December 26, 2011

Frugal fashion for New Year’s

When the call went out for readers who consider themselves bargain shoppers to come up with a great outfit for New Year’s Eve, the catch was this: You couldn’t spend more than $20.12 for the outfit you’ll wear to ring in 2012.

The entries started arriving, mostly by e-mail. The outfits ranged from evening gowns to bright mini skirts. It was sure fun, and you can see all of the entries in a photo gallery at

The judges had such a tough time deciding on only one winner in each category, resale and retail, that they decided on a tie in each one. Here are the winners!

Retail category

Mattie Murphy, a sophomore at East High, spent $17.46. A pale pink peasant top with long sleeves was $7 at JCPenney, and her black skirt with silver flecks was $10.46 from PacSun. She bought her boots at a garage sale for 50 cents.

Murphy says she would indeed consider herself a bargain shopper. She was really happy when she found the blouse at Penney’s.

Here are some bargain shopping tips from Mattie: Go to the sales at the end of a season and buy for the next year.

“You can get as much as 80 percent off. Also, use coupons that you can get in the newspaper, in e-mails and online.”

Jenifer Sauer, a stay-at-home mom, said bargain shopping gives her a “rush.”

“I love bargain shopping, even if you don’t find something,” she said. “The hunt is fun.”

Sauer purchased her one-shoulder dress at Von Maur for $12.88, which was 75 percent off the original price. She bought her necklace from Charlotte Russe for $1.06, which brought her outfit to $13.94. She got her shoes at a DAV resale store for $4.81.

Some tips from Jenifer: Remember to shop in juniors if your size permits. Typically, junior clothes are priced lower than women’s. And check the sales racks when you first enter a store.

Resale category

Bianca Tyler, writer and author of the blog “Little White Mouse,” loves fashion and shopping.

“Especially when I find a great bargain,” she said. She says she nearly jumped up and down when she spotted a black velvet jumpsuit at the Value Center on Douglas for $1.98.

“And it was in perfect condition,” she said.

The black leather belt she found at A Legacy Antique Mall was $2, and the black leather peep-toe shoes were from a Goodwill store for $6. Grand total: $9.98.

“Ready for New Year’s Eve for under 10 bucks!” she said.

Tips from Bianca: Look for more vintage pieces than “used.”

Look for prints in fabrics or a color that speak to you.

Look to current fashions you love for inspiration.

Keep the classics in mind. A classic blazer or pencil skirt are always in style but can be pricey. Thrifting is the perfect way to find these when you’re on a budget.

Agape Camden, 15, a Derby High School student, says she likes to shop resale stores because “regular stores have too much all the same stuff.”

Agape got her dress, $6.75, sweater, $1.92, and purse, 95 cents, at Goodwill. She purchased her shoes for $1.98 and necklaces and earrings for 99 cents each. The grand total was $14.22, which included tax.

Some tips from Agape: Give resale shops a try. Once you wear it once, it’s worn. A lot of clothes at these stores have never been worn.

Remember that buying used clothing is good for environment because you’re recycling something.

You’ll have more fun when the merchandise is more one-of-a-kind.

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