Don't Buy That Yet

If you've been a regular reader of Spashionista Report you know that I love a good bargain and I hardly ever pay retail for anything. Now, it's obvious to any smart shopper that you go for the places, sites, and items that are on sale. But did you know that there are actually optimal months, even days of the week, to buy certain things? No? Well, let me clue you in on a strategy that can save you lots of money. Let me elevate your retail IQ.

• January is filled with post-holiday sales, clearances, and closeouts.

• February is the best time to buy winter shoes, boots, socks and tights. Lingerie is typically on sale as Valentine's Day approaches.

• March is denim discount month. Buy your jeans now. Small electronics like DVD players and iPods see a price drop this month as well. If you need luggage this is the month to pick it up.

• April brings us big spring clothing sales, especially women's and girl's dresses and shoes. Computers can also be had for less this month.

• May sees a resurgence in lingerie sales as well as athletic clothing and shoes. Swinmwear begins to be marked down while inventory is still plentiful. Jewelry is deeply discounted for Mother's Day.

• June heralds in the men's clothing and power tool sales in honor of Father's Day.

• July is a prime month to buy a bag or a swimsuit. Men's shoes go on sale, too.

• August ushers in all the back to school sales - which include sales tax holiday weekends in some states. Coats and cosmetics can also be had on the cheap.

• September sees another big price decrease for jeans. Fall fashions are unveiled at sale prices, and gardening supplies are on clearance this month.

• October is the best time to do some early holiday shopping. The weekend before Halloween typically sees big sales on clothing and computers.

• November marks the cornucopia of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales - which are starting earlier every year. If you're going to take advantage of have a list and a budget with you before you dive in. If you need a sweater this is the month to buy one.

• December brings the lowest toy and children's clothes prices yet along with the usual holiday sales. After Christmas holiday decorations are deeply discounted, as is any inventory that didn't sell by December 25th. The last week of December marks the lowest clothing prices of the year.

Need more help? According to ShopItToMe.com, a San Francisco company that analyzes more than 750,000 sales items a year from more than 200 online retailers:

• Mondays: Shoppers can save nearly 50% on men’s and women’s dress pants, and about 55% on sunglasses.

• Tuesdays: Expect to save more than 40% on men’s apparel.

• Wednesdays: Shoppers save about 40% on shoes and children’s clothes.

• Thursdays: Save 36% on handbags.

• Fridays: Pay 42% less for jewelry, belts and scarves.

• Saturdays: Lingerie (37% off) and jackets/outerwear (51% off).

• Sundays: Swimsuits (52% off).

There is a bit of fluidity in these categories that may vary from region to region within the US, but this should give you a framework to start shopping more strategically and intelligently.

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Fashion Friday: The Aftermath

Everyone knows the week between Christmas and New Year's Day is the best time to shop if you want to stretch your cash. It's also a great time to celebrate the end of the season - and the year.

At my house after Christmas sales are an extension of the holiday. I can shift the focus from getting the perfect gift for someone else to getting the best deals for myself. It also means Mr Spashionista and I can take in a movie or tuck into a cozy meal while we're out and about. Since we always celebrate New Year's Eve at home - where my attire is decidedly casual - I thought I would show you what I wore for my post-Christmas discount tour.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

It was cold - mid-thirties and overcast cold - so I had to be sure the outfit I picked was warm enough to counter the weather, versatile enough to allow me to negotiate crowded stores in my chair, and fashionable enough to be noticed, in a good way.

Let's start with the gorgeous acrylic pencil skirt from Forever 21 in shades of royal blue, raspberry, lemon, and black. The blue cashmere Cynthia Rowley cowl necked sweater is from last year's Black Friday at Stein Mart. Yes, the Baccini jacket should look familiar by now. It's actually very warm, ultra-feminine, and picks up the berry tones in the skirt so it was the logical choice for today. The Chinese Laundry black tights were a must given the chilly temps, but I couldn't resist the blue sequin oxfords from Shi as a a little dash of New Year's sparkle.

Did you find something amazing in the post holiday aftermath?

Next month I'll tell you what I got and give you some pointers for shopping in 2013.

Spashionistas Wanted

The outfits that I put together for Fashion Friday are based on my BODS profile. Sure, some of the items I use are beyond my price range but I’m certain I can find reasonable equivalents within my budget. I would love the opportunity to put some together for you for the next installment of Fashion Friday. If you’re interested email me with your BODS profile and we’ll make it happen!

Fashion Friday: Holiday Shopping

Holiday shopping can actually be fun if you do it right, and that starts with wearing the right outfit for the task at hand.

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It's really important to be comfortable if you're shopping for bargains and fighting the crowds, but you don't have to sacrifice style for comfort.

I find wearing layers easier than trying to juggle a bulky coat or jacket along with a bunch of bags. Start with a pair of jeggings, these are Oasis animal print in oxblood. Pair it with a long-sleeved sweater (or lighter weight tee if weather permits) like this white basketweave cowl neck. Add a black sweater with cable knit front,  oversized neck and sleeves, and front buckle detail. If it gets too warm you can always take it off and tuck it into this classic backpack. Finally, I can't get enough of this year's studded trend, and these taupe studded combat boots are perfect for an all day mall stomp.

This outfit is suitable for just about anyone, disabled or not, but I've chosen to highlight a Tru-Motion walking cane as the "disabled accessory" of the week. Now go forth and shop 'til you drop!

Spashionistas Wanted

The outfits that I put together for Fashion Friday are based on my BODS profile. Sure, some of the items I use are beyond my price range but I’m certain I can find reasonable equivalents within my budget. I would love the opportunity to put some together for you for the next installment of Fashion Friday. If you’re interested email me with your BODS profile and we’ll make it happen!

Fashion Friday: A Union Station Thanksgiving

Last week I told you I'd be going out for Thanksgiving dinner. Here's where I went.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

This is Nashville's historic Union Station. It was built in 1900 and, according to wikipedia, was, "to serve the passenger operations of the eight railroads then providing passenger service to Nashville." The trains don't stop here anymore but the station was converted into a hotel in the 1980's and remains a downtown landmark The restaurant in the hotel is called Prime 108 and this year they offered the following Thanksgiving buffet to a select number of people.

I'm not exaggerating when I say this was hands down the best Thanksgiving dinner I've ever eaten. The descriptions on the menu don't even begin to do the food justice. I consider myself to be an above average cook and I couldn't come close to replicating this meal. We have enough leftovers to last for several more days.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

As you can see I did "dress to the nines" for the occasion, but my dinner was more expensive than my outfit.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

I decided to go neutral - rare for me, I know, but it was unseasonably warm so I had the perfect outfit. The cream and lace pencil skirt is from Forever 21 and it set me back $19.80. The black beaded Ann Taylor sweater is several years old, as are the XAppeal shoes. I bought the sweater on clearance for $11.99 and the modified Mary Janes for $19.99. The string of pearls are the genuine article, having been purchased in Majorca, Spain almost 30 years ago, and the bracelet is from last month's stop at the St Louis Hard Rock Cafe - located in their Union Station.

I am incredibly thankful for my loving and supportive husband who has been by my side through the bad and good and everything in between. I'm also thankful for each and every one of you that read this blog, follow my tweets, pin from my boards, and put up with my ramblings. I appreciate you all more than you'll ever know, and I hope you had lots to be thankful for this year.

In two weeks I cook the monster meal. But, in the meantime, let the shopping begin! I'm gearing up for Black Friday and I'll share my experiences with you - if I survive!

I've got something special planned for next week. Who wants to see a music video featuring a musical performance and video clips all by your favorite Spashionista? You do? Then tune in on Cyber Monday for my multimedia debut.

It's A Cinch To Pinch Those Pennies

Last week I promised to share with you where I found the bottoms in this picture.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

I got these jeans at a thrift store for $4.98. In fact, I purchased everything you see below at one of three thrift stores I periodically pillage.

For my fellow disabled Spashionistas and anyone on a tight budget or a fixed income secondhand stores can be a boon. You're letting somebody else pay full price for a garment that has the potential to make you look fabulous when you score it for a lot less money. There are obvious downsides to the thrift store experience. You have to be willing to wade through a sea of so-so clothing to find that rare piece that's perfect for you. You also have to be willing to have it altered if it's a close fit.

Take these jeans, for example. These happen to be Nine West and fit me perfectly except for the length.

Given the fact that I'm on the short end of petite I expect any pants I find are going to be too long. I paid $6.98 for the jeans and another $9 to have them hemmed (you didn't really think I could sew, did you?). For around $16 I have name brand jeans that fit like a glove. The Westbound Petite I'm wearing in the photo above, along with a pair of Old Navy Sweetheart Jeans purchased for $5.98, are the only pants I've bought that didn't need to be taken up.

Other notable summer tops include the pink One World ombre  for $3.99; the RXB turquoise embellished tunic, also $3.99.

The black and white "mystery"  label-removed tunic for $2.98.

The gorgeous Ilyse Hart LTD black pencil skirt with white lace looks like a million bucks but only cost me $3.99! The third black and white item is a Sangria dress that I purchased for $5.99.

Fall picks start with the Sarah Arizona Petite dark sage top for $4.99 and the Worthington Petite black wrap top at $3.99.

This Ann Taylor Loft grey fringe wool skirt with appliqued flowers was a steal at $8.98.

Winter clothes are hard to find secondhand. This is especially true for sweaters that can't be altered and tend to arrive at the thrift store stretched, snagged, or pilled. When I find a great sweater I pounce on it. Take these two for instance. The white is a Raphaella angora/lambswool blend for $7.98. The pink Valerie Stevens is cashmere and set me back $10.99.

By my calculations that's a total of $84.81, including the $9 alteration fee, for 13 items. That averages out to $6.52 per piece. Is there any sceneario by which this does not qualify as awesome?

Please excuse the quality of these photos - I lent my photography rig to Vogue magazine. They promised to have it back in time for this shoot but, well, you know how that goes!

What's your best thrift store/charity shop/consignment boutique find?