September 9th, 2009

I suspect that the world can be divided into two types of people (or at least two types of women) — those who excel at bargain clothes shopping and those who do not.

My mother’s sisters fall into the first category. They all shop faithfully at various thrift and consignment shops and regularly regale us with tales of their amazing finds. The practically new Clarks clogs for a dollar. The gorgeous black leather blazer for $5. The sorts of stories that send me dashing to the nearest Salvation Army in hot pursuit of the next great deal.

But, sadly, my mother did not get the thrifty genes, and as I resemble her in most things, neither did I. I think it probably has a lot to do with patience or lack there of. I generally cannot make myself slog through rack after rack of hideous apparel that doesn’t fit. And that’s what it often takes to find the clothing diamonds in the rough.

This weekend, though, I had a shopping trip that would make my aunts proud. I discovered Gabriel Brothers. They’re a discount chain ala TJ Maxx — only way better. It’s like TJ Maxx on steroids. Better brands and lower prices. Unlike many other discount stores, the stuff at Gabes tends to be not just overstock items, but seconds. So you have to check carefully for flaws. But holy moly, the things you can find.

I picked up two fabulous Ann Taylor dress shirts — one long sleeved for $10 and one sleeveless for $5. Then I meandered over to the children’s section and felt my jaw drop and the drool start to form.

There, in the middle of the aisle, was a rack of Zutano baby clothes. ZUTANO. As in, my most favorite baby clothes ever that are ridiculously expensive and that you can usually only find online or in boutique stores. Yeah, those. And they were practically free.

I snagged two pairs of cotton overalls that retail for $18 for $3 a piece and a wonderfully snazzy reversible striped hoody zip jacket that sells for $39. My price? $4.95. Just call me the Thrift Store Queen.

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