Thursday, June 28, 2012

The World is my Agora

Like a shark is always swimming, I am always shopping. Not buying, necessarily, but always always looking. I can make a shopping expedition out of a highway truck stop and usually find something useful-here-to-fore-unknown or an addition to my collection of kitschy magnets, souvenir plates, beaded belts and outrageous postcards.

Shopping for fashion is, of course, always the most fun. Alas some forays are slim pickin's in the fashion arena (i.e. flimsy plastic ponchos and trucker hats at previously mentioned truck stop). The following are somewhat offbeat places to consider as you wend your way through the agoras in your life.

Hardware store
While waiting for Mr. Handyman to find the right nut (interpret as you wish), wander through the offerings of chains, ropes, washers, toggles, etc. A little imagination and a pair of pliers can help you create some amazing adornments. It's real brass too, for a fraction of the price you will find in jewelry land. Patronize your local old-fashioned hardware emporioum if you still have one. Besides one-on-one service you will not be stuck buying a 500-count box of brads for your little craft project.

The boys' department
T-shirts! Pajamas! Cool button downs! Socks! Hats! Scarves! Sweaters galore!  Depending on your size you might make that the men's department. No matter; shopping with the boys will get you authentic tomboy looks at a better price.

The girls' department
Once again depending on your size you can pick up trendy fashion pieces or pants that don't need to be hemmed in the girls' department. Ditto pjs and robes. I'm a 2-4 and easily fit girls' 14-16.

Maternity department
Unknowingly I bought the most comfortable tunic top from the maternity department at Target. Well, there were no signs, and I just picked it up while wandering through women's apparel. No matter. I got a kick out of the discovery as when I really was pregnant I prided myself on never buying anything in a maternity department.

Charity resale shops
Depending on the neighborhood, resale shops can offer great buys on fine goods. Housing Works in New York City's Chelsea area is famous for their designer offerings, but I've found Ralph Lauren at my local Salvation Army. Charity resale shops seem to offer lower prices than the for-profit resale shop where goods are offered on consignment by their former owners. Even if the clothes seem outdated but not yet vintage, scour the offerings for good buys in bags, jewelry, scarves and— dare I say?— furs. By the way, I figure if it died 50 years ago PETA won't mind. Bonus: you are of course making a charitable contribution.

The dollar store
Last but not least. A cornucopia of delights just not usually associated with fashion but great for organizing your fashion: cheap cheap cheap plastic storage boxes and bins for bits and baubles, pretty papers for lining shelves, hooks and hangers, reading specs (I hesitate calling them glasses) for every room in the house and every car in the family (ditto sunglasses). Let your imagination be your guide as you walk the aisles.  

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