Black Friday 2011 Tips for Fashion Deals - The Frugalista's Holiday Shopping Guide
We all want to look like fashionistas over the holidays. But in today's tough economy, sometimes we have to achieve that fashion savvy on a frugalista budget.
The good news is that with some intelligent pre-planning, you can spend less and still make a big impact, according to New York City image consultant Vicky Oliver, author of "The Millionaire's Handbook: How to Look and Act Like a Millionaire Even If You're Not."
"Take a good, hard look at your finances and decide on a clothing budget in advance," she says. "Then resolve to stick to it."
Even if it is Black Friday! Here are Oliver's five tips to survive the holidays in style and on a budget:
— Divide and conquer.
In the crush of office parties and holiday merrymaking, it's easy to forget that you don't need a new outfit for each and every occasion. Quality trumps quantity.
It's often smarter to buy one great suit, then split it up to use as separates for various shindigs. Wear the jacket to the boss's Christmas party; the skirt to the client holiday outing and the whole regalia to the theater group's after-party.
Spend more money on fewer quality items and get more mileage from each. You'll receive many more compliments, and your bank account will breathe a sigh of relief.
— Indulge in some free retail therapy.
'Tis the season of the catalog. But even if you can't find anything you love in those glossy pages, never just unceremoniously toss premiere catalogs in the trash.
Today's upscale catalogs are like style Sherpas that can help you put together a fabulous look, which you can simulate elsewhere for less. And unlike personal shoppers, catalogs are very forgiving when you browse for hours — but buy absolutely nothing.
— Wear black.
Coco Chanel once said, "Women think about all colors except the absence of color." Women should listen to Chanel's advice and start considering black a fashion color its own right.
Black hides ten pounds on contact.
This is especially appreciated after a few eggnogs. It also coordinates with every item in your closet and can take you from the office to a festive dinner. Black also hides small stains easily, so it doesn't need to go to the drycleaners as often. Imagine: You'll look smashing and sophisticated — and you won't be taken to the cleaners.
— Follow a compliment.
A compliment is a phrase, offered freely, that is meant to convey how spectacular you look. On principle, be sure to ignore all fawning commentary from sales people and others trying to sell you something. Happily, most sartorial praise is sincere.
If you wear a pink scarf to an event and more than three people approach to tell you how amazing you look, trust that you've stumbled on a flattering shade for your skin tone. And then be sure to bring that scarf with you every time you shop. This way, you'll only spend money on items that truly make you shine.
— Don't be afraid to name your price.
You may not be able to time the sales, but there's nothing preventing you from chatting up a salesperson and telling her what you think would be a reasonable price for a particular item.
Saying, "Would you be kind enough to let me know when that top goes on sale?" will elicit her empathy and possibly even a phone call within the very near future. She might let you in on an excellent pre-sale that's around the corner or a "friends and family" discount day. Befriending a sales person is like having a best friend or aunt who works in the store — the savings and fabulous fashion perks will just keep adding up.
Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association.
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In the photo: A black lace and velvet shift from Laundry by Shelli Segal at Nordstrom.
See Photos: In Fashion Photos & News
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