt, a black velvet dress, and a neon pink bag, among other things. I, too, went over budget, spending $121 total. Can you really blame me?"
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