By Dorothy Willman

Staff Correspondent

Imagine dressing in name brand clothing — head to toe — for $10!

Jan Wilson does it.

She says you can too.

Jan is a thrift store shopper. Her shopping habit began with “just buying fun collectible things.”

She has a sizeable collection of Cabbage Patch dolls, every one purchased in a thrift store.

“Then I started seeing great clothes and picking them up,” she explained. “Then it got to the point where I was buying all my clothes except my underwear at the thrift store.”

“Once you get to that point, you‚ll never go to the malls again,” she said.

Jan admitted, “I love fashion” and “I love clothes!”

“But in the big picture, I don’t think it’s very important, certainly not important enough to spend my limited resources.”

She has favorite brands — Anne Taylor, Talbot’s, Anne Klein, the Forrester Faith Line, Engelheart and Fresh Produce to name a few.

She has favorite stores too. The shop she loves most is Second Impressions, the boutique here in Claremore operated as a benefit for the Domestic Abuse Shelter. She also frequents the Uptown Thrift Store in Tulsa and Goodwill Stores in all locations.

Some of her great recent finds include a “beautiful” Vera Wang dress, bought for $12 in a Tulsa thrift store. She’s also proud of her Harold’s tooled leather slides for $4. “I’m all into tooled leather these days,” she said.

Her tips for successful thrift store shopping include knowing when shipments are coming in and when the clothes will be out on the sales floor. She also gets to know the sales staff at the shops and lets them know what she likes.

Jan and husband Gary moved to their hillside hideaway near Claremore eight years ago, feeling out early retirement. During that time, she built up a good business selling vintage clothing and collectibles on e-bay.

She still does a bit of shopping for collectibles and vintage clothing, but said it is harder now, “since the whole world went on e-bay.” She remembers when she could decide she wanted a Hawaiian shirt, a real one, and go find one at a thrift store. Not anymore.

Now back in the work force, she commutes to a Tulsa DHS office every weekday. The job “makes me realize the value of time,” she said.

She saves shopping time by remembering what’s already in her wardrobe and looking for items what will fit into that wardrobe. She hates to try on clothes, so she carries a tape measure and compares the measurements of clothing items to her best fitting clothes.

And Jan Wilson is a shopper who uses her hands. She is such an experienced buyer that she can run a hand over the top of a rack of clothes, stopping when she feels a fabric that she knows is of good quality.

“It’s great to live in a country so rich that you can clothe yourself with other people’s discards!” she said..

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