Area shoppers shed light on their philosophies and strategies

Natalie Pinto of ‘The Fashionably Broke’ blog and Grant Harris of consulting company Image Granted share their shopping knowledge.

Photo courtesy of The Fashionably Broke

Natalie Pinto of The Fashionably Broke, a blog she describes as “dedicated to inspiring the fashion-obsessed through a series of personal style, fashion, beauty, travel and lifestyle content,” and Grant Harris, personal stylist and founder of Image Granted, an image, style and fashion consulting company based in Washington, D.C., offer Northern Virginia shoppers their words of wisdom.

Natalie Pinto, The Fashionably Broke

What’s the story behind the name of your blog?

To be fashionably broke means to be broke in the most desirable way. We strive to bring all of those who can relate to living fashionably broke together in one place.

The Fashionably Broke reader embraces her love of looking good and feeling good by means of fashion and style, at any cost. She’s most likely, what we call, a ‘responsible shopaholic’ who mixes high and low brands into her everyday style.

There’s a coolness to being fashionably late, so we are saying be fashionably broke in that effortless, I-don’t-care, I-just-am sort of spirit.

Best Deals in NoVA?

Consignment shops, like Current Boutique in Clarendon or Ella Rue in Georgetown, are where I find my best designer steals (Like my recent find: Chanel suspenders!).

I also frequently shop at Zara, Urban Outfitters and Madewell in Arlington, which are all super affordable. And I always check out the sale racks at some of my favorite boutiques like Tuckernuck and Lynn Louisa.

Favorite apps or online sites for deals?

I’m always browsing on The Real Real for designer consignment steals, they have an amazing and large selection. Farfetch is a favorite site of mine, they source from various boutiques all over the world, so you’re likely to find a great deal on a designer item and they also frequently have sales (and a friendly return policy). Vestiaire Collective is a recent favorite, I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled on their selection of vintage Chanel. And, last but not least, Shopbop has seasonal sales where you can save hundreds on your order and they carry most of my favorite brands.

One of my favorite apps, which recently launched in the D.C. area is EYESPOT. Users can share items they find in any of the boutiques across the Metro-D.C. area, so it’s a great way to discover a unique item in real time.

How do you shop consignment?

I usually only shop at consignment boutiques where I’ve made a relationship with the shop owner so there is that extra level of personal trust. For example, I’ve gotten to know Carmen Lopez, owner of Current Boutique, over the past few years and I feel comfortable shopping at her boutiques (in person and online) because I know if anything turned up not being authentic she would likely resolve the situation for me. If you don’t know a store owner, I recommend at least introducing yourself to the store associates and getting to know a bit more about their authenticity policies before making a purchase because each store’s can vary.

It’s also usually pretty easy to tell by seam lines. On most designer items with any sort of logo on them, like Louis Vuitton, they will never crop off the logo at a seam without matching it up on the other side. Items that come with authenticity cards, duster bags and receipts are also always a plus.

Is there a specific time when the best sales are usually happening?

Most of my favorite places to shop offer sales super frequently, but there are plenty of chances to shop sale items throughout the year. The end of summer (August-September) or start of spring (March-April) are the best times to search for sales. This is around the time when the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and the Shopbop End of Season Sale happen, two of my favorites. And, of course, the holidays. I always try to hop on holiday deals as soon as they launch because popular items will likely sell out fast.

Grant Harris
Photo courtesy of Self

Grant Harris, Image Granted

How do you find great deals in NoVA?

Research. Getting out in the market [and] shopping. Men hate to shop when they don’t know what they are looking for. Practice looking for things. You have to get out there, put things on and feel the fabrics.

Go through the racks at Goodwill.

What is your fashion philosophy?

I don’t buy anything new unless it’s already old or gifted. Thrill of the hunt. Quality over quantity. Old soul style: cardigans and pleated pants. Update with modern fit and modern accessories and personality, colors. Watches are great modern accessories, socks with color. A great timepiece will always look great. Ties, tie bar. Personality in haircut, chiseled, a little beard.

Start with basics. Buy two or four of each (blue, white). Maintain basics and mix and match. Most men fail when it comes to trousers. Get the right fit, quantity and quality. They are overlooked. Men also overlook shoes—need five to rotate through. When pants and shoes look bad, the whole outfit is thrown. Shoes are key because they provide support—the way you walk and stand.

What is your favorite fashion spot in NoVA?

Non-descript small boutiques, owned by a few people. No name shops, vintage markets.

Favorite time for a deal?

Vintage shopping doesn’t conform to sale seasons. There is something on the sale, it’s always time for a good deal. It’s not based on season, it’s based on what is available in that moment.

(Shopping Deals 2017December 2017)