By P.J. Gach


We all want to look fabulous, but we don’t want to break the bank doing it. There are silly things like rent, food, and utilities that just can’t be ignored. In the interest of science, I did some research and found ways to look fantastic and still keep your apartment. I’ve got tons of secrets, and every month I’ll share what I know and pass it on to you. Hey, we fashionable guys and gals have got to stick together.

Eyeglasses can really wreck your budget. What if I told you that you could buy a pair of really stylish glasses complete with your prescription for only $39.00?

You’d ask what drugs I was taking, right? Okay, I’m not kidding about this, has eyeglasses for the entire family. It even has a PDF file called “smart fit” that allows you to download a picture of the frame of your choice. Cut it out; slap it on your face and viola! You can see what they’d look like if you bought them. All glasses have UV protection, scratch coating, come with a hard case, light and thin prescription lenses and are 100% guaranteed.

You can buy transition lenses, colored lenses – they even have varilux! Of course if you add on the goodies, the price does go up. My prescription is very steep, yet when I priced the transition lenses (they go darker when it’s brighter outside) the entire package was only $88.00

Also, the customer support is amazing. When a friend of mine ordered from them and spoke to a customer service rep, she found out that the frames would be too big for her face. The rep helped her find a better-fitting pair. She looked adorable in them.

It’s late at night, you’re hungering for a pair of Sevens or was it a pair of Jimmy Choos? Anyway, the stores are closed and paying retail bites! You could surf around on eBay, but if you get into a bidding war with another buyer, you may end up paying more than what you wanted to originally. Stay on the net, but point and click on over to Christabelle’s Closet is an online consignment shop where not only can you get a great deal – Seven jeans for $70, Gucci wedge heels for $98, or a Nanette Lepore dress for $90 – you can also consign your fashion oops to the shop. There’s everything from accessories to formal wear and clothing in every size. I heard a rumor that there’s going to be a children’s department by the end of the summer.

Christabelle’s Closet was created by one of the nicest fashionistas around, Miss Christabelle herself. She started the store for two reasons. One: She just loves to shop and wanted to pass along her amazing finds to the rest of us. Two: Ever since her Mom was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, she’s been raising money to help find a cure. That’s why a portion of the clearance closet goes to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s disease.

It’s one of the cutest sites on the web. Christabelle’s Closet has charming and whimsical pictures, easy navigation, and cool fashion tips for everyone. You can sign up on her email list and find out when the newest of the new stuff arrives. Christabelle says, “It’s like shopping in your best friend’s closet. I have sourced the goodies. The customer knows when she comes to my site that she doesn’t have to weed through items. They are already the cream of the crop. It cuts shopping time in half for women – and for those who hate to shop, or consider themselves to be “fashion illiterate,” it takes the frustration out of fashion for them. It was also created for my many “new mom” friends who do not have the time to get out there and do the type of shopping they would love to do for themselves. Now they can shop designer on their time and have it be ‘guilt free.'”.

Your hair is your crowning glory. When it looks bad it can ruin even the best day of your life. There are times when an inexpensive haircut can take a bite out of your budget. You deserve the best, and here’s how you can go to the best places and pay nothing to look chic.

Bumble and Bumble has a well-deserved reputation for cutting edge cut, color, and products. Their salon is frequented by ladies who lunch and fashionistas. Luckily you can get the same cut and color as an A-lister, but at a fraction of the cost. How? Just participate in their Bumble and Bumble University program. Bumble and Bumble apprentices and full-time stylists who are members of their networks hone their skills under close supervision of educators, and they are always in need of hair models. That’s where you come in. For a haircut, go to their Monday night open model call at their brand new and luxe location at 415 West 13th Street and 9th and between the hours of 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm. You’ll have a consult, discuss what you want to do to your hair, and get an appointment. Once you’re in the system, you can get your free haircut any time you want. Call 1-866-7Bumble for more information.

Now if you want a color process from a Bumble and Bumble apprentice, you’ll have to fork over $20.00. That amount will buy you color, highlights, or both services. Coloring happens Monday during the day (when the Salon is closed) at their uptown location at 146 East 56th Street. They use Redken products. Call 212-521-6500, ask for extension 411, and they’ll hook you up to a color apprentice. Or ask for extension 300 and you’ll be connected to Emma, or extension 308 and you’ll get Hilary. Both are excellent color apprentices.

Wanna be a Bond girl? Oscar Bond, 42 Wooster Street, New York City, 212-334-3777 also has an apprenticeship program where you can get a cut or blow dry for free. Call the main desk and mention that you’re interested in participating as a hair model in the program, and they’ll set you up with an apprentice. Educators coach them and the results are wonderful. They also have a color program, where you leave your name and number on a sign in sheet, but the wait can be a few months. Services are done weekday mornings.

The Aveda Institute – 233 Spring Street, New York, 212-807-1492. Aveda has a student salon where the advanced students get to ply their trade to the public. Again, they are supervised by educators to provide excellent results. A cut or blow dry is $18.00, single-process color starts at $35.00, highlights start at $35 for a partial and end at $75.00 for full. Hours are 9am-5 pm, Tuesday through Saturday. Evening hours are 5:45 pm to 9:30pm, but their last evening appointment is taken at 7:30 pm.

Behind the red door at the Elizabeth Arden Salon lies incredible bargains. Haircuts are $20.00, color and highlights are $40.00, and the pampering is done by apprentices. They use Wella products. Elizabeth Arden is at 691 5th Avenue. Call 212-546-0200 and ask Brenda Penderson or Stephanie Scoppo, they are the haircut educators and they’ll match you up to an apprentice. For color the color educator is Sherri, or call Sara, an apprentice directly at 646-305-4249 for an appointment. The training classes are Tuesday nights.

Matrix Institute is looking for a few good heads. Their testing salon uses professional stylists to test everything from hair products to color. All services are free and occur between 8 am-12pm, and 1 pm-5pm Monday through Friday. The Matrix Institute is located at 575 5th Avenue, third floor in the atrium (the L’Oreal Building). Call 212-984-4926 for an appointment or walk in and sign up. You’ll walk out with great hair and a goodie bag filed with products.

Boys who’d like to get a cut in a clubby atmosphere may want to be a hair model at John Allan’s. John Allan’s is New York City’s only hair salon for men that has pool tables, a cigar bar, and is a great place for boys to be boys. They have two locations: downtown at 96 Trinity Place, 212-406-3000, and midtown at 46 E 46th Street, between Madison and Park, 212-922-0361. They occasionally need models so, give them a call for more information.

Originally published June 2004



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