High and Low

January 14, 2014 Updated: January 8, 2014

My wardrobe is a fascinating mixture of the very expensive and the very cheap. Somehow I have very little that’s moderately priced. I find that if your look is expensive—notice I didn’t say that it is expensive but just that it looks that way—you can get away with wearing something cheap and no one would ever guess. A case in point is a 25-cent silver chain belt that I bought in a really cheap store. I wear it with so many things and I love it. I shouldn’t have given the price away. Now that I’ve outed myself, I can no longer smile enigmatically when people ask where I bought it.

Wearing an inexpensive but chic purse is another good example. A while ago while wandering in a bargain store, I came across a beautiful velvet purse. How it came to be there I have no idea because it’s really well made and very stylish. It even has the little metal knobs on the bottom to prevent it from getting scuffed when placed on the floor. I bought it for $2, yes, $2!

When you see a well-groomed, well-dressed mink-clad woman carrying a chic purse, you naturally assume it’s expensive because she obviously looks as if she can afford it. And if she’s not expensively dressed, you assume the purse is cheap. It’s all about how you put yourself together.

Actually, I love browsing in the really cheap shops (junk shops) because you never know what you’ll find. If you’ve got a good eye, you can frequently come up with a diamond in the rough.

Some months ago I was looking for a macramé belt with beads. I didn’t want to spend a lot because I knew it was a fad. While browsing in a junk shop, there it was for $5.

Naturally, I grabbed it and that too gets me a number of compliments.

Just be careful, it’s called a junk shop for a reason.

Miriam Silverberg is a freelance journalist and owner of Miriam Silverberg Associates, a boutique publicity agency in Manhattan. She can be reached at silverbergm@mindspring.com.