Racking up the bargains suits a shopper just fine


If there's a bargain out there, Judy Naughton will find it.

For the past eight years, she's discovered some of her best buys at the "Johns Hopkins Best Dressed Sale & Boutique," which runs today through Saturday at the Evergreen Carriage House.

As a member of the Hopkins Women's Board, she admits she may be a little partial. But a steal is still a steal. And the Escadas, Ungaros and Givenchys she's added to her wardrobe fall into that category.

She offers no apologies for hours spent rooting through the racks.

"I'm a shopper," says Ms. Naughton, 52, of Ruxton. "I love the thrill of the hunt."

What's kept you going back year after year?

I first learned about the sale through friends. We started going to look for clothes for our boys who were in prep school. . . . Then I went for designer clothes for myself.

What was your first impression?

It was amazing to see the people who came from Washington and Annapolis, lining up at 8 in the morning. The confusion in the dressing room is a stitch. When I was a worker there, women would never let me get anything back on the rack. It's like a madhouse Loehmann's.

What have been your most envied purchases?

I bought a cashmere topcoat for $50 and a black tuxedo with satin lapels for $46 for my sons.

For myself, I've found an Emanuel Ungaro silk blouse, a Givenchy navy suit and an Yves Saint Laurent short coat.

What's been your absolute best buy?

An Escada double-breasted blazer with brass buttons. That had to sell for well over $1,000. I paid about $100. I can dress it up with a gold lame top for evening or wear it during the day with a striped Ralph Lauren blouse and cream-colored slacks.

For many people, bargain shopping is too much of a hassle. What's your strategy?

If you don't like the bustle, it's smart to come around noon. By that time, everything in the back fitting rooms is coming back out again. I look for classics. I head for the designer racks first, then jewelry. Then I look in the boys department.

I've always been careful with my budget for clothes. And by shopping like this, I don't feel guilty about buying a good pair of shoes to go with an outfit.

For sales like this, what's your price limit?

I won't spend more than $100 for a designer raincoat. And unless it's a special designer, I try to keep it around $40 to $50.

Where else do you shop?

I love to go to Loehmann's and Saks Fifth Avenue. I also go to Bergdorf Goodman in New York.

How would you describe your style?

Classic and tailored. I try to be a little different by using scarves and jewelry. I love to accessorize with bright colors. My suits and skirts are basic -- navy, charcoals, blacks, camels. Then I'll put on a coral blouse or a red coat.

If you could choose anyone, who would you take along on your next bargain hunt?

Donna Karan, Calvin Klein or Ralph Lauren. I'd tell them to make me look as good as they can.

Do you know some dressers? Let us know. Write to Mary Corey The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278.

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