Sunday, October 01, 2006

DEBUTING TODAY: Guerilla Shopper NYC


For decades I have been keeping my shopping techniques secret. People always ask me, "where did you get that!?" I rarely gave a straight answer because my wardrobe is my signature and I didn't want others to encroach upon my style. But now I'm older, wiser, and more willing to share (this coming from an only child). So you're in luck...the timing is right!

While I make a decent living, I am not independently wealthy by any means. I grew up in a very middle class way (in the 70s and 80s, before 12 year olds got weekly manicures) as the child of midwestern parents, so I'm fairly low key and down to earth. However, my shopping technique has allowed me to own closets and closets full of great pants, shirts, skirts, sweaters, suits, dresses, shoes, boots...without being in any debt...EVER.

Some general tips that have afforded me this fun fashion-filled life include:
- Don't be a label "ho." I know generally which brands are cool and quality, but I don't seek "brands" per se. I have never owned anything Gucci, Prada, or Armani, for example.
- Accessories take a back seat. RECYCLE them! I have lots of belts, bags, and jewelry, but I've had many of them for decades, literally, and have "inherited" many others from family members and friends. Bottom line is I just don't like "purses" that much. Even the word annoys me.
- When you buy something new, get rid of something old. OK, I've been a little bit negligent on this point recently myself, but at least do a major closet purge 2x a year. And make sure that you give your cast-offs to Good Will, the local church, etc. OR plan a clothing swap with friends and share the wealth! I have gotten some great stuff this way - FOR FREE!
- Don't buy it if you don't love it. Otherwise you will be wasting your hard-earned money on garments that don't make you feel great. You need to feel great...everyday - it will make the rest of your life better. I promise.
- Spend money on your hair. "Huh?" you might ask...Again, I promise you. Having great hair will make you feel great AND it will make your clothing look more expensive.

7 comments:

jayfader said...

I can vouch for Ell Ess's astute fashion skills!

Meghan said...

I totallya gree about the hair! 20$ blowouts make you feel rich!
xo
Meg

Anonymous said...

Ell Ess and I go way back...to our 8th grade graduation our group of supposedly "cool" girlfriends all wore some variation of a white lacey dress (not pretty ones, I assure you) while Ell Ess donned a black scoop neck, body hugging, Betsy Johnson dress with bright/bold hot pink and red flowers complete with red spikes (also not "pretty", but oh so cool and wow did she stand out from the rest of us clones!) Even back then she was in a league of her own when it came to fashion. Never afraid to stand out and never happy or willing to conform to what everyone else was wearing. Truly a unique bird. Bravo.

guess who.

Danielle Arceneaux said...

I get my hair cut at a fancy Madison Avenue salon. Totally expensive, but she does a great job. In an effort to save money, I recently went to a cheapie place, figuring that they could do a comparable job. The cheapie hairdresser cut choppy, terrible layers into my hair. I had to go back to my original salon and pay AGAIN to get the job done properly.

So in the end, the cheap route only cost me more money. An expensive haircut is usually worth the money.

El Ess said...

Yes, Danielle, I had a similar experience wherein I got my hair colored - it was much cheaper, but I HATED IT and ended up back at my expensive Soho man within 3 weeks nearly in tears, willing to sign over my 401K for him to fix it...

jamie said...

Is there any place for those of us who are apparel challenged to ask the guerilla questions?
For example, Are converse chuck d's in...can they be worn with formal clothing...what's appropriate?
Lastly, i lopve the cashmere sweater...but it's the quilt/comforter underneath that i am interested in.

El Ess said...

Yes, you may ask the Gorilla questions, the Gorilla encourages such behavior!
You're talking about Chuck Taylor's, correct? They are ALWAYS in, however, I'm not a huge proponent of sneakers and formal wear. But if you feel you HAVE to, chucks are probably the only way to go. Maybe Vans if you're a surfer.
As for the quilt - yes, isn't it lovely? My dear mother picked it up for me a few years ago at the ABC Carpet warehouse in the Bronx methinks!