Lately I've been experimenting with not only my personal style but where I might find its elements without breaking the bank. Face it -- we all love a good deal.
Deals can be found at thrift shops, designer resale stores, department store sales, and discount stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Ross. Personally, I have had no luck with Ross. Everything I've ever bought there might make it home but then when I put it on, looks like hell. The one that's worked for me consistently has been TJ Maxx, especially for shoes and tops and bras.
Let's talk about thrift shops first. If you like vintage clothes (even last decade's), and don't mind pawing through a lot of pure yuck, and inhaling the musty odor, by all means, get to the local thrift shops.
First, about thrift shops and what never to buy there. Shoes -- eww. Never. You don't know what life forms have lived in the feet that wore the shoes and you don't want to know. Sweaters - even cashmere or good quality wool will be misshapen, pilled, stained, or otherwise yucky.
Best thrift shop so far for good quality -- Jewish Council. Hit or Miss - Out of the Closet. Worst -- Goodwill. No matter which one you go to, get there early in the day when they've just put out the new stuff.
Now as for what is good to get:
Thrift shops for purses -- definitely, yes. I've gotten some great gently used designer bags at the Jewish Council Thrift Shop. They are fantastic for jeans, too. Sometimes there will be nearly new or barely used pair in your size. I've gotten a few great dresses there as well.
I haven't had a great deal of luck with designer resale shops. To me, they're overrated. If something is authentic and in good shape, you will still pay quite a bit for it.
A word on department stores. I used to work for a major department store that had a sale every weekend, as most do. Never shop there on Monday through Thursday 5 or 6 p.m. unless you want to come back later with your receipt and try to get them to honor the lowest price -- why come back twice for the same purchase? However -- trade secret -- check your local department store to see if you can get the weekend sale price on Thursday night. The sale prices are often online the night before the sale.
Got to go now. More on this later when I have time. Feel free to post your own deals.