The Look

Looking Professional, Shopping Thrifty

Rebecca Hancock, marketing professional/bargain shopper talks fashion


Tell me a little about yourself.
I’m the senior marketing officer for Rhode Island Hospital, which involves planning and carrying out promotional efforts for all departments and divisions. I wouldn’t say it’s the most corporate environment, but it’s definitely conservative. I never really know what the day is going to bring, so I always err on the side of polished.

I hear your work wardrobe is a budgetary wonder.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it: it’s not easy to look professional at all times and do so within budgetary parameters. It takes a combination of resourcefulness, patience, creativity and the ability to look outside the mall. It takes more time and it takes more ingenuity to see the potential in things.

What constitutes a find?
A find is something that’s inexpensive, but you also have to think of how many times you’re going to wear it. Sometimes the cheapest piece on the rack isn’t the best steal. If you can break it down to cost per wear, that’s one way of constituting a deal.

Name a few of your prized acquisitions.
In recent history, I’ve found a Tory Burch denim dress and candy apple red, patent leather Stuart Weitzman stiletto heels – still in the box – for double digits.

Tell me about this look.
I would describe my style as classic, clean, American-cool with personality. What I love about this look is that from head to toe it cost me about $40. A few of the pieces are from my favorite consignment store. The blazer is Ann Taylor and the skirt is Talbots, which I got at an outlet store. The shoes and the top are consignment also.

How can others create a wallet-conscious closet?
Be a consignor at a local shop because it’s a good way to turn over your stuff, make a little more money and put that towards new finds. Consignment stores are great because you can score things that are new with tags for less than 50 percent of the retail price. Even better: pick out some of the wealthier suburbs and go to those consignment stores. You have to be willing to travel. Outlet versions of your favorite stores are good and you can also get on e-mail distribution lists.

What do you splurge on?
I like to put the money that I save towards experiences, like traveling. I’ve been to some amazing cities and when I’m there I don’t give a second thought to purchasing clothing because you will never find it anywhere else. One of my most special pieces is this beautiful coat that was made to my measurements and mailed to me by a woman whom I met at a street fair in Berlin.