Friday, September 24, 2010

How I Shop

As a fashion lover, I shop pretty frequently. I have a (usually) small budget for shopping. My plan of attack could be described as "guerrilla shopping". I hit many stores first with a brief scan of inventory and then if nothing has even caught my eye, I may go in-depth to comb through sales racks, crowded thrift store racks or clearance bins. I thought I'd share my method for getting the biggest bang for my buck.

Thrift stores - I've bought everything from target tees with tags still on to J Crew, Anthropologie, even H&M (*note: a store Tennessee doesn't have). I usually don't leave a thrift store having spent over $20. Normally I spend around $4-8 on small trips. My current thrift stores available aren't the best I've ever known. I have one goodwill and the occasional rummage sale. But in the past I have gone thrifting in places like Gulf Shores, AL, Lexington, KY, and closer to Nashville, TN. Thrifting on vacation can be rather thrilling.

Similar to a thrift store, I want to also mention Rugged Warehouse, Marti and Liz and Essex. All three are places that older pieces that didn't originally sell or overstock get sent. Sometimes there's damaged items, there's always random sizing. The only real difference is all the clothing here is new, except in the case of Marti and Liz which is lightly used. But I treat these places a lot like thrift stores. They're often dirty and disordered. You have to rummage, check for defects, and try on for fit. But like thrift stores, the odd gem can pop up.

Sales and Clearance Racks - I'll be the first to tell you that shopping off-season can be a god-send. Stores, even expensive ones, will slash prices right and left to get rid of old stock. I used to hit NY&Co clearance racks frequently for extremely cheap buttondowns, camis or trousers. All of which will never really go "out of style" since they are basics. I adore the fit of clothing at Ann Taylor Loft but their regular prices are vastly more than I'd ever spend. I've literally gotten jeans from there for $3 and $6. Being a unique size isn't always a burden. It can actually sway things in your favor.

Trying out new stores (mostly online for me: F21,Charlotte Russe, and All Saints for example) can be tricky. Especially if you're ever unsure about fit or quality. I have taken advantage numerous times on end-of-season sales to snatch pieces I've lusted after since I first saw "look books". The key is to attempt to research the brand/specific piece and know their return policy. I've found both F21 and Charlotte Russe to be more difficult than my recent experience with All Saints. Both CR and F21 charge me taxes and shipping, bringing "low" prices up drastically. All Saints was free shipping and no taxes (or you could view it as being "included" in the price).

I like my prices up front, so companies like All Saints and SockDreams are more likely to get my business. I also know I can trust their businesses to take returns if needed and they both have good quality control from what I've been able to experience. Watch the return policies though if you are buying from a sale or clearance rack. It can be great finding something you need, but awful if you get it home and it doesn't fit or is damaged and you can't return it.

Etsy/Ebay/Amazon - I've made 3 purchases through ebay so far. I've gotten surprisingly lucky. Each time I researched the brand, how specific sizings ran, how the Euro size ran. I sent the sellers questions. Double checked through the feedback for any consistent problems with a seller. Reviewed photos closely to determine authenticity (reading up on the Brand, especially if it's one known for knock-offs) and made a very careful judgment about the purchases. Like purchasing from a real store, read the sellers return policy. I try to determine that I will absolutely NOT need to return before purchasing, but that's not always a possibility.

Fluevog ebay finds
Amazon also has deals through sellers or Amazon Warehouse Deals. All of which can be hit or miss, but I've gotten two pairs of great shoes at slashed prices. Doesn't hurt to check.

Etsy is a new one for me. I've ordered from personal shops where people construct the items they sell. This has usually proved to be a wonderful experience. It costs more, but you often get high quality, individually tailored pieces. As for the vintage aspect of etsy, I've had some hits and misses, but overall seller's disclose any issues and often provide good information with fit. Making sure you know how measurement compare to both your body and your regular clothing measurements is important when shopping online, but more so when you aren't working on a "standardized" measuring system.

Shopping my own closet - Taking a page out of Sal and Kasmira's book, I try to consider re-purposing or DIYing out of my own closet. The button down I have was a shirt dress that I cut the sleeves off of and then cut the length from. It was bought for a super low price and turned out to be a bad fit, but after my "alterations" I've worn it many different ways. I've turned tunics into regular tops, removed sleeves, and fixed hems. Sometimes it takes a tailor, but it's a fun thing to actually change the one thing about a piece that you always wanted different. Or take an old favorite and breathe new life into it. 

I've also begun sewing, tailoring many of my own pieces to increase fit or completely create new pieces and accessories. Feel free to check out my Sew Sunday projects to see. There are projects of various skill levels - give it a shot.

Special pieces - I have a very few choice things in my closet that I've paid an expensive full price for. These are special to me pieces that I buy for quality, uniqueness and downright love. Most people opt to spend on new tech gadgets like smartphones or ipads, but I've probably spent less on my "special" pieces than D has on his gaming systems. Even my Miz Mooz boots, my most expensive purchase ever, I got on sale, had an e-coupon for, and managed get free shipping.

Goggles4u and ZenniOptical - Recent trials that my husband and I have used.  We're both glasses wearers and neither of us have insurance any more. Getting an eye exam done at walmart and ordering from these two companies is how we're keeping ourselves not only visually intact, but stylishly as well. The downside being the wait times and not knowing if things will be perfect for your face, but if you have the need - these places are legit. If you're very concerned, pay with paypal and keep a close eye on your deadlines for filing a dispute. We haven't needed to so far, though there are some complaints out there.

If you made through all that, thank you for reading! If you have any alternative hints or tips to shopping, I'd love to hear them. Do you have anything unique to your area that you use to shop? Do you lament your lack of certain stores or availability? Are you an online shopper?

Monday, September 20, 2010

What's in my bag?

Many bloggers post their bags and inner contents at some point or another. Mine usually only pops up when I'm in such a rush that I can't put it down. But Hillary requested pics of bags/contents for her birthday, and I figured others might be interested in both seeing and participating too.

The bag: An Aldo taupe tote style purse I bought for $10 at a rummage sale.

What's inside: Wallet (often lacking in money, but full of receipts), Pencil Case that acts as a "first aid kit" (bandaids, nail clippers, glass nail file, tweezers, cookie-shaped hand mirror, feminine items, capstick, glasses wipecloth), Anne Klein Prescription Sunglasses, Keys, Purple Pen for extra fabulousness, Purple PSP.

My bag also plays double and triple duty. Carrying D's sunglasses case, small items we buy while out, book I'm reading at the time, storage for phones, cameras, or other small electronics. But this is my base bag items.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Happy Birthday D!

Top - Target
Skirt - Anthro (?)
Pumps - Nine West
Watch - Belk
Earrings - Gift

Today is my Hubby's birthday! We started out with a lunch from our two favorite places. They're both across town but across the street so Hubs grabbed his sushi and we sat down at my favorite Chinese place.

Jon's best friend met us right afterward and I took the boys on a shopping excursion to TJMaxx. A few of Jon's clothes got bleach stains on them (Not my fault!) and so he needed some new work clothes. I managed to find him two lovely button downs, one was even a Calvin Klein, and a pair of wool dress trousers! I'm actually jealous of the pants, they're so lush. I was both proud and sad I didn't buy anything for myself - but it was totally okay because OMG My Audi-Harness is here!

We then hit up the arcade. I bought back up shoes for Dance Dance Revolution. We ended the day there for now, but tomorrow we're having dinner with his parents.

About the outfit - this is one of the two new skirts I got. This one was gotten from Rugged Warehouse, but was on the "Anthropologie" racks. Not sure if it actually is an Anthro brand or not, but it was so freaking swingy and fun - I didn't care for $11.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Doodle Give away winner!

At 9pm CST, I wrote out all the entries and put them in a 'pot' and had D pull one. Aaaand the winner is:

Eek! Congrats, I'll be sending you an email asap.

Thank you everyone who entered and all those that follow my little blog. Keep an eye out towards the end of this year. I'll probably be doing another Doodle Giveaway so you can have another chance.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Blog-iversary! Year 1

 Blouse - Xhilaration, swap
Skirt - Hugo Buscati, thrifted
Obi - Rugged Warehosue
Shoes - Poetic Lisence, ebay
Today marks the my little blog's birthday! One year ago, I bit the bullet and decided to join the ranks of fashion bloggers. I knew nothing, had little direction, and a small super casual wardrobe. Over the past year, I've built up my self-esteem, sense of fashion and my closet. I've changed hair colors more times than I can count, and cut my hair off super short. I want to thank everyone who's supported me and my little corner of the blogging world. You've kept me going through a whole year.
As a thank you, I've decided to do a small contest! I'm giving away one personalized Fashion Doodle. 

What this will entail:
I will draw the randomized winner a "Doodle" in the same style as my regular fashion doodles that occasionally appear on my blog. I can draw from a specific photo, or if you have a fashion blog of your own I can pick one out if you choose to work from. I'll scan the image, send you a digital copy for your own uses and if you like, mail you the physical copy of the drawing.

How to enter:
- Be a follower of Daily Waifu Snapshot
- Comment below with a valid email address
- Open to international followers
- Comment before Friday, September 10th, 2010 9:00pm CST when I'll add all the names to a pot and pull a name.