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4. WHERE TO GO
If you want movie stars, try Betty Ford. If you want bargains, hit outlet and off-price stores. And don’t think they just get items that didn’t make it in big time. They also get items that are overstocked, discontinued or that stores just had to get rid of to make room. It’s like buying retail but without cost. Try following --
Department Store Outlets — 9.9% of your major department stores have one. Just check with your favorite and ask where they’ve stashed theirs.
Factory Outlets — Check your Yellow Pages for one nearest you. Beware: quality can vary widely. Some items are not expensive designer pieces you expect from manufacturer.
Off-price Stores — TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Ross, Dress for Less and mother ship, Loehman’s, to name a few.
Discount Catalogs — There are catalogs that specialize in discount items like Chadwick’s and Bedford Fair. Some established manufacturers like Clifford and Wills puts out several sales catalogs each season.
The Internet — We offer discounted fashions on our site but you can also recommend searching out “clearance” pages on websites of your favorite retail outlet or manufacturer.
Discount Chain Stores — Target, K-Mart etc. They’re stocking great basics these days — like cotton shirts and anything made of denim.
Television Home Shopping — This is a way to shop for basics in your bunny slippers. Often, during late night, they will have fashion close-outs for even better savings.
Resale Boutiques — The very rich clean out their closets and bring their clothes here. They’re a great place to buy honest-to-God real designer labels without sticker shock. Check your local Yellow Pages.
Thrift Stores — Check out a thrift store swarming with very young and hip . Find out day “buyer” is in or when store gets its deliveries. That way you get first shot at whatever comes in.
And don’t forget obvious haunts that you just may have overlooked. Garage sales are good bets but go early on Saturday. And if you need right blazer for a job interview or a dress for a one-time only social occasion, there’s always closet of someone you love. And see if there’s something they want to get rid of. One woman’s fashion mistake is another woman’s “find”.
5. BE IN CHARGE
The question you must ask yourself before putting down your hard earned plastic for a bargain is, “Why am I buying this?” If it doesn’t go with two things in your closet, put it back! It is a waste of money. Either you will never wear it or you will have to buy more things to go with it. When it comes to bargain shopping there are two categories: Impulse and Laser Guided. Don’t buy anything you don’t love or need. Don’t let a sales person, friend or well-meaning stranger talk you into buying anything that you’re not comfortable with. They don’t have to wear it in public, you do.
The information in this article comes from decades of personal and professional experience. We are not ashamed to admit that we are card carrying members of Imelda Marcos Center for shop-a-holic and that our book was a form of occupational therapy. Happy shopping!
Shirley Pierce and Janet Behmer are authors of book that's changing way women think about clothes and themselves -- Dress Me Now: How to Make Your Wardrobe Behave. http://www.dressmenow.com
Janet Behmer and Shirley Pierce have over 30 years of fashion experience between them. Janet has spent over 13 years as an on-camera host and buyer for home shopping channels and Shirley is the co-founder and president of Dress Me Now!, a company committed to the self-empowerment of women. She's been invited to speak to women's groups and has been featured on radio and telelvision.