POSTED ON JULY 25, 2012:
CHIC ON THE CHEAP
Good style without breaking the bank
Otis Redding showed he knew a thing or two when he crooned, "Oh, she may be weary. Them young girls they do get wearied wearing that same old shaggy dress. But when she gets weary, try a little tenderness." Even better if that tenderness should come in the form of something pretty and new. And that doesn't necessarily mean brand spanking new. Even slightly new is often new enough.
I recently read somewhere that when a man says "I don't have anything to wear," he means he doesn't have any clean laundry. When a woman says "I don't have anything to wear," what she actually means is "I don't have anything new to wear."
And not that we have to abide by any sort of Hollywood standards, but who wants to be photographed on multiple occasions in the same outfit? Your event photos might not make it into US Weekly but they are guaranteed to be posted on facebook for all the world to see. And so comes the pressure of looking the part of the girl about town that you are.
If it's a guaranteed bargain you're after, second hand is where it's at. I'm going to let you in on one of the best kept secrets of some of Tulsa's most style-savvy resale shops, clothing swaps and internet spots.
In fact, informal clothing swaps can be found all over town throughout the year. The trick to an invite to such a swap is knowing the right people. Carla-Rose M. Branch is one of them. What started as a small affair of six friends or so has now grown into a full blown annual event that Branch now deems "out of control." Branch found herself inspired to organize a swap between girlfriends out of a need for clutter clearing.
"I feel like I'm always purging my closets," she said. "But the clothing I was always getting rid of was hardly worn. They were just things I was tired of or didn't fit so I figured 'Why not swap my stuff with someone?' One woman's trash is indeed, another's treasure.
Not Used. Pre-Owned.
If throwing or attending a swapping party isn't a viable option for you, or if you're in need of some Louboutins STAT, a consignment resale shop might be your best bet. Local shops like Echo Shop and Resurrect carry gently used, affordably priced apparel and accessories for a fraction of what you'd pay retail. On any given day in Echo, you can find the occasional flawless Louis Vuitton and more Coach handbags than you can shake a stick at.
Tara Hughes, owner of the consignment boutique Resurrect, found herself giving away thousands of dollars of merchandise every time she cleaned out her closet. Once the economy took a dip, it occurred to her that her discarded clothing (and that of her friends) might just turn a profit. She also saw a desire for women to create the great designer looks they were used to wearing but with a need to spend a little less.
"At Resurrect you can expect to find everything as far as shoes, jewelry, handbags, women's apparel," Hughes said. "It is mostly high end and recognizable brands. We get a lot of shoppers from Saks and Aberson's who bring their clothes in when they've cleaned out their closets."
Consignment store policies vary, but for those selling clothes, Resurrect requires a three month agreement with 60 percent of the selling price going to Resurrect and 40 percent going to the owner of the clothing. As a shopper, you can expect items priced below half of what they originally cost with weekly additional markdowns on multiple items throughout the store.
Independent stylist and fashion consultant Shannon Schroeder is a frequent customer of Resurrect both for herself and her clients. "Dressing Designer on a Dime is a regular request I receive in styling my clients," she said. "I have purchased several designer pieces (in consignment stores), such as a pair of coveted Resort collection Chanel sandals, at Resurrect Boutique at a fraction of the cost."
Rack 'Em Up
Now, if you're used to walking into a department store and purchasing exactly what's on the mannequin, piece-mealing your wardrobe is going to require a bit of branching out. The most interesting ensembles are rarely matchy matchy. Danielle Wyman, head designer of the Beulah B. Collection, offers a few tips:
--A great necklace and a colorful shoe always pulls together an outfit.
--Your shoes, purse or clutch don't always need to exactly match what you are wearing.
--Don't be afraid to mix up your prints -- for instance, florals with polka-dots or Ikat/Merimekko with stripes.
The magic is in the mix. Expensive doesn't necessarily mean more stylish. It's resourcefulness and moxie that separate the fashionistas from the frumpy.
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