The economy is not what it used to be. There was a time for some of us those one hundred dollars and up was an acceptable price for jeans. Yes for some of us, and by us I mean you, this is still acceptable and by all means you can skip this article and take your rich ( or heavily in debt) behind shopping. For others of us the idea of spending a great deal on clothes is either outrageous or out of reach entirely.
Now with that having been said I have to say further that I did not turn into a frump over night. I am not able, nor willing, to say goodbye to posh Coach loving, Sephora shopping, did shoe addict me. Nor do I feel like I should have to. It would simply be too hard. I am this girl. So what are my alternatives ? Well, I could leave my nice mid-western husband, put on my best Fredrick’s of Hollywood Padded push-up bra ( Up to F cup size BTW for my busty BBW’s ) and find me a sugar daddy. I could take out a student loan and spend the entire loan on MAC and Gucci shoes, ending in a fit of remorse, knowing that this shopping spree will eventually cost me about twice what I borrowed. Or I could learn where to find the deals and how to know when I am getting a deal and when I am just getting cause I miss spending money on what I love when I want it. Ok, after I jettison the thought of being a sugar baby, too much self-respect and WAY too much explaining involved there, I decided to write down my favorite places to get CHIC for Cheap and how.
1. The thrift store is your friend
- Plus sized women often shun the thrift store saying they never find anything that looks good on them there. that everything is for smaller women and what is for full figured women starts at a size 24 which is not exactly the average size for most women ( Average woman being size 16). The truth is that because the average woman is not a size 2 you are not going to find only size twos in the stores. But you do have to pick your area and your stores wisely. The better the area the better the thrift store goods. If you see a lot of high end plus shops in the area you can bet you will find the same brands in the thrift stores in said area.
- Know your size. You cannot save money buying 14 pairs of jeans looking for your size. Avoid buying clothes that don’t fit, even if you are losing weight. Limit your “ next size down” buying to one piece a month, for motivation only.
- Get to know brands that fit your body ! If you have booty like Nicky Manaji, avoid Gloria Vanderbilt ! If you are rocking a pancake flat rear, you may find that brands like Roca Wear and Deleon leave your backside looking flatter due to their extra roominess. If you know what brands fit your body you will have a better thrift shopping experience. Find out what brands run small, and which run big.
- What I always tell my thrift store virgins and thrift store knockers alike is make it a game. Have in mind several things you want and make sure you are in a hunting mood. Jeans are very good thrift store finds, they are often new or nearly new. If you give yourself a good amount of time to find a few new pieces you can truly clean up in the saving s. I have a 180.00 pair of Armani Exchange Jeans that I got at our local thrift for fifty cents. True Story.
- Shoes and purses are always in abundance at thrift stores. High End bags and shoes with little or no usage at prices as low as two or three dollars depending on the area, and you can expect to save no less than seventy percent off retail prices.
2. Find exchanges and forums online that have trading and swapping for clothes, shoes and make up
- There are an amazing amount of websites that have make up exchanges (Make up Alley is my favorite) where you can get rid of your new or slightly used make up. There is often also a rating system so that you know who is new, who trust worthy is, and who to avoid.
- There are a lot of clothing swaps online and in person (there is a diva swap at the upcoming curvy convention in Las Vegas as well) where you can get rid of, swap or just get some new clothes and shoes. This is a green option as well, since you keep the clothes out of landfills.
3. Learn to Dupe
- There are several low end cosmetic that have very good pigmentation and have colors that match the high end cosmetic, allowing for you to use your high end acquisitions last longer.
- Revlon, ELF, and Rimmel are examples of drug store brands that have great color dupes for MAC, Stila, MUFE and NARS. there are also beauty supply store brands like NYX and Nicka K that also have many great duping possibilities. There are several blogs and Vlogs dedicated to the art of color duping.
- E.L.F., MS. Makeup, NYX, and several EBay Sellers have really great make up brush sets for less than the cost of one MAC, Sephora or other high end brand. Good old fashioned artist paint brushes are often excellent choices for makeup brushes, if you choose similar shapes and brush quality, you can still save half or more.
4. Dressing rooms and return policies are your friend
- Remember as the consumer you have a RIGHT to try on anything you are buying retail. Do not be ashamed to take an hour in the dressing room finding the best bang for your buck.
- Anything you do not like, return. Ask return policies as you are shopping. Many people do not know that Sephora, MAC and other high end make up counters do accept returns of Makeup even if it is used.
5. Utilize the internet to learn some DIY
- There are all sorts of videos and tutorials on how to do everything from making wigs to applying make up to making easy beginner clothing on YouTube and other sites.
- Learning how to alter clothes is also a great way to extend the life of some of your much loved clothes that may not look as good anymore due to weight loss, weight gain or just being out of season.
- Not only does that save on you spending money but can also give you a hobby that could turn into a vocation.
There is simply no reason not to be fabulous in these trying times. Remember that the main thing that we will wear that will define if people think about you is your personal style and your swagger. How much you pay for your clothes makes no difference if you always have the confidence of a queen.