At a writers conference last weekend, a perky young woman bounced up to me and said, “What a cute outfit!” I cannot tell you how proud I was. My trousers had come off a sale rack ($8), I found my chocolate brown shirt at an outlet clearance sale ($3.50), and my snazzy sweater/jacket I discovered at the Goodwill store ($2.25). Actually, the jacket was priced at $4.50, but it had a blue tag and I got to the store on blue tag day which meant it was half off.
Okay, I’ll admit that no one has ever accused me of being a fashionista. A fashion-disasta, maybe… But the thing is, I love bargains. It feels like beating the system, and beating the system these days is a terrific feeling.
Just over a year ago, my husband and I moved to a whole new area. One very pleasant feature here is the super thrift stores. They are so clean and orderly, and except for the price tags, I can feel as though I’m shopping in a regular store. I moved from a one-season-fits-all part of the country to an area that enjoys hot summer days, brisk autumn weather, snow-on-the-ground-shivery winters, and non-stop-rainy springs. Which meant shopping was a must. I now have two mover’s wardrobe boxes filled with my “new” seasonal wardrobe. Such fun!
Not everyone shares my second-hand shopping passion. Several years ago, a friend and I were in Austria and we decided to search out second-hand stores over there. Guess what? We couldn’t find any. Well, we finally found one in Vienna. I bought a Loden green wool coat and a Tyrolian hat for $7. When I modeled it for my friend’s family, they looked at me as though I had lost my mind. My friend said they asked her later why anyone would wear someone else’s castoff clothes.
I once got an outfit at an Assistance League shop that I liked so much I wore it when I gave a speech at an upscale women’s club. Afterward, a lady came up and said, “That’s my old skirt and jacket. I threw them out last year.”
I just smiled and said, “You have impeccable taste, Madam.”
SKIRT– Ross Sale, $6.99
TOP–Outlet Rack, $2.99
SHIRT–Thrift Store, 75 cents
“If you are all wrapped up in yourself, you are overdressed.”