Going Cheap

So how is the recession affecting your purchases? If you’re like me and you’re already a bargain shopper, it’s tough to see the difference in what you buy now versus pre-economic meltdown. But there are areas where I’ve made some changes to save a few more bucks. Have you?

Found an old friend – My Benefit cream is amazing, but it’s not cheap. It was lucky for me a friend’s daughter started selling Avon. For half the price, I now use Anew, which in my estimation is a phenomenal face cream and one I used years ago. Thanks to constant sales, I was able to pick up a jar for 15 bucks. Benefit costs $32. Cha-ching!

Took advantage of retail drought – Retailers are struggling. As a result, prices are insanely low and there are any number of discounts on top of that to entice you. Example – my $44 Levi’s 542s were $19.99. My man’s Dockers winter jacket – $30, down from $120. Even my favorite new boutique (Best Friends in Phoenixville, PA) has a sale rack where you can score a Graham and Spencer dress for as low as 10 bucks (top price on the sale rack – 30 bucks). A great way to stock up on investment pieces!

Bought more investment pieces – Maybe it’s the need to feel like I’m treating myself, but I’ve been buying fewer low-priced items and buying more higher-end pieces. I bought a lovely Velvet dress for $116, but I know I’ll get tons of wear from it. Also, today I’m going back to that boutique and getting a gorgeous little gray dress that caught my eye a week ago. Same cost, but again, it’s a style that is somewhat trendy, definitely classy, and will last any number of seasons.

Avoided eBay – You heard me. I’ve stopped shopping eBay because the prices locally are so much better. Plus no shipping charges. Until things bounce back, I can find better bargains here.

Replaced expensive facial scrubs with… table sugar – I swear it works like a charm. It dissolves, so it’s not as harmful to your skin as say crushed walnut shells would be. It costs a fraction of what a packaged scrub would cost, plus it comes in bulk. ūüėČ And sugar has slews of uses. I make a terrific and nearly-pain-free leg wax with it.

What have you cut back on? Are you still splurging once in a while? If so, on what?

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March 10, 2009. bargains, clothes, eBay. 1 comment.

Thank God for H&M

The man looked at my shirt the other day and said, “Wow.¬†You look¬†really nice. That shirt makes you look thinner and leaner.”

I went out the next day and bought two more. Hey, we don’t ignore when the man notices, do we? The shirt in question is a gorgeous raspberry-colored bib-gathered top from H&M with a subtle tone-on-tone stripe, 3/4 sleeve and enough lycra to hug the curves just so. All of $24.50. I’d show you a photo, but for some reason the US-based H&M site has yet to come up with an online store – why is that? If I want to fake my way through their Norwegian site, I might find something remotely similar. Here’s a somewhat similar shirt from the Norwegian site, though mine is not that long and much, much more fitted. No flowers on mine, either:

Does anyone know why H&M continues to disappoint us online shoppers?

October 3, 2008. bargains, clothes. 1 comment.

Which Designer Would You Cough Up Cash For?

Since most of my wardrobe has been procured through the cunning use of sales and eBay, it’s difficult for me to consider shelling out hard-earned cash for designer threads. However, one designer has me constantly considering making an exception. Dianne von Furstenberg, in my opinion, cannot be duplicated, mimicked, or knocked off. She mixes body-flattering style with impeccable tailoring and even more amazing design and fabric choices.

And the prices aren’t obscene, either. Where else could you get a fits-like-second-skin clothing that makes you look and feel more beautiful just for wearing it at mere hundreds? In a time when top designers are charging thousands for one frock, DVF has managed to keep beautiful clothing within reach. Here’s my personal favorite from her latest collection:

http://www.neimanmarcus.com/store/catalog/prod.jhtml?itemId=prod63650169&parentId=cat5890737&masterId=cat7190734&index=8&cmCat=cat000000cat000117cat17740733cat000059cat7190734cat5890737

 

Who would you splurge on?

September 16, 2008. clothes. 3 comments.

Blending Summer into Fall

As you know, I’ve been thinking about fall lately. So the other day when I had a few minutes, I dug through my closet and dressers trying to assess what I needed to get me through fall. Result – not much. It seems I’ve been shopping quite a bit! I have a lot of tops and an adequate amount of bottoms, not to mention scads of shoes. So it was fun to go through what I have and find new ways to wear the summer stuff.

 

 
This outfit came from a few newer pieces combined with spring and summer staples.

  • The Charlotte Russe blouse – $18.99.
  • Nine West¬†clutch – $40 on the Nine West site
  • White jacket – $19.99 at TJMaxx
  • Nine West shoes – $19.99 on the Nine West site
  • Old Navy skinny jeans – $19.99 last fall.
  • Silver hoop earrings – $8 at New York and Company

I added my watch because hey, sometimes a girl just needs something expensive (though it was on sale, too). The jade bracelet was something we picked up in Chinatown when we were in San Francisco about 10 years ago.

Excluding the watch and bracelet, this set me back $126.96. Considering how much use I’ve gotten out of most pieces – the jeans especially, but I’ve carried the clutch most of the summer – that’s that much less money going to an entirely new outfit.

What are some of your favorite ways to mix existing clothes into the new season?

August 20, 2008. bargains, clothes. 2 comments.

It’s Still Summer!

Does anyone else go through the same weird morphing I do each August? Somewhere in the middle of the month, I suddenly feel out-of-place in my shorts. I mean, I feel exposed. Strange, because this is the hottest time of the year. Yet¬† here I am, torn between wanting to wear shorts and tank tops and feeling I should be in jeans and jackets. I’m sitting here in shorts wondering if I shouldn’t be wearing pants. It’s 85 degrees, Lori. Get over it!

So I shop. ūüôā Seriously, that could be one of the reasons I get like this. August is when I start picking up just a few more things to go with my fall/winter stuff. My handbags from New York and Company came in and they’re stunning. So are the shoes from Steve Madden. But now I’m thinking another pair of Joe’s Jeans (I get them at TJMaxx for a steal) is in order. And maybe I’ll grab a cashmere sweater in the bargain bin now before it gets cold.

What transition do you make between seasons?

August 14, 2008. clothes. 2 comments.

Patience, Patience…

For months I’ve been coveting a particular kimono dress by BCBG. This one, to be exact:

 

The problem was the price and the availability. When I could find it on eBay, someone always outbid me. Or worse, I just couldn’t justify the price – which averaged $65 with shipping. That’s a bit of cash for a dress that may or may not look good on. And what size? Medium? Large? Which is the better fit? Will it fit? How will it look on me?

I saw it today¬†in Marshall’s.¬†(Marshall’s is¬†a version of TJMaxx. If you don’t have a TJMaxx near you,¬†move. These are some of the best places to save some serious cash on designer clothes.) As I was heading to the dressing room for the last time, I passed the sale rack.¬†There it was. At first I thought, “No, can’t be.” But I’ve been pining over that thing for so long, there was no mistaking it. I grabbed it and crossed my fingers.

I slipped it over my head and prayed. My gawd. It fit and it looked amazing.¬†At that point I didn’t care what the price was, for I’d found it and it looked so much better than I’d ever expected. Ladies, it’s stunning. The attached tie belt accentuates the waist perfectly. The satin finish is divine to the touch, and damn, the length of it makes the legs look miles long.

So what did I pay? Are you sitting down? It was on the sale rack for… $15. Yes, I spent as much for the dress as I would have on shipping the dress had I caved and bought it on eBay. Sometimes patience pays off.

Have you ever waited for that coveted item? Did you get it? Was it what you expected?

July 22, 2008. bargains, clothes. 2 comments.

Swing Jacket with A Kick

Even though it’s summer, I’m thinking ahead to cooler weather. It’s what I do when I’m stewing in my own juices – it hit 100 degrees here today. I found this really cool swing coat at Forever 21, and I have visions of at least four of my tops going with this. Can you imagine it with a black chiffon top and skinny jeans with maybe those Naught Monkey heels? It was a mere $24.80. I’m not one for the stores that the teens go to, but if you look carefully, you can find a real gem.

June 11, 2008. bargains, clothes. Leave a comment.

Bargains in the Preppy Stores

Now’s the time to start your search. Typically, summer sales begin a bit later around here, but there are always clearances. You’d be surprised where you’ll find them, too. Case in point – I took my daughter to American Eagle Outfitters and found two tops for myself. This one fits within all the rules I try to follow – it has an a-line shape to it, which hides any imperfections, and the color is great. And it cost $19.95 on sale.

Normally I steer away from the preppy stores as they cater to a much younger crowd, but a discerning eye can locate some very appropriate, very nice things.

What are some of your finds?

June 1, 2008. bargains, clothes. Leave a comment.

eBay and Authenticity

You should know this about me right here and now – I’m a eBay shopper. I’ve scored, according to my rating, over 101 items to date, most of them shoes and tops. If you’re into labels, you’ll find them at greatly reduced prices on eBay. A sample – a satin BCBG kimono dress goes for $49 plus shipping. These are said to be authentic, so that’s quite a reduction from the typical $200 BCBG price tag.

What’s disturbing is when the items aren’t authentic, but are advertised and presented as authentic. eBay has been the target of a class-action suit by one manufacturer for not putting a stop to the peddling of counterfeit products. eBay does have controls in place, but with the sheer magnitude of new items being posted daily, it’s a daunting task to police the site’s listings.

If you’re shopping on eBay, read first the tutorials and forums to help spot phony goods. I’ve had some serious questions about a few of my Versace dresses – the material is the same quality as my store-bought Versace, but there’s no certificate of authentication, nor any of the other controls Versace has in place. The problem, from my perspective, is first-time buyers aren’t aware of the things they should be looking for.

 

May 14, 2008. clothes, eBay. Leave a comment.

New Year, New Stuff

Thank God for post-holiday sales and paychecks! The Christmas crunch definitely slowed my purchases, but I managed to score some nice gifts at both Guess and Armani Exchange. But the motherlode was at TJMaxx in January. There I found a Michael Kors black jacket that’s just amazing. Better yet, it didn’t cost $154, but rather a cool $39.99. Even the outlet store couldn’t sell it for that!

 

February 10, 2008. bargains, clothes. Leave a comment.

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