Leaves aren’t the only things changing this Fall. Kids are trudging back to school and the temperatures are falling. But perhaps the most notable change taking place with the coming of a new season is that of wardrobes. Time to mourn the death of our credit cards.
Complete wardrobe overhauls certainly come with some type of cost. Whether you plan on investing in a new pair of boots or a vintage leather jacket, the dollar signs keep cha-chinging with every swipe of those taunting black and white bar codes. So how do the most frugal of us handle a change in weather that beckons us to make an adjustment to the collection of clothing we keep in heavy rotation?
By now, my affinity for a good bargain should be no secret. And when the task of shopping for the next season is at hand, I pull out every stop to stalk my favorite vintage and second hand shops. That’s where tip #1 comes in handy:
SHOP OUT OF SEASON
The biggest selection of sweaters and jackets are always to be found in the summer right before cold weather strikes. The explanation is obvious: in 90 degree weather, no one is interested in bundling up. Tons of goodies are left on the hangers to be picked up by savvy shoppers like you and me. Chances are, in places like New York where the weather can be topsy turvy, cold weather duds are still being marked down to usher them out of the store and make room for clothing appropriate for what’s left of summer. Good prices and good selection is always a win-win.
Being au currant with enough cash to bring a heavy haul from Goodwill rather than Bergdorf is a little tricky. But some things to look out for that are also common in thrift stores are over-sized sweaters, shoulder pads, sequined blouses, leather jackets and beaten in bags. When that doesn’t work, try on #2 for size:
IMAGINE, ALTER AND REPEAT
That sheer poncho with gold tassels hanging from the bottom might not look like a beauty now, but consider all the things you could do with a well-constructed piece made of the season’s favorite fabric. After a little bit of bargain hunting, hit up your local craft stores for some trim, lace or extra fabric to bring an oldie but a goody into the 21st century.
Even the most seasoned thrift shoppers (me) can get exhausted, so when you’re looking for an easy find, don’t count out shops that you may have previously thought of as irrelevant as far as trends are concerned. My most recent surprise came on a trip to Old Navy, where I found the most amazingly supple black leather purse. Tons of basic tanks for under $10 as well. Which brings me to #3:
THANK GOODNESS FOR THE RECESSION
When the economy is all but crumbling before our eyes, retailers are pulling out every trick in the book to remain relevant among current customers and trying even harder to bring in new ones. This might explain why Old Navy’s design team is suddenly so on point. Kain-esque tanks and zipper-clad bags abound. And where Gap was once a distant thought in the minds of fashionistas, it is now a certifiable house of must-have items (Pierre Hardy, hello?) Old Navy is certainly on its way if what I have seen the past week is any indication of the direction it plans to take with its design.
And if it is any consolation to you die-hard, brand-loyal fiends, plenty of your favorite department stores are taking even bigger cuts to their already on-sale merchandise.
So yes, while I may look like a crazy person stocking-up on sweaters in the middle of a 100+ degree summer, you won’t be thinking that when you see me come Fall.