Shopping

By P.J. Gach

Before you hit a store, go online, walk through a flea market, etc., keep in mind the basic rules of fashion before you drop those dimes.

Some experts say that there are a zillion fashion rules that you must live by and observe throughout your life. There’s only two rules that you really should live by: one-stay away from white hose and pumps-you’ll look like a nurse. Secondly and most importantly — be fearless. Don’t be afraid to mix things up in fashion and in life. If something looks good on you, works for you and makes you happy-do it!

You can mix up inexpensive and pricey pieces and look wonderful. You can express yourself through your clothes; you can be anything you want to be. Here’s a fashion example for you-Recently went on a date and I wore a pair of Mudd jeans, Miu Miu heels, a Zara tank top and over that a Castelbajac cowboy shirt open as a jacket. Everything meshed together and looked great. One of the secrets about throwing different things together is to make sure the finishings are well done. What’s a finishing? It’s the way an item is hemmed, sewn and detailed. An inexpensive pair of jeans if finished well can take you to the East End as easily as it can take you to the dog run. Conversely an expensive item that is shoddily finished isn’t worth buying because it won’t have legs; it’ll just fall apart on you. So, always take a look at the workmanship of an item and be fearless!

We all love a bargain; I mean do you really want to pay retail? Thought not! Sample sales happen every day and not all of them are zoo experiences. Yes, you can wait patiently for Daily Candy to send you a huge list of them or you can sign up for daily emails for sample sales where you get incredible deals and not feel crushed. Here’s a list of people who churn out great sample sale information for you.

Clothing Linehttp://www.clothingline.com and sign up for their emails. They’ve had sample sales form men, women and children. Some of the brands they’ve had sales for include Tocca (sigh, sigh), Diesel, Kooba, Alice + Olivia and the list goes on. Sales are held at 261 W36th Street, second floor. Between 7th and 8th Avenues.

Top Button/NY Salehttp://www.topbutton.com will send you emails about sample sales, blow out and clearance sales for everything from house wares to spas. They’ll even let you know about great sales on the web.

Lazar Shoppinghttp://www.lazarshopping.com will send you emails about sample sales, fabulous sales in stores and an occasional (mailed) invite to an event. I’ve gotten a few invitations for private showings that had free food and drink. Yum! Yum!
Here are two excellent discount websites that I’ve just got to share with you!

Shop Bophttp://www.shopbop.com is a nifty website that has discounts on Juicy, Blue Cult and other fashion must haves.

Edress mehttp://www.edressme.com. Wow! Loads of yummy discounts on clothing from designers like BCBG, A.B.S., Plenty and other hot brands.

Let’s get off the ‘Net and back into the joys of stores. You must, must, must I repeat must go to the Bronx. No, I’m not crazy – the shopping district on Fordham Road is to die for! The Shopping District is one long strip on Fordham Road and spills a bit onto the Grand Concourse. You’ll find incredible deals on almost everything for the house as well as clothes.

It’s very easy to get to; by subway or train, you can take the D or the 4 or Metro North to the Fordham Road stop. For car directions, I’d suggest using an online mapper like http://www.mapquest.com or http://www.yahoo.com.

There are so many shops there that I can only give you the highlights. You’ll have fun discovering “your stores” on your own.
Need linens? Check out Legacy Home Fashions 2510-12 Grand Concourse, open Monday thru Saturday 9:30 to 7:30 PM. Sunday 11 AM to 6:30 PM. Egyptian cotton sheet sets start at $19.99 for twin. They’ve got everything from linen sprays $7.99 to shower curtains $10.00 and up, to rugs.

The Goodwill Thrift Shop at 52 W. Fordham Road (718) 733-2458. Open 10 am to 8 PM Monday thru Saturday, Sunday 11AM to 6 PM. Is a cornucopia of brand new and nearly new clothes. Brands sighted were Polici, Iceberg, Theory, Mavi, Banana Republic, Anne Taylor, Ralph Lauren, Armani Jeans, I.N.C. Nordstrom and more. While some of the clothes are higher priced, the basic unit price for some of clothing is as follows; pants $4.99, Jeans $6.99, Blouses $4.49, Mens suits $16.99, Ladies suits $11.99, kids clothes $2.49 – $3.99. Every week they run a 50% off sale on different colored tags. You may not know this, but they always get brand new household items and clothing from Target that are heavily discounted.

When you walk into El Mundo Gigante, 1-9 Jerome Ave (corner of Jerome and Fordham) (718) 367-8596. Monday thru Saturday 9:30AM to 7:30PM, Sunday 10 Am to 7PM-You’ll think you’ve walked into the motherlode. Not only can you pick up Colgate toothpaste for $1.99, a Goldstar 5,000 BTU air conditioner for $102, you can pick up Diesel jeans for $40.00, FUBU two for $35.00, Rampage lingerie sets $6.99, Ralph Lauren thongs $4.99, Fendi tees 2 for $25, Armani Exchange tees $9.50 each and shoes! OH MY GOD THE SHOES! Most shoes are $12.99 or two for $25.00 and the brands-Anne Klein, Glory Chen, Anne Marino, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, L.E.I., Charles David, David Aaron, Carlos by Carlos Santana, Rockport, Life Stride, Steve Madden and more. I saw a pair of Coach espadrilles for $40.00. They were the highest priced shoes on the rack.

When I walked into the shop there were four bins full of clothes. The handwritten sign above said “Macy’s 2 for $10.” Women were standing in the bins pulling out merchandise. Brands included BCBG, Shelli Segal for Laundry, I.N.C. and more! It was insane. Everything from XS to 3X. Some stuff needed zippers replaced, some stuff was fine and some would be great dishrags.

There are so many steals that I can’t write them all, my fingers would fall off in the process. El Mundo Gigante has a shop in Manhattan-I have no idea if this is a good or bad thing-located at 3300 Broadway between 133 & 134 Streets (212) 234-6387, same hours as the Bronx shop. There I saw Lilly Pulitzer, Ralph Lauren, Aqua, BCBG dresses and separates for $17.50. Jantzen swim separates $5.00 2 for $10.00. YEE!! Many of the Bronx bargains are the same as the Manhattan ones, but I felt that the Bronx shop had a better selection of shoes.
Be warned-El Mundo Gigante doesn’t have dressing rooms, but they will let you return the items.

Hankering for Milly, Marni, Tocca, Lilly or J.Lo and you don’t want to pay full price? Check out Right On 124 W. Fordham Road (718) 367-5110. Hours 10 AM to 8 PM Monday thru Saturday, Sunday 12 to 6:45 PM. Really cute corset purses are $12.00. A Nicky Hilton styled 7 bag was $15.99, Copies of the above mentioned designers and more range from 10.00 and up. There was a terry cloth strapless tube dress that looks just like you know who and it was only $10.00, on sale from $12.99. Playboy Jeans $19.99. J.Lo inspired jumpsuits $19.99. All the latest trends are in the shop; from eyelet to pucciesque prints. They carry shoes, plus sizes and having a dressing room. They even do layaway-so if you want an excuse to keep coming back to them?

Pretty Girl has a few shops up and down on Fordham Road. The one we went to is at the corner of Fordham Road and the Grand Concourse. (718) 329-2736. Hours Monday thru Thursday 10 AM to 8 PM, Friday and Saturday 9:30 AM to 8PM and Sunday 10:30 AM to 7 PM. Pick up summer basics like tank tops three for $10.00, swimsuits range from $8.00 to $20.00. Adorable denim mini skirts $8.00. Cotton blend halter dresses that you swore were Trina Turk $10.00. Walk around the shop and swoon, you’ll see all the latest styles that you swore were some hotshot designer for like $12.00 and under! They also carry Ecko Red, Mudd and a few other popular brands. Styles range from Urban to girly Lillis. There are even cute two piece summer jammies that are two for $10.00.

My poor shopping buddy was exhausted and delirious by the 30th store. Did I mention the incredible deals with all those street vendors?? No? Oh gosh-belts for $3.00, sunglasses for $5.00. We decided that we had to eat. So we walked over to Arthur Avenue-it’s the Little Italy of the Bronx. Found a great open air restaurant where we people watched and expanded our waistlines. Check out the Arthur Avenue Café, 2329 Arthur Avenue (718) 562-0129. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their cappuccinos are all the dessert you need. All I can say about the portions is that they were bigger than our heads.

Who says looking glamorous should be expensive? Not Eyes. Lips. Face. also known as ELF. http://www.eyeslipsface.com has scrumptious, luxurious cosmetics that contain sunscreen, cornsilk and aromatherapy? $1.00 each! Insane I know! The line was developed by Scott Vincent Barba (President) and Joseph Shamah( CEO and founder). Scott has worked with Hard Candy, Neutrogena for Men, Shiseido and others as a marketing and product development whiz. Joseph is an international business whiz who decided that women need to have a quality line of cosmetics at an affordable price.

The line is based on problem/solution formulas. The lipsticks/glosses have an SPF 15. The pressed powder contains salicylic acid to heal skin. Most products are scented; the soothing lip gloss contains peppermint and eucalyptus-tastes wonderful and the scent is so calming. The packaging is adorable and having road tested the eye shadow, I can tell you that it doesn’t fade or crease. The eye pencils come with their own sharpener, you can’t get that with a $35.00 pencil.

Proceeds from the line support charities. In October 2004 (Breast Cancer Awareness Month) they will donate 20% of the proceeds from their Shimmering facial whip sales to WINABC (Win Against Breast Cancer) and create and donate special cosmetic care packages that WINABC will distribute to Inner City Hospitals.

Right now you can buy the Eyes.Lips.Face online or at selected Drug Fairs in New Jersey. A little later on in the year they’re going to be in stores all across the country. This is a cosmetic line that will revolutionize the way you look at cosmetics. Why? Because here’s a line that heals the skin, helps you look wonderful, terrific quality and it’s a buck a piece.

Funky Jewelry by Ellen DW is a cool trendy line of jewelry that can only (sigh) be found in street fairs. Her necklaces have wild medallions that look like they came from a 70’s jewelry box on either silk, cord or rubber chains – $2.00, Lucite rings $1.00, cuffs in a variety of colors, styles and fabrics $2.00. Everything from romantic to Pop Art. Send her an email at ellendw@yahoo.com to find out where she and her yummies will be next.

Okay, last month I promised you where you can find Ferragamo, Perlina and Furla purses for $8.00 . Thing is, if I tell you please leave some stuff for me.

Check out the Salvation Army, 69 Spring Street, Manhattan (212)925-1909. Recent sightings include Max Mara, Ralph Lauren and Versace women’s suits for $13.99, Gucci sandals for $8.99, Diesel jeans for $9.99,Miu Miu for $3.99. The stuff is every changing, so you may want to go more than once a week. Bring a friend-this way you can divide and conquer. No dressing rooms, so be prepared to try over your clothes or wear a skirt if you want to try on pants. Lots of great deals for men, house wares and kids too!

Originally published July 2004
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