If you need a drop-dead party dress but don't want to faint dead away at the price tag, a consignment shop could be the place to shop. Cocktail and evening clothes are designed to be noticed, yet women with an active social calendar don't want to be noticed too often in the same dress. The smart and fashionable ones have learned to recoup part of their investment by putting clothes up for resale. Other smart women have learned they can find quality and good design in previously owned clothes.
Special occasion dresses are a particularly good secondhand buy because they show virtually no wear and tend to look current through many seasons. A beaded slink or tea-length chiffon of a few years ago can look just as good now.
Dresses that went dancing at college reunions and gala weddings were chosen with care. You know the pressures of finding just the thing to impress a former college beau. The same dress at a quarter of the cost makes choosing a little easier.
Susan Sklar, owner of Deja New, in the Colonial Village Shopping Center in Pikesville, has seen a dramatic shift in attitudes about secondhand shopping. "Resale has lost its stigma and has even become chic," she says. "It's now a point of pride to tell how little you paid rather than how much. It may be a reaction to the conspicuous consumption of the '80s or a result of the recession, but it fills a need."
Her business has a core of regular consignors and shoppers which often leads to an interesting wardrobe relationship. "We have women who consistently choose clothes brought in by the same person. It's like inheriting clothes from a friend who has the same taste and size."
Women who own fine evening dresses may want to sell them and give them another chance to party. The price is split 50/50 with the shop owner. Ms. Sklar will make house calls to help sellers weed out a closet but charges an extra 10 percent for the special service.
An advantage to consignment shopping is that store owners screen the clothes and set prices. They know their stock and often can pull out just the thing for those looking for something special. That little extra service doesn't cost.
The Franklin Square Hospital Center's Thrift Boutique is going full speed since its opening on May 1. Helen Stofberg, president of the hospital auxiliary, which sponsors the shop, says donations have built up a good selection of seasonable clothing and accessories for men, women and children.
The thrift shop could be a good source of inexpensive separates such as shorts and T-shirts to get the family through the season. The shop is open every Friday through the summer from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Donations are welcome, but should be clean, in good condition and in style. Items are accepted at the offices of the auxiliary or protection services. Call (410) 682-7052 for additional
The sun, pool chemicals and sea salt can strip the life from hair, but some quick and inexpensive techniques can help hair survive summer burnout.
* Before dipping in the pool, soak hair with tap water. Water fills porous hair shafts and helps to prevent penetration of harsher chlorinated pool water.
* Comb a leave-in conditioner into the hair and slick back if you plan to spend the day outdoors.
* If you forget conditioner, apply a generous amount of your sunscreen through hair. It has moisturizing and protective qualities.
* Whenever possible, cover hair with a scarf or pretty hat.
Saving in Style welcomes questions and suggestions. Write Vida Roberts, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278. Or call (410) 332-6833.