Amanda Draper is a woman of extraordinary talent, taste and temperament. For the past twenty-one years, Amanda has served as a fashion consultant and personal shopper for a small, but elite population. Although her work rarely takes her into the world of thrifty fashion, she was gracious to grant an interview from her Five Points condominium and share her expertise for those of us who shop on a budget.
Amanda usually spends her afternoons accompanying a client to boutiques and premier department stores in search of the perfect wardrobe pieces. She accompanies and advises her clients as they select and try on apparel, shoes and accessories. She often makes selections for them, working painstakingly to coordinate pieces.
Amanda does venture into mid-range stores, and claims to have made many wonderful finds at Dillard’s, Belk, JC Penney and Kohl’s. When asked if she ever visited a Columbia thrift or consignment shop, she said that she had, but not in quite some time.
In elegant Oscar de la Renta casual slacks and creamy ecru blouse, Amanda shared some advice for thrifty fashion shoppers asserting that, “Everyone can benefit from shopping with a consultant and personal shopper.”
Amanda tells us:
- The runway shows are fun to watch, but not practical for real people to wear. Enjoy them, but don’t try to copy the styles at work or at home.
- Dress in clothing that is comfortable for you. If you prefer pants over skirts, stay with pants. If your taste runs toward pastels rather than bright colors, choose the pinks and lavenders.
- An easy way to freshen up a dress that may be several years old is to add a thin metallic belt, a crocheted bolero, or a pin-on flower. These accents will bring it up to date and keep you very much in style. They are not expensive, and can be found at any department store.
- Choose pieces that can mix and match easily to create coordinating or contrasting outfits. The number of outfits is figured by multiplying, not by adding. If you have three pair of pants and three tops, there are nine different possible looks, not only six.
- High wedges and platform heels are at the top of the fashion scene this fall. However, if they are not comfortable or if you feel unsure walking in them, do not buy them. Too many women have sprained or broken their ankles as a result of high heels.
- The classics are always the best choices. The little black dress, a favorite in the seventies, still heads the list of must-have clothing.
- Too many women simply have too much clothing. “Filling your closet does not a great wardrobe make,” says Amanda. “Choose fewer pieces that will work well alone or together and will be worn often. “
- Watch for designer brand names when they go on sale. You can often do more with one really good piece than with a bag full of inexpensive pieces. In other words, advises Amanda, “Don’t be afraid to spend $80 for a good piece. It will outlast and outshine eight $10 pieces.”
- Be especially careful with accessories. Bright plastic and glass jewelry may sparkle, but it tends to be unattractive and overdone. Nobody will believe it to be real. One simple gold or silver chain necklace is worth a jewelry box filled with colorful “junk.”
As always, maximize your style and minimize your spending~