April 8, 2009

Making the most of hard times: A few easy, frugal tricks can help you to look stylish for less

{from the April 8th edition of the South Bend Tribune. Story appeared on the front page.}

Making the most of hard times: A few easy, frugal tricks can help you to look stylish for less

Thrift stores often hold wardrobe gems.

Fourth of seven partsKathy Friend Wardrobe consultantBristol-based fashion aficionado Kathy Friend can cite many ways to "stretch" your existing wardrobe. "Reorganize your closet," she said. "Put all your shirts, pants, skirts together. ... It's like merchandising in a store." You'll find pieces you had forgotten you have.

Her advice
"Every wardrobe stylist has a list of 10 must-haves," she said. Hers includes a pair of black dress pants, a nice skirt, a pair of good-fitting jeans, a jacket and a white blouse. With these "bones," as she calls them, "you can go casual or business professional."

Friend admits she's a thrift-shop convert. "For someone who needs to look professional, someone whose out of work, but interviewing, look through thrift shops," she said. "I've frankly been surprised by what I've found at Goodwill (stores)."

Also, keep an open mind when it comes to sizing, she said. Rather than passing by a nice pair of dress pants that are a size too big, consider buying them and have them altered to fit you.

"If the bones of your wardrobe are good, accessorizing is another way to stretch your closet," Friend said. "A lot of local artists make phenomenal jewelry" that's priced economically. "And, high-end designers are (increasingly) partnering with retailers like Target to offer designer looks at lower prices.

"For hair care, Friend also has some advice. "I admit I've had to cut back," she said. But rather than totally ditch a great stylist, consider buying fewer services. "Everything they do at a salon has a price. ... You can leave with wet hair and save money."

— Staff writer Kim Kilbride

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