When I started my blog, 100andSouth, around this time last year, I had no idea what I was in for. I promised myself that as long as I was having fun and doing it for my own pleasure, not to please others, it would end up doing just that. And I'm proud to say that (I think!) it has.
My blog's philosophy is quite simple. "Life, liberty and the pursuit of fashionable finds for $100 or less", and I've stuck to it over at 100andsouth.com. But I thought just once - JUST ONCE - I could cheat on my blog and break the budget for Savoir Flair's sake. So for Lindsey's 101st blog post, I decided to profile my top 11 places to shop for a good deal, as demonstrated by some of the goodies I've picked up since I began the quest for 100andSouth.
1. H&M: Rejoice, my NC friends based in the Triangle area! You are now blessed with an H&M at Crabtree. This megastore is easily my favorite place to find beautiful and classic cocktail dresses like the one pictured above for absolutely unbeatable prices. I punched it up with a braided gold belt, also from H&M, and both pieces together cost under $75. Can't beat it!
2. Consignment shops - These diamonds in the rough have quickly become my favorite place to shop. I think it's because I long for that "thrill of the chase" feeling when you're scouring the racks and you find...for example...a red Bottega Veneta pocket book at just $150. This baby would regularly cost around $1,000, so I'd say I did well!
3. Chain retailers - Stores like Ann Taylor, J. Crew and Banana Republic tend to have amazing sales and deals from time to time. I bought those shoes (which seriously look like Loubis without the red sole!) during a buy one, get one half off event. I called Lindsey to see if she wanted a pair in nude, so we bought them together and in turn saved a considerable amount of money. Moral of the story - split your shopping purchases with a friend when you see promotional offers like the one mentioned above.
4. SPANX - I've come to realize the power of a good pair of panty hose. I've found that SPANX tights are the most multifunctional item you can add to your wardrobe. They're warm, they're slimming and they perk up an outfit when you choose them in a fun pattern (like Dotted Swiss one above). What's more is that they only cost about $30 and will last forever!
5. Outlet stores - Head to the outlets, and you'll likely find some of your favorite brands' offerings for 30-40% off of their original price. This J. Crew Bling Button cardigan was recently an additional 30% off on their J. Crew Factory website (their outlet online retail space). Brands like Ralph Lauren, Coach, Nine West, Banana Republic and BCBGMaxAzria are also part of the regular crowd when it comes to outlet malls, and you often can find one or two really great items for loads less than you'd pay in their regular store.
6. Vintage boutiques - Why are vintage items so awesome? Because the items inside are timeless and have lasted years and years while maintaining their shape and glamor. Take this gold clutch for example - just $18 at a vintage boutique, but I've used it on so many special occasions, and it shows no sign of stopping!
7. Online Sample Sale Sites - Praise the Lord for websites like Gilt, Rue La La and HauteLook. Some of my favorite articles of clothing and accessories have been scored by waiting for the clock to strike 11AM (for Rue La La & HauteLook) or 12PM (for Gilt Groupe) and scooping up motherloads of deals. These gold Beirn flats are regularly priced at around $200, but lucky for me, I was able to snag them on HauteLook for $65!
(Adding to the frugality, the cardigan is silk and made by Velvet but was purchased for only $18 at a Labels Resale Boutique in Atlanta. Furthermore, the James Jeans I'm wearing were purchased at a Constance Consignment in Asheville after I used the credit I already had by selling a few items in store, bringing the price of these never worn jeans to just $30.)
8. Target - Rarely will you catch me shopping for clothing at Target. Admittedly, I'm not a huge fan of the regular brands they carry. However, I do get SUPER excited by their GO International designers they feature. This Tucker for Target dress has already served me more times than I can count, and it was only $29.99!
9. Calypso-celle.com - The online boutique of Calypso, this site is paramount for finding the most amazing deals as they often have large sales every 3 to 4 weeks. The bright green cashmere sweater I'm wearing under the dress was regularly $200, but I was able to get it for $40 after I used a promotional code provided to me in their e-mail newsletter!
10. Craiglist - No, it's not just for finding apartments or going on potentially creepy dates. Craigslist can also, from time to time, be the answer to your budget-friendly desires. These Frye boots would normally set me back $300, but I found them on Craigslist for $90. And better yet, they were already broken in!
(Don't worry, the Anthropologie teal wrap sweater was only around $70 and is one of the warmest pieces of clothing I own. However, the Chloe Paddington bag was the ultimate score of 2010. I found it in a consignment shop in Chapel Hill, and I'm guessing they didn't know what they had because the bag was barely over $200. So hot it's stolen!)
11. Your Favorite Store - No matter the price point, you can always find good deals in your favorite store as long as you look hard enough. Be sure to get on their e-mail subscription list so that you will be first to know about in-store events (where discounts are often given) or sales. My necklace, skirt and shoes all came from my favorite boutique, Vermillion, in Raleigh, NC. The Gerard Yosca necklace was very reasonably priced, and I was able to pick up the Balenciaga skirt and Tory Burch shoes for more than 50% off at their end of season sale.
(And yes, you can mix budget with bombshell pieces. Priced at around $30, my collard shirt is from Express, and my black patent leather belt was under $10 at Old Navy!)
I guarantee if you keep your eyes out for the deals, you'll find them. For now, I'll get you started by telling you that there's a 40% off reduction on sale items at Calypso-celle.com by using the code JINGLE10. Anthrolpologie also begins their end of season sale tomorrow (12/21) with 25% off already amazing prices.
Special thanks to Lindsey for letting me be a guest blogger. What an honor! Happy holidays and happy saving to all, and to all a good night!