Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hide and Chic: A Quest

Posted by Jenni

The phrase “hide and chic” is often used to describe designer storage intended to hold ten years of your life while looking like an innocent Ottoman. I prefer to use it as a phrase to describe the shredding of tags on clothes you've had for...ages. You just forgot about them. At Banana Republic.

If you're like me, then you enjoy shopping to a degree that actually causes withdrawal if the activity is too infrequent. This is called retail therapy, and Americans are particularly prone to it. It's nothing to be ashamed of - just don't be one of those people who write it off and say things like "The truth is...". The truth is that you enjoy buying and wearing new clothing. Lots.

Obviously, this can be expensive. That's why I'm here: to enable you to um, help our economy. At Banana Republic.

I am a pro at finding good deals. I have a pair of Betsey Johnson T-straps, a Marc Jacobs tote bag, and a vintage Burberry scarf, all of which I managed to get for much less than their usual retail prices. I think.

The first place to look for these things is an outlet mall. I found my Marc Jacobs bag for $58 at a Saks Fifth Avenue outlet over the summer. If you live in northern VA, you're in luck - the Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets have great clothes/shoes/bags/cookware at great prices. Similarly, I ran across a Burberry scarf in a locked glass case at a Goodwill in Frederick, Maryland. It was $20.

In my opinion, the key to finding quality products at a Goodwill or similar thrift store is to make a day trip and go to one that skirts a major city or a borough. But I would always recommend looking through a thrift store no matter where you are. You might find a great piece of vintage clothing or jewelry. I did once stumble upon a real Chanel bag in a tiny town in the Blue Ridge Mountains, but it was practically destroyed. I still should have bought it. It was only $25.

My favorite, though, is how I got ahold of my Betseys. I traveled to Boston (my hometown) this summer with one of my best friends, whose real name is – get this – Ashley Magnifico. As one native Bostonian said upon meeting us, “I betcha spent two howahz on history, and five howahz on Newbury Street.” How did he know?
Anyway, later in the day, we wandered into Betsey Johnson’s hot pink boutique. We must have looked pretty darn cute, because the manager invited us to Betsey’s birthday party later that day, where we were served cupcakes, pink lemonade, and 30% off. I bought my T-straps for $56.

Basically, what I’m trying to tell you is not to be afraid to look. To shop. To dream. Try everything, and if it doesn’t work out, make your own.

Jenni Schweitzer is unnaturally talented at finding good deals on normal clothes, too. She just looks like a million bucks.

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