{Style Expert} Black Friday–Everyday!

A discount doyenne shares her treasure map.

While you’re clawing your way through the crowds this Friday, FOF Diana Tenes, author of 90% off Every Day, will be cozy at home in her living room, sipping peppermint tea and browsing online.
The discount-shopping expert saves thousands each year, but she opts out of frenzied “sale days” like black Friday.
“I appreciate the value you can get on that day,” she explains. “But I think it’s a lot of work–I don’t like to fight with people.”

Here she reveals, step-by-step, how she gets fab fashion deals without stepping into the fray. (Plus, check out the slideshow at the bottom of this post for great deals we found using her methods.)

1. Start with a specific item in mind. “I work as a stylist, so I’m usually looking for a very specific piece–lace boots or a leopard-pint sweater, for example. That’s much more effective than browsing sales for whatever catches your eye. Go to a store you like–Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Macy’s–and try stuff on. Make a list of the specific items you love. This is your seasonal shopping list–keep it in your bag.”

2. If you don’t have an item, start with a brand. “I love the look and style of Anthropologie, Betsey Johnson and Free People. I always carry a list of those brands so whether I’m on ebay or at a garage sale, I’m looking for certain labels.”

3. Speaking of eBay . . . start there. “I do a lot of my shopping online, and eBay is still my favorite resource. Once you know exactly what you want, type in every search variation you can think of. For example, if you love a leopard-print cardigan from Diane von Furstenberg, type that in. But don’t forget that not every seller is savvy. You can get the best deals by searching more anonymous terms such as ‘leopard sweater,’ or ‘animal-print cardigan.’ Also consider, ‘vintage leopard-print cardigan.’ This part takes time, but I love it.”

4. Set low limits. “I try to set a spending limit of $30-$40 for any one item on eBay. That may seem low, but it forces you to look harder and save more. I’ve found boots for $15 that cost $450 in a trendy boutique. I found a Lucky Brand sweater on eBay for $40 and it cost $150 in the store. Challenge yourself to save big.”

5. Bookmark these sites! “For well-priced alternatives that aren’t vintage or secondhand, I like to check Overstock.com, shopstyle.com, thefind.com, nextag.com, polyvore.com, etsy.com. Just like on eBay, use different descriptions or combination of words to search on these sites, such as “animal print, cheetah, leopard, faux fur spotted or jacket, coat or outerwear.”

6. Make second-hand your first love. “I always shop Goodwill, where I find the very best deals. Find the one closest to your home and visit shopgoodwill.com. Search craigslist for local flea markets and garage sales–another goldmine for truly cheap finds.

7. Shop vintage coats. “Certain big-ticket items–coats and bags, for example–are just better when you buy vintage. I type ‘vintage coats’ into eBay constantly–you never know what gems you’ll find.”

8. Sign up for Fashion Vault from eBay. There are a lot of discount shopping emails, but this is my favorite. It’s created by eBay and it’s all designer brands at 60-70 percent off. I mean, this stuff is really cheap.

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{Giveaway} Win a gift for you and for the charity of your choice!

FabOverFifty and CafeGive are giving away a $100 gift certificate to the FOF Shop! Anytime you shop through CafeGive this month, 5% of your purchase goes to one of five fab charities.

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.

To enter to win the gift card: Visit CafeGive to see all five charities, then comment below and tell us which of those charities you would like to support.

FOFs love to give. We also love to shop. This month, we’re partnering with CafeGive to help you give back while you’re shopping at some of your favorite stores. CafeGive will donate 5% of every purchase you make from fabulous shops such as Nordstrom, Soft Surroundings and our own store. You choose where the 5% will go!

To kick it off, we are giving one lucky FOF a $100 shopping spree to the FOF Shop.

Enter to win by visiting CafeGive to see the charities you can choose. Then comment below to tell us which of those charities you would most like to support.

(See all our past winners. See official rules. Five winners are chosen at random from all those commenters who answer the question. Contest closes April 14, 2011.)

{Shopping} We’ve all heard of eBay, but what about these fab sites for vintage shopping?

eBay has it’s merits, but we’ve got the goods on where real FOF vintage vixens shop. Check out these insider sites for shopping second-hand….

Jewelry: Atlantis Dry Goods

They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, but in this case the tree didn’t grow far from the apple. After fifteen-year-old style wunderkind, Jane Aldridge, gained wild acclaim for her blog, Sea of Shoes, her mom Judy decided to give blogging a whirl. Judy, a former model turned fashion-designer, posts fashion inspiration, recipes, DIY projects and more on her blog, Atlantis Home. Her most recent venture? Atlantis Dry Goods, an online store with delightfully funky vintage jewelry, belts and other odds and ends. Lions and leopards and bears, oh my! Judy loves stocking her e-boutique with funky animal charms. Her store is a jungle of pieces from famed designers such as Trifari, Givenchy, Judith Leiber and more. Oh, and the prices are not at all wild — most of the jewelry hovers between $20 and $150.

Don’t miss our other fave vintage jewelry resources:
Affordable Vintage Jewelry
House of Lavande
Erstwhile Jewelry Co.

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Fashion: Couture Allure

FOF Jody Steinman scouts out only the best designer duds for her online vintage shop, Couture Allure. “I don’t offer anything that I wouldn’t wear myself,” says Jody. She’s spent years fostering relationships in the industry to find “the best in vintage fashion still hiding in historic New England homes,” she says. Dior, Yves St. Laurent, Oscar de la Renta, Lilli Ann and Pucci are just a sampling of the designers Jody carries, and the selection changes weekly. “I also carry gorgeous vintage garments that have no designer labels,” she says. In the market for an uber-unique special-occasion dress? Couture Allure has an unrivaled selection of evening wear.

Don’t miss our other fave vintage fashion resources:
FashionDig
Rodeo Drive Resale
Rusty Zipper

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Home & Accessories: Housing Works

Shopping at Housing Works is “a win/win,” wrote in FOF Alexis Marnel. “I furnished my whole apartment there…The best part is that proceeds go to people living with HIV/AIDS.” NYC-based Housing Works has gained a reputation as the Bergdorf Goodman of thrift stores thanks to its meticulously-vetted selection of men’s and women’s clothing, jewelry, handbags, accessories–and it’s particularly standout furniture and artwork. Now, non New Yorkers are privy to this haven of haute hand-me-downs thanks to ShopHousingWorks.com. You can log on from Calcutta to Kalamazoo and troll inventory for sale and online auctions (FedEx shipping is available on select items). Searching on a whim, we found this fabulously-mod Conran Shop rug, a whimsical decorative plate by Kaas and a delightful hickory wing chair.

Don’t miss our other fave vintage home resources:
1stDibs
Jack and Friends
Hindsvik Vintage Home Decor
United House Wrecking

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Going, going gone!
As of publication of this story on March 22, 2011 the fab products pictured above were available at their corresponding online boutiques. However, as to be expected with second-hand shopping, what’s here today might be… gone tomorrow!

{Street-Spotted} Shoshana Halpern

“Grandma” ain’t what it used to be. We found Shoshana Halpern post-lunch date with her grandson David, age 4, and her stepdaughter, Yael. “I’ve been trying to figure out how we could break my grandson into modeling,” says Shoshana.

He’s not the only model we see….

Name: Shoshana Halpern

Age:
Over 50

What do you do?
I was formerly in market research.

Where do you live?
I live in New York for three months in the summer and in Florida for the rest of the year. I say that I always need to live near major shopping areas. Here, in New York, I live near Bergdorf Goodman. In Florida, I live near the Bal Harbour mall.

What is your passion project?
I love shopping. It’s my oxygen. In Bal Harbor I have a group of girlfriends I go with.

What colors do you wear?
Gold is my favorite color. I also wear corals, tan, camel, black and white. You will never see me wearing burgundy.

Does your style change from Florida to New York?
I wear more metallics in Florida, and I would never wear a leopard dress here in New York.

How would you describe your style?
Not conservative. Not edgy. I’d say, classic.

Who are your favorite designers? Dolce & Gabbana for clothing; Chanel for bags and sunglasses, and Gucci for shoes.

What do you splurge on?
Handbags!

On Shoshana:
ShirtMichael Kors
Pants Adriano Goldshmied
Sandals – “I bought them in Florida, I don’t remember the store. I wear flats during the day because I walk everywhere, but in the evening I always wear heels.”
Necklace –  Jackie Brodsky
Sunglasses Chanel
WatchMichelle. In the evening I wear a watch by Cartier.
Bag Prada

Images by Katherine McPherson for faboverfifty.com

{Street-Spotted} Ruth Schlossberg

You can’t get more summery and chic than white from head to toe–but not everyone can pull it off. FOF Ruth Schlossberg clearly can. We spotted her taking Roxy and Ritter for an afternoon stroll.

Name: Ruth Schlossberg

Age: 57

What do you do? I just launched an interior design business, OM Home. We specialize in creating luxurious holistic environments for our clients.

Where do you live? I split my time between NYC, Miami and North Carolina. My business is based out of Miami, I have an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and I have a horse farm in North Carolina where I go to recharge.

What are you doing right now? Walking my dogs and on my way to a store! I’m with my friend and client – we just came back from Santa Monica. I travel a lot!

How would you describe your style? My friend says it’s eclectic. I buy what I like and wear it forever… I don’t let seasonal fads dictate what I wear.

Do you have a signature piece? I wear my Philip Stein watch every day. I just love it. It comes with changeable bands.

Where are your favorite places to shop? I do a lot of online shopping… Zappos.com, Bluebee.com and Saks and Henri Bendel here in N.Y.

On Ruth:
Tunic and Pants —
Victoria’s Secret
Sandals —
From India
Sunglasses —
Chanel. My friends got them for me as a gift for my last birthday.
Earrings — Samuel Getz. My friends gifted them to me on my 50th birthday. Samuel Getz is just a fabulous world class jeweler carried at Neimans.
Bracelet —
David Yurman. I switch this up with a diamond bracelet in the evening.
Watch — Philip Stein
BagIsabella Fiore carried by Neimans, Zitomer and Bergdorf’s.

Images by Katherine McPherson for faboverfifty.com

{Street-Spotted} Yael Nadiv

“My clothes are a backdrop for my jewelry,” says FOF Yael Nadiv. We spotted Yael sightseeing in New York with her friend, Régine Illi (from last week’s Street Spotted). She had just finished showcasing her own jewelry designs at a trunk show at Henri Bendel. “It was a success, but I’d still like to see my jewelry sold in more stores!”

Name: Yael Nadiv

Age: Over 50

What do you do? I’m a jewelry designer. I have my own company, Onyx.

Where are you from? Originally from Israel, but now I live in Zurich.

How long have you been friends with Regine? Just a few years. We met when I brought my jewelry to sell in her museum shop. She is the shop manager at the Rietberg Museum.

The jewelry looks great on both of you, but you two have very different styles… Yes, she’s more eccentric. I’m very plain…very classic. Little detail, good quality. I usually wear a white t-shirt and jeans, you know.

Who are your favorite designers? Bottega Veneta, Donna Karan and Dries Van Noten

On Yael:
Jewelry – handmade from her jewelry company, Onyx
Dress– “I don’t remember. It’s like 100 years old. I don’t take much when I travel. I just take a dress and then you don’t need anything else.”
Bag– Made in Italy
Shoes– from Switzerland, and made in Italy.

Photos by Katherine McPherson for FabOverFifty.com

{Inspiration} My 6 Simple Pleasures

These days, many of us are forgoing the big luxuries and rediscovering the little things. Here’s some down-to-earth inspiration from one of our favorite FOFs.

Portrait by Jill Lotenberg for Jillphotography.com

{Street-Spotted} Régine Illi

A shop manager for the Rietberg Museum in Zurich, FOF Régine Illi is always on the lookout for innovative design, worldly items or offbeat trinkets to sell in her store. Even though she’s in New York City for “vacation,” we could tell her head was still back at the museum. We spotted her on Madison Avenue captivated by a whimsical display of aluminum-foil animals in a storefront at a children’s boutique. “I’m capturing ideas,” says Regine.

Name: Régine Illi

Age: (gasp) 55

What do you do? I manage the shop at the Museum Rietberg in Zurich. Right now we have an exhibit on Bhutan so I try to find items from Bhutan or India.

What kind of museum is that? It’s known for it’s non-European art.

And you’re from Zurich? Yes.

What are you doing in New York? I’m on vacation with my friend Yael Nadiv. She’s a jewelry designer and she just had a trunk show at Henri Bendel. I’m wearing one of her necklaces.

How would you describe your style? Clean. Basic. Normally, two colors at most, straight lines. Today, I’m more eccentric. I feel more free and liberated when I’m not in my country. Americans are more liberal and free. My style changes depending on my mood.

Who are your favorite designers? Donna Karan and Norma Kamali

On Régine:
Hat– made in Uzbekistan, from a folk art market in Santa Fe
Necklace– designed by friend, Yael Nadiv, of Onyx Jewelry
Dress– made in India
Shoes- Puma
Pants- Gabriele Strehle
Bag- vintage Gucci
Sunglasses- found in the Le Marais district of Paris

Images by Katherine McPherson for FabOverFifty.com

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{Style Expert} Decked out! 16 nautical pieces (with price tags that won’t make you want to walk the plank)

As long as you don’t go overboard, adorning an outfit (or home) with these classics is a summer no-brainer. No matter how much is in your treasure chest, we’ve got you covered this summer with splurge-worthy investment pieces and bargain booty.

Investment Treasures:

1. Show them who’s captain;  1970’s Canada Wheel pendant necklace by Rafael from House of Lavande, $650

2. Boat meets tote; Ella Vickers Rope Tote from Ella Vickers, $148. PLUS win one here!

3. Soft stripes for rough seas; Nautical T-shirt from Saint James in navy and white or cobalt blue and white, $115.

4. For catching all your summer booty; Fisherman’s Net Tote in green, yellow or red from Anthropologie, $108

5. For your sea legs; Wide Leg Trousers in Heavy Linen in white from Eileen Fisher, $109

6. Where there’s a whale, there’s a way; Whale Pitcher from Jonathan Adler, $95

7. Stars of the sea; 14k Sea Star Earrings by Danielle Pittman from Churchill, $675

8. Get regatta-gala glam with this… Asymmetric Zip Dress by Tomas Maier from Serenella, $550

9.  Sandals not just for the sand; Delphi Sandals in chartreuse and tan from Cynthia Vincent, $133.99

Bargain Booty


1. A seaside shoe staple; Women’s Montauk Slip-Ons in multiple colors from Sperry, $90

2. Because, why knot? Sailor Knot Bracelet in natural and gold from Etsy seller, “thevamoose,” $18

3. All that’s missing is the gondola; Venice Slub Stripe Tee by Splendid in dune, carbon or licorice from Piperlime, $66

4. Shade up or ship out; Studded Sculpted Rectangle Glasses in tortoise or black from Nine West, $38

5. To take you from ship to shore; Sailing-The-Streets Wedges in dark denim from Anthropologie, $59.95

6. Port of Call shirt in white or black from Soft Surroundings, $59.95

7. Mirror, mirror on the sea; Porthole Round Wall Mirror from Totally Furniture, $76.88

{Makeovers} Francie Gets Fancy!

Last month, FOFs were so moved by Francesca Kranzberg’s weight loss story, they voted her winner of a makeover with fashion expert, FOF Sherrie Mathieson.

Read on to hear Francie recount her day of beauty and to witness her jaw-dropping transformation.

10:45 am

Francesca arrives.

“From the day I found out when my FOF makeover would be, until the moment I alighted the train in New York, I could barely sleep I was so excited.”

Francesca arrived wearing a purple flannel shirt, rolled up cargo pants, a backpack and a side-slung shoulder bag. We had our work cut out for us!

11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
We learn 6 fun facts about Francie (while waiting for the salon appointment)

  • She has 2 daughters Dena, age 23 and Alena, age 21
  • She met her husband through a matchmaking service!
  • She hosts annual cheesecake parties for her neighbors where she makes 20 different varieties of the dessert.
  • She teaches Mah Jongg at two Jewish Community Centers in the D.C. area
  • She works for an organization called JConnect in Maryland, that helps newcomers get acquainted with the community
  • She is incredibly committed to her goal of losing 120 lbs and is already halfway there!

1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Hair and Makeup at Senses Salon

“Senses Salon is in a very funky space, the type that usually makes me feel self-consciously out of place. Instead I was welcomed as if I were a celebrity and fussed over as if I were one, too. I had three people blowing my hair dry at once – how cool is that?! Antonio, Barbara and their staff are truly artists.”

{Click here for the products and processes}

For her hair, Antonio Rosa, co-owner of Senses Salon:

  • Used a single-process color to give Francesca’s hair more depth and cover the grays. Women over 50 should get a coloring every 6-8 weeks, says Antonio.
  • Brightened her hair by adding soft caramel highlights.
  • Left her length mostly intact while adding layers for movement and long bangs to soften the look.

Makeup Products List
For skin:

For eyes:

For lips:

4:15 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Sherrie works her magic at
Saks

“Sherrie and I had “met” over the phone a few days before the makeover. I was in line at the pharmacy as we discussed measurements. The man in front of me did a rather obvious double take when we got to my bra size!

At the Salon Z section at Saks, Sherrie showed me how to make different combinations with the same pieces. I came dressed all wrong and left with a lot of knowledge! I started reading Sherrie’s books on the train home. Her writing is conversational, like advice from an old friend, and the pictures really reinforce the tips. Now when I go shopping I find myself asking, “What would Sherrie think?”

Look 1:

“This outfit would work for a Saturday afternoon shopping. You don’t see the upper thigh. The length of the sweater camouflages where she is still losing weight in a fashion-forward way. ” -Sherrie Mathieson

Organic Cotton Tank Top in White by Eileen Fisher, $178

“The Skinny” Skinny Jeans by Eileen Fisher, $148

Green Cascading Cardigan by Eileen Fisher, $218

Marc Y Marc Little Birdie Hobo in Navy by Marc by Marc Jacobs Bag, $458

Tory Burch Patti Wedge Sandals in Royal Tan, $225

Gold Hoop Earrings by Alexis Bittar, $100

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Look 2:
“This is a very simple top; the length reaches right where its critical so she is able to wear these legging-simulating jeans. The navy bag picks up the color of the jeans. I chose classic Jack Rogers sandals because they are comfortable and go with a lot; this pair goes with gold or silver. She could wear this look out to a movie or casual dinner.” -Sherrie Mathieson

“The Skinny” Skinny Jeans by Eileen Fisher, $148

Navajo Hamptons Sandals in Platinum by Jack Rogers, $96

Handkerchief Linen Shirt in Taupe by Eileen Fisher, $178

Printed Nylon Little Tate Tote by Marc by Marc Jacobs, $168

Gold Hoop Earrings By Alexis Bittar, $100

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Look 3:
“This look would be great for a casual work environment like Francie’s. Prior to this, she wore loose shirts that fit her sloppily. I like this shirt because it’s not too tight and not too loose. It skims her body just right. It’s a neutral palette which elongates her figure, a patterned shirt would not have had this effect. The hoop earrings add a little touch of glamour.”  -Sherrie Mathieson

Stretch Cotton Shirt by Lafayette 148, $268

Metropolitan Stretch Pants by Lafayette 148, $328

Marc by Marc Jacobs Genuine Italian Leather Brown Clutch, $298

Michael Kors Clogs in Brown Leather, $250

Gold Hoop Earrings by Alexis Bittar, $100

(All items available at Saks Fifth Avenue)

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8:00 p.m.
Francesca returns home to her family and friends in D.C.

Special Thanks to: Lexi Miller at Saks Fifth Avenue, Sherrie Mathieson and Antonio Rosa of Senses Salon.