Spoils of Wear

Monday, March 14, 2011

Today we have a very special treat for all of you. A GUEST POST. Yes. Our second one and boy are we excited. Jane and I came across this lovely lady, Jill, via the blog-sphere and have been using her outfits for inspiration ever since. She is always trying something new and adventurous. 

We asked her to share her tips on bargain shopping because she is basically an expert. Enjoy!


Hi there! I’m Jill from Spoils of Wear.  I was so honored that Harley asked me to share my bargain-shopping techniques here on Harley and Jane.  I loooove shopping.  But more specifically, I love bargain shopping.  The adrenaline rush of scoring a fantastic item at a jaw-dropping low price is the feeling that drives my retail experience.  I seem to have a knack for finding bargains just about anywhere (I boast), but there are 2 main shopping approaches anyone can take to increase their chances of finding outstanding deals:
Second-Hand.  This is my #1 shopping method of choice.  I’ve become very familiar with thrift and consignment shops in my area.  I know when they have extra discounts going on and what areas of the store will most likely have what I’m looking for.  About thrifting:
·       Go with a plan.  It can be dangerous to head into bottom-dollar territory without at least a few specific items in mind.  A mental (or physical) list will keep you on track.  Because you will surely look at that vintage poncho for $3 and think “I need this.  This is exactly what I was looking for.”  And then you’ll refer back to your list and it will say “trench coat”, and then it will dawn on you that you don’t even like ponchos.
·       Go with appropriate clothing.  It’s a thrift store.  Some of it’s clean, some not so much.  And you’re lucky if the store has dressing rooms.  Even luckier if those dressing rooms don’t smell like…well, never mind.  The point is you don’t know where this stuff has been or if you’ll have a private place to try it on. Wear light layers - like a camisole and leggings - so you can easily try stuff on over your under things without getting arrested for exposing yourself in public.
·       Trick yourself, on purpose.  Sometimes, when I know I’m really weak (like if I haven’t been to the thrift store in a while but I only have $15 to spend), I don’t get a cart.  This way, by the time I drape item #7 over my arm, I am forced to re-evaluate.
·       Evaluate, then re-evaluate.  Then evaluate some more.  Really, and I mean REALLY look over what you’re choosing to buy.  Sure, it’s $1.50, but does it deserve to be in your closet?  Do you LIKE it, does it FIT (be honest), or do you like the PRICE?  If you answer “the price”, it needs to go back to the rack from whence it came.  You won’t wear it.  No, you will not.
·       Don’t give up.  Some days you hit the jackpot, some days you don’t.  It’s ok.  Thrift store merchandise is in constant rotation, so try again in a few days.  Frequency is key.
Clearance Racks.  Honestly, of the time I spend in department, chain, or mall stores, approximately 2% of my time is looking at full-price items.   Mostly, I go in, look at the clearance rack, and either buy or leave.  While pillaging those perfectly priced racks, I ask myself the following questions about the items I might purchase.  These questions can/should be applied to Second-Hand shopping as well.
·       Why is it here? 
o   Is it damaged?  Can I fix it?  WILL I fix it?
o   Out of season?  Do I care?
o   Out of style?  Do I care?
·       Would I have liked this at full price?
o   Again if it’s JUST about the price, forget it.  Your closet deserves better.
·       Does it fit?
o   Try! It! On!  Try! It! On!  (just imagine me chanting this in your ear)  Try! It! On!           
·       Will it get discounted further? 
o   It’s a risk you should seriously consider taking.  I hate buying something at 30% off, only to go back in a week to find it at 75% off (talkin’ to you, Target).  If it’s something you CAN live without -  and let’s face it, you probably can – maybe try back later for an even BETTER bargain.
I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking, “is this girl for real?  She doesn’t pay full price for anything?”  Ok, I wouldn’t go quite that far.  Rarely, I will pick something up at full price for the following reasons:
·       NEED.  Like…underwear.  Sometimes, I can’t wait for a sale on underwear.  So I buy it at full-price, ok?  Sue me.
·       LOVE.  Like, can’t-live-without-or-I’ll-die kind of love.  In case you’re wondering, this does not happen every day.  This sort of purchase is reserved for a work of art, or something that captures your personal style like no other, or something that fits you better than a glove.  High stakes, people, high stakes.
·       SUPPORT.  As in, your local businesses.  If you want to take the $75 you would’ve spent on 5 cheap items at Forever 21 and put that toward one quality piece from a local boutique, do THAT instead.  Those little guys need to survive for the sake of your local economy.  It’s the right thing to do.  And tell them Jill sent you (wink).
Now that you have a few bargain shopping tips under your proverbial belt, hit the shops to try ‘em out!  As if you need encouragement.  Thanks for joining me on this little journey.  I do hope you’ve found it useful.  Peace out, Savvy Shoppers!  Money Mavericks!  Bargain Babes!  Penny Pinchers! Ok, I’m done now.  For realio.


  1. adding this blog to my list. always in need of style inspiration!

  2. Lovely post! So thoughtful- and I am the person who grabs for $1.50 no matter what sometimes. Thus the piles in my laundry room. Sigh.
    Marie @ Lemondrop ViNtAge

  3. Thanks Harley & Jane for this fun opportunity!