Flashback Friday: Recessionista Diaries

I’ll be honest.  I find great joy in scoring a great deal on a pair of shoes, a new piece of clothing or a great accessory.  I certainly have no problem paying for quality items, but honestly, I LOVE a good deal!

A few years ago, on one of my predecessor blogs, Barbie’s Dream House, I shared all of my insider tips on scoring the best deals on clothing, shoes and accessories.  The post is from 2009, so it might be a little dated (i.e. gladiator sandals are still all over the place, but the platform version? Not so much).  However, the tips and tricks are applicable whether it’s 1909, 2009 or 2029.

I hope you enjoy today’s Flashback Friday post and can find some joy the next time you score a great deal on an item you love!  And don’t forget to take a moment to check out the other Flashback Friday posts over on Chasing Joy!

Your Chic is Showing,

Recessionista Diaries: You Are What You Wear

Sorry, but you are. There is no way around it. I realize that it’s petty, superficial and probably makes me a horrible person for thinking it . . . but it’s still true. If it wasn’t true, then we wouldn’t have to wear suits to interviews, look fly for a first date and there would be no such thing as designer anything. So yeah – like I said, you are what you wear. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way – I’m here to help you look fabulous for less. After all, we’re all in this Recessionista chic lifestyle together. And actually, it’s probably not a bad way to live in general. And, you know I’m a fan of designer duds at discount prices, so I’m going to share all of my tips and tricks with you.


No surprise here, I’m a complete clothes whore (or “woman of the night” if you prefer). I’m a bigger shoe and purse whore, but, I’m a clothes whore none the less. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve got a crap load of clothes. I fill my walk-in closet, my second closet, a dresser and an armoire. I know, it sounds excessive, but I score most of my stuff (even designer) on the cheap. Here’s how:

bcbg1-5544486dtOnline deals and steals. I belong to a plethora of online sites that do everything from scour in the internet for the latest sales, deals and steals to provide online sample sales. My three favorites are: Shop It To Me, Rue La La and Editor’s Closet. Shop It To Me is a fantastic site that is like your own personal shopper. You sign up, provide your size, favorite brands and styles and let the site do all the work. Twice weekly (or more often if you choose) you get an e-mail that lists all of the great online deals you can get. And it’s everything from clothes, to shoes to handbags. This site is awesome because it does all of the dirty work for you – sifting through department store websites, designer’s sites and discount sites – to only show you brands, styles and sizes that suit you. Rue La La and Editor’s Closet are online sample sales. I’m not sure if you’ve ever attended a sample sale, but you can get designer clothes and accessories (think Nicole Miller, French Connection, Anne Klien, Rock and Republic, etc.) for a fraction of their retail price. I’m talking designer pieces for 60, 70 and 80 percent off. Catch my drift? You need to sign up. Like yesterday.

Outlets, Now if you know anything about me, you know I’m a fan of a good outlet. It’s hard to beat the great clothes at a fraction of the cost. There are some things you should know about outlet shopping:

  • If it’s not more than 30% off, it’s not a deal (this is actually for anything clearance or sale – at the regular store or outlet). The typical mark-up on most retail items is 30%. So at a 30% discount, you’re really only paying wholesale.
  • Just because it is discounted, doesn’t mean you need to buy it. If it doesn’t fit, or is going to require more than some slight tailoring (changing a hemline, a new zipper, etc.) don’t get it. Most sales are final, and you don’t want to spend a bunch of money fixing something you got on the cheap.
  • Buy during the off season. My friends will tell you – I buy fall and winter clothes in the summer. It’s how I get the best deals. Don’t believe me? That’s why I save the tags (no really). I’m happy to show you my $399 coat that I got for $90 (that fabulous BCBG frock I mentioned in an earlier post) or my cashmere sweater dress originally $499 that I copped for $50 (Michael Kors). Yeah – I bet you’ll start trying on sweaters in July too. You’re welcome.
  • Try it on there. Like I said earlier, most sales are final, so you’ll be upset and annoyed if you buys something that doesn’t fit and you can’t return it.

Get Basics Cheap. Yes, I will spend a pretty penny on a clothing item that I really, really like. But I also have no problem copping the basics from a place like Target, Old Navy, Ross or Forever 21. Let’s face it, a camisole is a camisole whether it came from Target, Gap or Nordstroms. In fact, Target usually has camis in all the basic colors for around $4-8 a pop. Compare that to $24 at Nordstrom and you catch my drift. White tees are another thing you should get on the cheap. Pretty much anything that is a wardrobe stable but also simple can be purchased inexpensively. Think about what you wear lots of, but don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on. For me, it’s socks and tank tops. I get all mine from Target and I’m proud of it. And almost all of my tees (plain and graphic) come from Old Navy.


I think we’ve established that I have a ton, ton, ton of shoes! Although I do have a few expensive pairs, most were incredibly reasonably priced or downright cheap . . . here’s how I do it.

Buy Trendy on the Cheap. OK, yes, peep toe ankle boots were all the rage this season and really, really cute. Shoot, I even got myself a pair. But really, what are the odds that these shoes being in style come next Christmas? Probably slim to none. Same goes for the gladiator platforms I’m currently coveting and a plethora or other shoes we saw strutting down the runways in September and February. Let’s be real – if it’s not a classic style (pump, ballet flat, etc) it’s probably not going to be around forever. So what’s the point in spending large sums of money on something that will be “out” in 6 months? Right, there isn’t one. Instead, cop the shoes from Target, Payless (which has stepped up it’s game immensely), Kohl’s, Ross or Marshalls. And don’t sleep – a lot of these places either have famous designers designing for them (Isaac Mizrahi for Target or Vera Wang for Kohls) or carry top brand shoes (Betsey Johnson and Steve Madden at Ross and Marshalls). So you’re getting the real deal for much, much less.

DSW. DSW is seriously a shoe fiend’s paradise. When I walk in I go straight to the clearance section. Let me give you a tip – we all know DSW shows youbetsey-6730_linen_white_l the four color tags and what they mean (Blue = 30% off, Green/40, Purple/50, etc.). But, when you’re in the clearance section look for the yellow tags. That’s immediately what I go for. Yellow tagged items are 80% off the DSW price (which is typically less than retail). Yesterday, I saw a beautiful pair of black coach pumps on sale for $40. They were originally $200+. Catch my drift? The shoes in clearance are usually gorgeous (with a few misses) and are always a steal! Don’t believe me? Feel free to come check out the $234 worth of shoes I copped for $40 yesterday. Right.

Invest in Repairs. We know that in this economy we can’t afford to just run out and buy a new pair of shoes whenever we please. So invest in shoe repair. It’s cheaper in the long run. Aldo used to fix their shoes for free. I’m not sure if they still offer this service, but it’s certainly worth checking out. You can get the heel of a shoe fixed for as little as $5. Doesn’t that beat buying a new pair of pumps? Trust me, you and your wallet will thank me later.


Bag, Borrow or Steal. This website (www.bagboroworsteal.com) was probably made even more popular by all the screen time during “Sex and the City: The Movie.” But it was the ish before then. Here, you can rent designer (like Hermes!) handbags for a fraction of what they cost in real life. If you fall in lurve with one, you can also buy it. There are various membership levels and a lot of bags cost around $60 to rent for the month (compared to $500+ purchase price). That’s a great price for a Louis if you ask me. I’m just saying . . .

hermes-vintage-crocodile-kelly-handbag_12084_front_zoomBeg, Borrow or Steal Re Duex. I don’t really mean steal. I just mean beg and borrow from your girlfriends or family. My mom used to be a purse person, but now she isn’t. Before she got rid of her stuff, I asked if I could go through the goods. What I found was a vintage (circa 1983 so maybe not that vintage) Gucci purse. My mother barely knows how to say Gucci, but she had his purse. I’ve had friends come in my closet and find some obscure handbag I totally forgot I had. I usually have no problem giving it away. Same goes for jewelry, belts, etc. My mom has a bunch of jewelry and sometimes she just gives it to me when I go home. Other times I have to beg, borrow or steal (just kidding – kind of) it.

Vintage. Don’t sleep on thrift stores. You can seriously score a ton of great stuff on the low low. Everything from beautiful antique looking brooches, to cool wide belts to wear around your cardigan. Check out your local thrift shop or Salvation Army for great steals and deals.

So, my dear readers, what do you think? Are you going to give any of these a try? Which do you already do? Have any other tips to share? Can’t wait to read them!


Recessionista Chic Barbie

2 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: Recessionista Diaries

  1. Stopping by from FBF on Chasing Joy, but I do already subscribe to your blog so I”m sure its in the many emails I have yet to get to but I love this post. I to believe that you should pay full price on NOTHING 🙂 I definitely have to give the thrift shopping a try and I never heard of Editor’s Closet but I’m now signed up. I also recommend Ideeli, I’ve been on their site for a few years now and they have a great variety of things from inexpensive to highly coveted designers like Chanel 🙂 Portero Luxury (http://www.portero.com) is also a nice site to buy gently used designer bags 🙂 I have my eyes on a few bags but have yet committed until I pay some of my debt down 🙂

    Great Post!

    <3 arelis

    1. I will definitely be checking out Portero! Sounds wonderful. And hey, I totally understand about getting your debt together. Healthy finances are always in style!!!

Comments are closed.