Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Shopping with Saavy.
As a recent convert from the ways of head-to-toe-couture to being a Frugal Fashionista I'm always looking for ways to put together great looking outfits, for less cash. Lucky for me, during my old ways I bought some great wardrobe staples that are still in style and working for me today in my new Becca-on-a-budget lifestyle. I don't think that budgeting means suffering! Who says you can't have your cake and eat it too? You can be financially fit and still have some fashion fun.
I was walking past a coworker's desk when I spotted a book with a catchy title. It read, 'Five-Star Living on a Two-Star Budget'. Ah ha! It had me at hello. Isn't that really what most of us 20-somethings want? A 5 star life but were stuck in 2-star budget land? So I asked to borrow it for a quick browse. I'm thinking I need to devote some time to scouring it later. But for now I will give you some brief fashion advice as taken from Margaret Feinberg & Natalie Nichols Gillespie, co-authors of the book.
A brand name coat, shoes, and purse are smart investment because they are distinctive pieces you'll be able to wear regularly and enjoy. Something like a white t-shirt - whether it's made by Ralph Lauren, Diesel, or Old Navy - is still just a plain white shirt, so choose your accent pieces wisely.
I love this advice. I'm 100% a believer in accent pieces. My bags, shoes, and jewelry are what make my outfits. I'd much rather rock a New York & Co. dress with some killer heals than wear an expensive dress with Walmart shoes. Cheap shoes are wicked uncomfortable. And bad materials for handbags show just how much of a 'bargain' they were.
She recommends that if it's time to clean out your closet, you consider donating to Dress for Success an organization which helps women of lower socio-economic status get into the workplace. They are given one suit for their interviews and a 2nd when they land a job. I'm all for helping someone get their feet on the ground, especially in this economy! Helping someone help themselves gives them the power to reach their goals, what a great feeling.
The girls go on to recommend some great places to get designers for less including Luxe in Buckhead (a burb of the ATL) and Filenes basement. But what about those of us who don't live in Atlanta, Chicago, or the NYC? Well, I've had great luck with TJMaxx since moving to the South. In Indianapolis they were kind of weak and I only shopped at Carmel Consignment for my designer needs. But now that I'm 17 hours south, the TJ's are off the chain (yeah, I said it).
I've found everything from Kate Spade, Gucci, Armani, and Juicy sunglasses (all under 50 bucks!) to Abro & Coach bags to D&G watches and Marc Jacobs necklaces. They may be a little late hitting the floor of these stores but now that we're being frugal, does it really matter? I'm not going to spend 100 bucks on anything I can't wear for more than 1 season. Period. So better late than never friends. Here in Florida we also have the benefit of life-changing outlet malls! Can you say O-town? This is where I hit for all my Burberry, Fendi, and Juicy needs. I also like Ellenton outlet mall for my staples like Gap sundresses and beach bags.
Two other great spots to keep your eyes on are Blue Fly & Smart Bargains. I recently found a killer mango colored dress for a girlfriend of mine on Smart bargains that she's going to rock in Dallas for her NBA weekend. It happened to be the last one AND I saved her $191 from the original sale price.
Let me leave you with some immortal words from none other than Oprah Winfrey herself, ' I'm a black-belt shopper, always have been...I still get a little thrill whenever I see these two words: free and discount'. (quote from the book, page 33).
Happy (but smart) shopping to all.