Back To School Special

'Tis the season for back-to-school shopping (just ask all the commercials on your TV set) and I have decided that school kids shouldn't have all the fun. I mean, sure, once the fall hits I am going to showing up every day the same office that I do now, but that's no reason to deny myself of a back-to-school-style spree now, is it?

So, I saved my pennies and went on a little binge and I am feeling pretty good about life. I think you should try it, too. And, since we all know that the cardinal rule of back-to-wherever-you-are-going shopping is to get as much (good stuff) as you can for as little as possible, here are some tips and tricks for scoring big at discount stores.

1. Check the detail hem.

Pieces with detail elements like ruffles sometimes have cheaply executed serged hems that will quickly warp and unravel. If you want something with a ruffle or an embellishment, look for pieces where the ruffle is folded under itself with the hem safely tucked inside.

2. Only buy patterns in certain fabrics.

To avoid fading and pilling, stick with polyester and viscose pieces.

3. Say no to banded hems and sleeves.

Sure, the band keeps delicate fabric like lace and satin from unraveling and fraying, and the quickie solution keeps the pieces cheap, but they also make the pieces look cheap. So, just say no.

4. Be extra careful with skirts.

Make sure any skirt you buy is lined, unless you like the static cling look. The end.

5. Don't discount denim.

If you have the patience and inclination you can sometimes dig through piles of discards and find, for example, a pair of cutoff shorts that will last you a few summers. But generally speaking, high-quality denim is worth the investment.

What do you think, back-to-school shoppers? Any tricks you use to get more bang for your buck on big buying trips?


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