If there's a hall of fame for bargain hunters, Tracy Amon belongs in it. The 24-year-old secretary never met an outlet store, flea market or consignment shop she didn't like. Every other Saturday, she and her mother comb the Baltimore area in search of the ultimate buy.
She's cultivated such a sharp eye for discounts that she now occasionally boasts to colleagues at the Department of Defense about her cheap but tasteful finds.
"It's gotten so that when I go into work and say, 'See my new pants,' people automatically ask, 'How much you pay for them?' " says Ms. Amon, who lives in Glen Burnie. "I tell them, '$1.' I'm not embarrassed at all."
You describe yourself as a certified clothes nut. How come?
I have a bedroom closet, a walk-in closet and four garment bags filled with clothes. When my mother and I go shopping, we try to see who can get the best bargain of the day. A few weeks ago I got a pair of jeans for 50 cents. That's the bargain of the month. She's still trying to top it.
How much time -- and money -- do you spend?
We go from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. But we don't spend a lot. We look for sales. I probably spend $25 a week.
It sounds like a lot of work. What's the appeal for you?
I like to have a lot of different things to wear. I hate to wear the same thing in a month. If I dress better, I feel better.
Not every daughter could spend that many hours shopping with her mother.
My mother and I are like sisters. We trade clothes. We like the same styles. We go to eat, relax, compare bargains. I don't think anyone should shop by themselves. You end up buying stuff you wish you hadn't.
If you could take anyone along on your next trip, what person would you most like it to be?
Princess Diana. She has an awesome closet. She can afford nice stuff, but even when she's casual she looks good.
Some people complain that when they shop the way you do they buy pieces that never go with anything.
That's happened to me. I bought a pair of brown Dockers for $2.49 that didn't go with anything. I took them to the consignment shop. They sold them for $12 and I got 60 percent of that.
What distinguishes your style from others?
I like classic, comfortable stuff. I want people to look at me and know that I've taken the time to pick out something that will make me look nice. I would hate for people to look at me and think: "Oh, she must have gotten up late." As for my clothes, I've got it all: cotton pants, linen blazers, silk dresses, stripes, florals, polka dots.
What's your favorite outfit of the moment?
The 50-cent jeans and a white crocheted sweater I bought at a thrift store for $4.
Where do you find the best buys?
Marianne, T.J. Maxx and Marshall's.
What's considered a splurge for you?
I bought a red silk dress at J. C. Penney for $60. I once bought a suit at Hecht's for $120, but I felt so guilty I took it back.
How would you finish this statement: "I'll know I'm a great dresser when . . ."
When I look in the mirror and am completely comfortable with what I see.
Do you know some dressers? Let us know. Write to Mary Corey, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.