In fashion, I’ve always described myself as Dolce & Gabbana living in a Jean Nate´ world! Meaning I have a luxury brand taste but am always on a drugstore budget. For those of you unfamiliar with Jean Nate´ – this product was a huge hit in the 1970’s and 80’s – it was a brand found in drugstores – a body splash in a beautiful yellow color like saffron, with a black cap and it was difficult to find a home back then that didn’t have a bottle of Jean Nate´. It was a global hit and remained popular for several years – its scent is a bit citrusy and universally appealing which is why it became so popular. Fun fact: It’s been around since 1935!
But back to fashion….I’ve always been someone who loved clothes and accessories – you may recall a previous article I wrote about bags…all kinds of bags; clutches (my fave), crossbody bags, tote bags and now mini backpacks! But growing up with immigrant parents meant that you didn’t have a whole lot of money to spend on fashion – my parents were just trying to get food on the table and pay the mortgage on our house. So fashion took a back seat … always. When I was a young girl the local Target-like store was called King’s – it was a department store where everybody bought their goods including clothes and sundries. King’s is where we would go to buy fabric and my mother would make my clothes – I wanted a denim jacket but my mom wanted to sew me a pair of plaid pants – no lie I actually have a picture of me in plaid pants and a striped shirt! In any case, being on a budget wasn’t going to stop me – I’ve always been that way – I’ll plow through and get what it is I need to get done – it might not be exactly the way I wanted it – but I’ll get pretty close! So I’d put my desire for a denim jacket on hold for a moment, and my mom and I would go to King’s buy some fabric and sew some clothes and even today I still remember how much fun it was! I understand sewing is a lost art today – to make your own clothes versus buying them – but for anyone who has had the experience, you know how fun it is to cut a pattern that you designed yourself. As the years went on my budget increased a little bit from babysitting jobs and I was able to finally buy a Levi’s denim jacket and a Bedazzler; a rhinestone stud machine many of you may remember – I ended up making myself a jacket that I saw at the department store for about $100 with rhinestones and it only cost me about $25.00 total!
My very first job was at age 14 working for Northeast apparel – a clothing company sort of like a Forever 21 today. I had to get my working permit from the City of Newton in Massachusetts in order to work in a retail store at the age of 14, so with my parents in tow (because I needed their written permission), we went to City Hall, got my work permit and off to work I went! I needed money to fund my love of clothing and accessories and this was the perfect job; I would earn money and get a 30% discount at a store I already loved!
As the years passed and my salary increased I remember shopping sales at Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue – yes this was before the children of course! After the children, the bills start piling up and you now have to buy diapers and formula vs trendy clothes. And so my fashion cravings were curbed back to my local Target and I still shop there today! Actually one of my favorite dresses I wear all the time is from Target. Then my dear friend Faye introduced me to consignment shopping. I remember shopping consignment years ago but I had a bigger budget then so it wasn’t really of interest to me at the time. But in recent years with two boys to raise, wrestling shoes to buy for my oldest son, college tuition on the horizon, and wanting to help build their future I have a rejuvenated interest to buy the clothes and accessories I love at a fraction of the price — I mean like 10% of its original price!! I recently discovered The RealReal – this is a website that I can’t tell enough people about!! This is a luxury consignment at its best! My favorite purchase so far is a Dolce & Gabbana wool tweed skirt with lace inlay. It is gorgeous and I’m looking forward to wearing it during this holiday season. This beauty cost me $60 plus shipping and it retailed in stores for $595!
I have also discovered Crossroads Trading in my Irvine, California neighborhood which is an amazing consignment shop carrying many of my favorite brands like Rag & Bone, Aqua and AllSaints to name a few – when I stopped in recently, they had a beautiful Gucci bag I am keeping my eye on for $300.
The RealReal is a luxury consignment so I must minimize my shopping on that site! Crossroads Trading is more for everyday shopping and not only for women but also for men. They carry everything from evening gowns to workwear to casual wear to beachwear and then accessories like bags, socks, ties wallets and sunglasses for all genders. An enclosed glass case that is always locked houses the latest luxury items such as the Gucci bag I’m watching! Fendi shoes and Valentino bags at an incredibly discounted price! My best advice to girlfriends is to try consignment shopping just once and you’ll be hooked! You might find a beautiful coat for $50, or maybe that Gucci bag for $300 – or maybe a Burberry wallet for $200 – everything is gently used and the staff has a great eye for picking perfect pieces to house in the store. I sent two friends consignment shopping at Crossroads and they both came back to me with a story of incredible finds – and that’s what I would say consignment shopping is all about – incredible finds for anyone at any budget!
Hot tip: After you purchase clothing at consignment stores I recommend you take the item to your local dry cleaner or use Dryel sheets – an innovative way to save on your dry cleaning bill – all you need to do is put 1-4 items in the special dry cleaning bag provided in the kit, along with a Dryel cloth and pop the bag in your home dryer machine for 15-20 minutes and voila, your clothes smell fresh and clean. Happy shopping everyone!
What you’ll find there…
Just For Fun…
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