Bargain Shoppers Anonymous

Bargain Shoppers Anonymous

by Thandie Dowery                              Posted: 2010/10/04

The low down on bargain shopping, from the girls who know how to do it.

Shopping for that perfect outfit and getting it at a perfect price? These two scenarios often don't go hand in hand. But contrary to popular belief, we found 5 uber-stylish ladies, with pretty normal-sized pockets, who are managing to get it right.

"I think there are two types of [bargain shopper]," says Sweden-born fashionista Sigrid. "The first type wants to show off how much money they have, or rather, they want to give off an image of having money, and therefore never tell you how cheap [their clothes are]- the second type takes pride in the skill of hunting, and wants to show off their skill in finding a bargain. I belong to the second type," she chuckles.

Sometimes finding a gem amongst stones isn't intentional, as with a hunt, but is instead a product of the universe's doing. Take for instance boutique owner Vuyiswa and fashion blogger Rharha, whom both state their findings are a result of the external forces that be: friends, various environments, and coincidence. "It's mostly word-of-mouth," says Vuyiswa, "reading people's blogs and bumping into places, like when I'm driving around lost." Rharha explains how she unearthed her bargain spots: "Chance, ke minded (like-minded) friends that keep me updated, fashion parties, the street."

And when it comes to divulging secret bargain spots, these penny-wise fashionistas don't have any chips on their shoulders. Rharha explains why. "I always [share], firstly because they rarely actually go. It's a process - hunting and spotting amidst junk" Entertainment journo Roya definitely would, as she is quite prone to sticking her sneaker-clad-foot in the bargain shop door and will stop at nothing to get her deal. "I brave the dust and scour through the huge amounts of second hand clothes [at several shops] near Noord Taxi Rank in downtown Jo'burg." She's an adventurous one, ne? We did say she'd stop at nothing.

 The idea is to be reminiscent of a period - not look like you haven't shopped since 1903

Rharhaand Vuiyiswa elaborate on the girls' willingness to share their bargain shops, suggesting that the individual breathes life into a garment in their own way. Rharha breaks it down, "it's not about the garment itself -it's about how you wear it!"Vuyiswa similarly states, "I don't believe that 2 people can look exactly the same in the same item anyway."

And when it comes to getting that the perfect bargain, there are several things to look out for. "I consider a bargain something special, good quality and reasonably priced," so says freelance fashion P.R.O. Thithi. This style-bunny gets her clothes, at almost giveaway prices, from a host of second-hand stores and vintage sales around the city, "… like Junksale at Deerhunter in Greenside, Dirty Secret [in Jeppestown], Bounty Hunter in Melville, Rags and Laces [in Hyde Park]."Rharha also sites Dirty Secret as a vintage apparel steal, "Dirty Secret parties have amazing bargains. The next Dirty Secret party is on 3 October." You can check out the upcoming 'Dirty Secret - Diamond In The Rough' event on Facebook.

Also popular in the bargain shop directory is Rags and Lace. Rharha explains why, "they have - expensive labels, all in great condition for close to nothing. And the great thing is a portion of what you have spent goes to charity." Now you can go mad spoiling yourself - without the guilt! Rharha shares her best bargain, "a Versace bikini crop top with 80's vintage color print and luminous pink high-waisted pant - all for R50!"

Not everyone can find an entire outfit all for 50 bucks like Miss Rharha. She suggests what to do if you can't afford a whole new outfit, like accessories. "It's about finding pieces. For example, a chunky, gangster chain can change the whole energy of an outfit. Or doubling up rings on three fingers or even more! The shape of your shades - different shaped shades do wonders to any outfit. Lipstick is another great accessory - a lipstick shade can set off any outfit."

It's about finding pieces. For example, a chunky, gangster chain can change the whole energy of an outfit.

Sometimes it may not be only about getting it for the right price, but also about the more tangible side like what you physically put in weighed up against what you actually get out. "I usually think about it in labour hours." says bargain scavenger Sigrid, "How many hours of work would I have to do in order to afford this item. Is it worth it? If you gladly wouldn't mind working those X hours in exchange for the item, then you have found a bargain. For my summer job I cleaned toilets on a cruise ship. It puts things into perspective when you think about it in number of toilets you have to clean." Now that's running a hard bargain! Some of Sigrid's gem bargain spots include Bruma Lake's China City and the Rosebank Flea Market.


So now that we've got an idea of where to go for fashionable steal and how to decide what to buy, how do we put this knowledge into practice? Thithiand Vuyiswa shed some light. "The thing is to strike a balance and mix vintage pieces with modern or classic pieces, like a good pair of jeans or a great pair of pants," shares trendy Thithi. Vuyiswa's advice is along similar lines, "Mix and match them with pricier or more contemporary items to avoid looking like you robbed an old age home.  Don't be scared of doing alterations either, like shortening the hem lines where necessary to give them a more contemporary look. The idea is to be reminiscent of a period - not look like you haven't shopped since 1903."

Put plain and simple, these ladies could never miss a sweet deal, they don't sacrifice comfort and good looks in the process, and are fearless and fashionably confident enough to share their bargain shopping spots.

Do you have any secret bargain spots? Let us in on them below:

The low down on bargain shopping, from the girls who know how to do it.



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