window dressing

August 18, 2009, 1:30 am
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I got this question from Shannon and I thought I’d address it in a post all its own. Feel free to send in questions at any time!

I’m curious about all your designer clothes…do you hunt for bargains? buy on ebay? buy off the rack?

Good question, Shannon! In short, all of the above. I would say that I am definitely a bargain hunter but I do love designer clothes. I used to think that you could find a knockoff of just about anything and that was essentially the same thing. Then I spent a summer in Paris in a little American art school, studying fashion, as a college student. We talked a lot about designers and the way things are constructed, as well as attention to detail. And the more I looked, the more I realized that in many ways, you do get what you pay for. A truly beautiful garment or accessory — well-constructed, with quality materials — can be timeless and last you for years.

That said, I don’t want to pay full price (and neither does my husband – ha!). And the truth is, you don’t have to. Especially in this internet age, it is easier and easier to find bargains. However, this means you have to do your homework and know what size you are in a particular brand.  For example, I have a thing for Prada shoes. Big time. I adore them. Prada is my designer of choice — Miuccia Prada does that quirky, fabulous, art school chic vibe so so well, and I adore it. So I scope out the shoes that I like, try them on at Neiman’s or Saks or wherever, and then hunt them down on eBay for the same price as a pair of shoes from Nine West. I know what size I am in the specific designers that I like, and more often than not, I’ve tried the item on in the store only to find it somewhere else (usually online) elsewhere.  There are lots of lines that can be had for minimal $ on eBay — I’ve had excellent luck buying J.Crew shoes (which are gorgeous but pricey at retail).

But what about fakes? The short answer is that I do my homework — I can spot a fake a mile away, and I would be dubious of buying anything on eBay of the following items: nylon Prada bags (too easy to fake and extremely prolific in the knockoff industry), anything Louis Vuitton, or Juicy Couture velour/terry suits.

Lately I really like BCBG items – their dresses in particular — but I don’t like how expensive they are. Luckily, our local Dillard’s has a really good selection, and usually almost everything is at least 30% off. More often than not this summer, everything started around 50% off, with an additional 30% off. In some ways, a recession isn’t so bad, non?

Other great online resources are the Gilt Group and Rue La La. If you’re quick on the draw, there are some SERIOUS bargains to be had there. If you need an invitation to either of these, please drop me a line and I’ll gladly send you an invite.

What do I buy cheaply? Trendy items like maxi dresses or certain accessories. I don’t mind picking up a few things from Old Navy or Target, but I know going into it that I have no preconceived notion that it is quality. If it falls apart, I’m not shocked. That said, I haven’t had many items really go to pieces, but it always surprises me when people complain about stuff from certain stores being shoddy in quality. What can you expect? I was terribly sad when Isaac Mizrahi stopped designing for Target – all of those pieces are wonderful and I’ve been happy with the quality.

One area where I’m not willing to scrimp is on denim. I believe a good pair of jeans can take you a really long way. There is really no way that a pair of jeans from Target is going to cut it for me. They just don’t fit the same and thus I don’t feel as fab in them. And I practically live in denim for the majority of the year, so I want to feel great. Joe’s Jeans make me feel that way, for the record.

And finally, many of my items are gifts from my sweet hubs. He knows that I love clothes like some people love food and he indulges me. I’ve gotten many a fabulous handbag or pretty little dress from him, and I love it that it makes him feel good when he sees me wear it. 🙂

Ok, sorry if that was a super-long diatribe. I hope this doesn’t come off as … uppity. I really believe in mixing items from all different places and knowing what looks best on your body type.

And if you ever need someone to track something down for you on eBay, I’m your girl! 😉


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Thanks so much for taking the time to write a response. I hope you continue to post great finds and links – I love seeing whats out there and appreciate the help.

Like you, I’m a busy Mom (two year old Libby) and I work from home planning events – so time to browse and hunt for bargains is at a minimum! I need all the help I can get!

I am at the point where I am getting more into making investments in designer items….I used the think quality or quantity but the tides are turning! Thanks again….

Comment by Shannon

*quantity over quality

Comment by Shannon

No problem! I was happy to answer any question at all! Thanks for continuing to read — sometimes I think the only people who read are my mom and my husband! 🙂

Do you have a website? I want to see some of your events that you plan!!

Comment by rachelshingleton

I love to read your work and see your pix. You have great style and a gift for writing. Keep inspiring us all.

Comment by Amos

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