Secret of ACQUIRING a FRUGAL but SUMPTUOUS WARDROBE
1.) Never ever buy retail. Having just returned from the Dec 26th sales at Nordstoms and Barneys at the palatial GROVE IN HOLLYWOOD I am in total SHOCK at how ugly and poorly made these top two department stores' clothing was, how tacky... how boring the garments were....1/2 the clothing came in boring tones of gray, the other 1/2 was black. I saw things that we wouldn't have seen in floozy shops back in the 50's, acetate evening dresses from China...at exaggerated prices even on sale. So my numero #uno tip, the ultimate answer for being well dressed is learn to sew, learn to sew knits, learn to tailor. Singer sewing machine stores probably still give those inexpensive courses! GO! Now, you can keep an eye open for thread, notions, zippers at garage sales! I note that every time a woman dies, her daughter gives away all her notions and fabric for a buck at the garage sale. So when you call a GARAGE SALE night before, ask: any dress patterns, any shoes? Any notions? Any good clothing. Any artware pottery or china. My favorite thing in the world! But don't tell them what it is. Call it 'old dishes' bowls n'stuff?'
2.) Peruse thrift stores and garage sales on weekends, looking for clothing that you can renovate or dye. GET GOOD DYES, not RIT! REFRIGERATOR DRAWERS from old fridges, always made of enamelled steel, serve as dying vats. Enameled pots, graniteware, great for dying. Not metal! Not washing machine! FIX the dye with a hot salt bath afterwards.
POSTER AT YAHOO FRUGAL GROUP WROTE: "I do NOT mean Goodwill - I mean the REAL thrift stores. I can get clothes at the Family Thrift Center & a couple of other stores for half or less than half of what Goodwill charges. Heck... I can get stuff off the clearance rack at Target BRAND NEW for less than half of what Goodwill charges. How's that for crazy? Goodwill wants $7 for a pair of jeans - my daughter hits the clearance racks and we paid $3.94 for the last pair of jeans she bought at Target."
Another poster wrote"NOT SO! We're on the west coast (Seattle) and it's just the opposite for us. Goodwill has amazing prices. I picked up brand new jeans (tags still on) for my daughter last week for 99 cents. I do shop Target's clearance rack but Goodwill is my go-to place. On the other hand, Salvation Army's prices are more than the item would cost new!!! A used pair of jeans there will
cost you $10. So, I don't even go in the store.
Another thing to watch out for is the Goodwill Outlet stores. You can get a list of them on their website. They sell stuff extra cheap by the pound!!
But having a neighborhood swap meet party combined with a garage sale is best idea. My Mom's group does something similar with kids toys. Everyone brings toys they don't want or their kids have outgrown and we swap. Kids get "new" toys and we don't spend a penny."
GET CLOTHING from GARAGE SALES which is a much better choice as Thrift stores have become way too pricey. (They have to pay employees and rent & costs are passed on to YOU.) Most garage sales, people just want a spare change excuse to let go of that frock or trouser. Last, learn to sew so that size 20 skirts can be easily pared down to your size 12 or even become TWO size FOURS! Or if not wool, can become ten pillows! Sew so that so that old shirts can be mended. Make those Depression era clothing PATCHES stylish using florals, chintz and prints. Get quilts while we're at it. Feathers wash fine, dryer fluff up just great!
3.) POSH CHUMS! We all have beautiful, chic pals who are wildly extravagant, have fabulous, huge wardrobes. They generally have very wealthy husbands. And they're always bored with half of what they own! Well, encourage such a lucky pal have a FUN "CLOSET SALE" Not a garage sale as this party is held INDOORS in the bedroom or walk in closet, with food, beverages. Guests are known women pals and their chums ONLY. Yes, pals of pals. You will help hostess with the wardrobe that's the MOSTEST bake the cakes or make the appetizers and be in charge of making coffee all day, a new pot every hour. Saturday comes and what fun, all her pals and your pals, these stylish fun gals come and go and buy. Cash on the barrelhead. Or trade. At the end of it all, you buy what you want. Scoop it up real cheap, too! I used to read palms at these affairs and the hostess would practically give me what was on my list and then say 'take everything that didn't sell!" Swear to God!
4.) GET REAL ORGANIZED about garage sales. Friday nite, take out the classifieds, see where they're going to be. Mark a page in your NOTEBOOK. WEST SIDE. Addresses, fones. Call ahead, see what they've got. MID CITY, etc. Put stars by ones that sound good. Our RECYCLER weekly has the best list ever. Ask around, find not only your local penny saver newspapers but locate all the great swap meets. For instance, in L.A. Fairfax High School PARKING LOT has one of the best swap meets ever. Clothes, antiques, Shabby Chic! Craigs list has the FREEBIEs and the BARTER area also. EBAY of course has designer labels, and not cheap. Our MELROSE decorators have an annual MERCHANDISE GARAGE sale that tosp that even!
5.) Pick up old shoes for pennies at garage sales. Clean interior with alcohol on cotton. LEARN to CLEAN up your own old tennis shoes so that you don't have to buy new. Then PAINT THEM. Name one thing on the planet that you throw away when it gets dirty. Kids? Cars? NO! ONLY TENNIES! EVERY Sunday, do a pair of your Adidas, Nike Shoes those leather tennis shoes, first must go thru washer, dry in sun. Then go to work and come back at night, pull in the dry shoes. Then we repaint them white. We bleach shoelaces in a pot, say 2 tbsp bleach in a quart of water... sun them with bleach ON THE shoelaces, diluted but wet --all day in the sun. Later, rinse bleach out dry a second time. Bleach works better in sunlight. Always rinse bleach off. The TENNIS SHOE FIXING happens easily if you split the work into breakfast and after dinner.
6.) Hit the big sales at Discount shops, wholesalers only when there are holes in your wardrobe that you cannot fill another way. You have dozens of shirts but no navy, pencil skirt? Then you gotta shop. But being disciplined and sticking to the agenda is the frugal way. Better would be to sew one up. Garage sale patterns can go for 25c The Vintage patterns from 60's thru 80s go for 100 or 200$ online.
7.) If you're a sample size, 8, 10, which I believe is current 'sample size' that manufacturers use on their models at their shows, make friends with cutters, designers, merchandiser gals who work in the Garment district and start to show up at the building where they all show their lines. If you really have a connection, build on it! Get every sample size from every manufacturer in the district, (by now, you'd get 80% off.) then open a shop in your apartment's back room. Get professional racks. Then, go on Craigs list as a wholesale dress vendor. Sales are by appointment, Saturdays when you're at home.
8.)RELATIVES AS RESOURCES. Mom, Auntie have vintage duds. It's surprising how dettached oldsters become to their wardrobes after 60 yrs of age. My Mom used to buy Sophies from Saks 5th Ave. My sister puts a few dozen designer things in her storage room every year. She complains that much as she's TRIED, she can't EBAY or garage sale them off! Nobody seems to want them. I say 'carry them to Russia in your suitcases, they'd make a great hit." She says that's a hoarders' rationale and I should go *@#)%*^& myself and then she laughed and said kindly, you take it. My gift to you. WOWIE COATS! TOTAL NEIMANS quality! But my point is, alert the relatives. They also have more than a few perfume bottles they will pass on for a buck each! Any JOY by PATOU? Any White Shoulders? Jungle Gardenia? I'm picky even with free parfum! Femme? Diagonal? Rose Essence?
9.) The Garment district of a big city frequently has an ALLEY with hundreds of tiny shops. This is spillover from the many designers, the big houses. Very bon marche. Come to L.A. I'll take you to ours. Every so often the cops raid it for all those bogus CHANEL bags so the place is a real hoot!
10). DISCOUNT HOUSES - As USA has become the new Tijuana for Europe, and the EURO is two of whatever we've got, there are now discount houses in the boonies of every major city, a short leap from the internat'l airport!. New Jersey is wall to wall duds for less. Folks get off the plane from Paris, London and just come scoop up those Laurens and Kleins, then cross the pond with their booty. CHECK these types of retail discount stores out.
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