Tips From Four Blogging Fashionistas

Sunday, October 12, 2008

We e-mailed bargain-savvy bloggers (and thrift-store aficionados) to ask them for some expert advice. Below, their tips on how to find chic choices among the castoffs.

-- H.E.T. and M.T.

When's the best time to hit the stores?

Betsy Lowther, Fashion Is Spinach: "I like to go during weekdays when possible. Weekends are normally too crowded and hectic, with long lines and lots of disarray. It's like hitting a Forever 21 on a Saturday afternoon: It's just too crazy and crammed to find anything."

Maria Fyodorova, Righteous (re)Style: "Ask an employee or manager when they restock their store. Sometimes it is an ongoing effort, sometimes -- especially for the donation stores -- new items are brought in on specific days."

What has been your most surprising find?

Em Hall, DC Goodwill Fashion Blog: "Without a doubt, the most surprising find was an immaculate pair of Ann Demeulemeester riding boots, size 37. I put them up for bid on the DC Goodwill eBay store, and what would have sold for $5.99 in our store went for $355 online. . . . And lest anyone think this is another case of plucking the juiciest finds off the racks, keep in mind that I only post a handful of items per week as part of the Good Buy of the Week."

Kathryn Finney, the Budget Fashionista: "A Jean Paul Gaultier knit top for $3.99 with the tags from Saks Fifth Avenue still on it. Original price was $800."

What have you bought that you wished you hadn't?

Lowther:"It's easy to get caught up in the moment and make an impulse buy, especially if it's only a few dollars. A couple of times, I've purchased items that were too small or stained/damaged, thinking I'd find a way to use it. Most of the time, they end up going back to the thrift store."

Okay, now give us your best advice. Please!

Lowther:"You might hit four thrift stores and come up with nothing, and then the fifth one will be brimming with finds. It's almost like a marathon: Dress comfortably, keep hydrated and don't bother showering beforehand. Trust me, after spending the day rooting around in other people's secondhand stuff, you'll want to hose down as soon as you get home."

Finney:"Don't forget to do the smell test. If it smells musty, most likely it will stay that way."

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