Category Archives: Shopping

My Bargain Shopping Outfit

When going shopping at thrift and consignment stores, sometimes it’s just easier not to have to go all the way to a dressing room to make sure things fit. And if you’re hitting the yard sales, there are no dressing rooms. That’s why when I’m doing some serious bargain shopping I try to wear clothes that are easy to try on things on top of. For example, here’s what I wore to the Upscale Resale bag sale:
My shopping outfit

What makes up the ideal shopping outfit?

  • Close-fitting pants and shirt. I’ve got on yoga capris and a plain t-shirt.
  • No jewelry. You don’t want anything to get in the way when you’re pulling clothes on and off.
  • Slip-on shoes. I also carry a couple of those little nylon footie things in my purse for trying on shoes.
  • No lipstick or heavy foundation. I don’t want to leave makeup stains on every shirt I pull over my head. Today, I just wore Carmex, a little concealer, and some Benefit cheek stain.
  • This isn’t necessarily a great fashion statement, but it was really useful for trying on clothes. The sale was outside, so being able to just walk around to all the tables, trying on things as I went, was very convenient.

    Do you have any tips to add to the list? I’d love to hear them.

    Resale Review: Upscale Resale

    Today I visited Upscale Resale on University Parkway in Aiken. I had read about their children’s consignments and wanted to see what else they had. Turns out it was a good day to stop by as they are having a buy-one-get-one-half-off sale right now.

    I was pleasantly surprised. The store has a good selection of current styles for all ages – newborn to nineties – and a wide range of sizes. I saw quality brands such as Ann Taylor and Talbots, at reasonable prices (more than Goodwill, less than TJ Maxx). There were also a lot of new (i.e. not consigned) accessories including necklaces, earrings, and little girls’ headbands.

    So, what would I go there to buy? Special occasion tops for parties, everyday pants (they have a great selection of capris right now), and fun purses. I’ll definitely be going back in the future to see what’s new.

    Local Shopping Events

    There are two big shopping events coming up here in Aiken. First, Aiken’s Makin (warning: site makes noise), a big annual craft festival, is happening downtown Friday and Saturday this weekend. Then on September 19 and 20 the semi-annual Pass it On Kidsignment Sale is taking place at First Baptist.

    Aiken’s Makin is a good place to shop for unique Christmas gifts, and also just a fun venue to wander around and look at things. I’m especially looking forward to the Kidsignment sale so I can get any baby stuff we might need as well as find some good deals on books and puzzles for my son and maternity clothes for myself.

    The Touch, the Feel…

    Thanks to a tip from the Shop Tart, I went to check out the big sale at Van Jean this week. I found two tunic sweaters on their clearance rack that I really liked. (Yes, I was shopping for winter sweaters on the hottest day of the year so far. They were 90% off!) The first one was royal blue and looked fuzzy. I picked it up to get a closer look and immediately knew that I probably shouldn’t buy it, as cute as it was: it didn’t feel soft and fuzzy at all, it actually felt kind of rough. I checked the tag and confirmed my suspicions: 50% mohair, 40% nylon, 10% silk. The gray sweater, while less spectacular-looking, had the weight of cotton and felt soft to the touch. Its tag said 100% Merino wool.

    Even though I knew better, I tried on both sweaters. The blue one was horribly itchy and I couldn’t wait to take it off. The gray one was light, warm, and comfortable, and I ended up buying it.

    wool fabric

    My husband likes to make fun of me when I feel compelled to touch interesting-looking fabrics as we walk through a store, but I think it’s important to cultivate a good sense of touch when it comes to clothes. Just like it’s important to know what colors and styles look good on you, it helps to know which fabrics you prefer. It can help you sort through the racks at large discount and thrift stores more efficiently and find gems you might otherwise have overlooked. Knowing the names of the yarns and fabrics you like is also helpful when you’re shopping online and can’t touch the clothes in person.

    Take a look at the tags of your favorite clothes and see what they’re made of. Next time you’re out shopping, go ahead and feel fabrics before you try anything on – look at the tags if you find anything you particularly like or dislike. I know that I’m so much happier when I’m wearing clothes that both look good and feel good.

    Buy a Lot, Save a Little. Buy a Little, Save a Lot.

    As you may already know if you read my personal blog, I’m expecting our second child this December. Last time I was pregnant, I didn’t start to “show” until August, so most of the maternity clothes I have are for the fall and winter.

    This time, I needed maternity clothes by early June. Realizing it would be a long, hot, summer, I decided to invest in a few nice summer tops. Since I’d had a lot of success buying lots of clothes for my little boy on eBay, I thought I’d try it for myself.

    I easily found large lots of nice summer maternity clothes, many “NWT” (new with tags). I calculated what I was willing to pay per item, including shipping, and got to bidding. But I kept losing the auctions, even when I waited ’til the last minute to bid. I saw that new maternity tops were $16.99 apiece at Target, so I was unwilling to pay more than that on eBay. Actually, I didn’t want to go over $10 per item, though a couple bidding frenzies got me up to $13/item. I still lost.

    maternity shirts
    Two of the shirts I bought on eBay.

    Frustrated, I decided to check out the auctions for small lots and individual items. In children’s clothing, these are usually worse deals: items selling for twice or three times what you’d pay for them in lots. But surprisingly, in maternity clothes, individual items were much cheaper. I ended up buying nine shirts that ranged in price from $1.25 to $13. Even with shipping calculated in, they averaged only $5.32 per shirt (two of the small lots were from the same seller, so I saved a little on shipping).

    Why were people paying so much more for the clothes in lots? Maybe it was the perception that buying in bulk saves money. Maybe they didn’t want to bother searching through the other listings to find individual items. Whatever the reason, I’m going to be a lot more cautious of lot sales on eBay in the future. Just like in the grocery store, it always pays to calculate the per-item price so you can really see what you’re paying.

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