Extreme Shopping: Good Stuff REALLY Cheap!

Have you seen our May issue yet? It's devoted to consignment, thrift, outlet and auction shopping. Do you know how to get more for less? We found soooooo many bargains...including these that we didn't have room for in the magazine...

When we decided to include a big, fat shopping feature in our May issue, I got a little weak in the knees because that’s totally my thing. I grew up going to country auctions, flea markets, estate sales and outlets, so I’m a bit of a subject-matter expert. And I rarely buy retail, unless it’s a red-tag clearance sale.

As teenagers, my two sisters and I would go to the mall and make a game of finding cool stuff for next to nothing. Then we would proudly load up our shopping bags with brag-worthy buys, head home and put on a "fashion show" for our parents.

So it’s no surprise that, as we were planning this fun issue, I had to mention the amazing Trina Turk trenchcoat ($30) and Juicy Couture cotton top ($5) that I had just snatched up from the Hunt Boutique’s clearance rack in Peapack-Gladstone the week before. Well, those fabulous finds became the inspiration pieces for our $100 woman…a flat "mannequin" I styled to prove that anyone can dress in designer labels like Trina Turk, Kate Spade and Lucky Brand for peanuts. In this case, $98.50, to be exact. Our well-dressed mannequin is on page 47 of the May issue and also here in my little slideshow. (Click the image to the left to reach the slideshow.)

Thanks to Karin Hoffsten, my styling assistant, for riding shotgun with me on a day-long shopping marathon across several counties. We found so many incredible deals that we could barely fit it all into our two-day photo shoot with talented photographer James Worrell. It was a real pleasure collaborating with managing editor Deborah Carter and Art Director Laura Baer on this New Jersey Monthly shopping issue, one of my all-time faves.

Remember my mantra the next time you scour discount, consignment and thrift stores: It might not be perfect, but it can still be perfect for you. And that’s exactly why we love finding Brooks Brothers’ men’s shoes for $3, a funky lucite necklace for $10 and a vintage rattan settee for $40. Nothing beats the thrill of the hunt!

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