Saturday, January 6, 2007

Buy Curious: January 5, 2007

By Lauren Gard
Sat, Jan 6, 2007 at 3:26 PM

You made it through the holidays; now it's time to figure out what to do with the overflow of stuff you've just acquired. Whether you need to find a new home for that tacky Christmas sweater, or say goodbye to that tired old coat of yours, 'tis the season for turnover. This week, Buy Curious evaluates the options for hawking your wardrobe. Plus we checked out hot new spots for denim and home decor in Old Oakland, discovered a unique auction to benefit James Kim's family, and tackled your toughest style nightmares: How to tell your significant other he needs the fashion police. Never fear, Buy Curious to the rescue!

STYLEFILE

Name: Alfonso Dominguez, 29, Oakland Occupation: Co-owner of Drift Spotted: In his new denim store, Drift, in Old Oakland Personal style: "Eclectic urban." Dominguez has a background in architecture, so when it comes to his own style, "everything has to make sense," he says. "Form and function." Items he can't live without: "Denim. Good Italian shoes and a great sports jacket. Really it's about the jeans and the jacket." Fashion inspiration: "Old Italian men. I used to live in Florence and there were sixty-year-old men who looked more fashionable than me." Next purchase: More Japanese raw denim.

Fashion tip: "Give up clothes that don't fit right. People need to experience tailored cuts. Learn about quality fabrics, don't get too stuck on IKEA and H&M." New Year's Resolution: "Dump my old clothes. Learn to move on. New energy." Fashion motto: "Jeans is the new skin."

Check out Drift, which Dominguez started with his fianc�e and owner of home boutique store Mignonne, Johnelle Mancha. Drift specializes in men's and women's denim from lines like J Brand, Joe's Jeans, and the Proportion of Blu. Plus, tees from Oaklandish, amazingly worn-in leather jackets for men (we're jealous!), stylish hats, bags, earrings, and more. While you're at it, head around the corner to Mancha's delightful home-goods store, where you're sure to find hidden treasures, like a restored vintage kitchen table or graphic-print pillows.

WHERE: Drift, 815 Washington St., Oakland, (510) 444-8815

SHOP TALK This week, it's all about making room for the new. Got a Christmas gift that you can't stomach? Have some items tucked away in your closet that you haven't worn in a year? Spring is just around the corner, and stores are clearing out their merchandise for brighter colors and lighter fabrics. Instead of stocking up on winter items from last season, make room for some fresh new inspiration in your wardrobe. Here are some options for a proper spring cleaning:

1) Sell Them: Always an attractive -- yet elusive -- option, selling clothes for money (that can buy more than a cup of coffee) can be a hassle. The traditional options of selling to secondhand stores like Buffalo Exchange (2585 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, (510) 644-9202) and Crossroads Trading Co. (5636 College Ave., Oakland, (510) 420-1952) can leave you wanting more ... much more. If you're not in immediate need for cash, consignment stores like Maribel (3251 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland, (510) 419-0677) and Rockridge Rags (5711 College Ave., Oakland, (510) 655-2289) give a higher percentage of the sale price, though they can be quite picky. If you're feeling really motivated, start a blog like ShopMyCloset -- an effective and profitable way to skip the middleman, but it requires quite a bit of effort up front. Your best bet may still be eBay. Hint: avoid hagglers on Craigslist.

2) Donate Them: No money, but you're guaranteed to feel just as good, if not better than getting $5 for the sweater you bought for $100. Plenty of places like Goodwill (1220 Broadway, Oakland (510) 834-6123), Salvation Army (601 Webster St., Oakland, CA (510) 451-4514), and the Alta Bates Showcase (5615 College Ave., Oakland, (510) 653-1527) will be more than happy to take all items off your hands. Plus it's tax-deductible! Just beware of the green boxes !

3) Swap Them: Here's the most fun option: Organize your friends for a clothing swap! Clothing swaps have become extremely popular ways for groups of friends to recycle their clothing. Just gather a half-dozen friends, have them bring any unwanted items (clothes, accessories, even appliances will do), dump them into a big pile, and have at it! The host of the swap is responsible for getting rid of any leftovers. They're also a great excuse to mingle with old friends, and as an icebreaker to make new ones!

Gorgeous Arts & Crafts, Great Cause

An auction to benefit the Kim Family in the aftermath of James Kim's death last month runs through Sunday night (Jan. 7) on eBay. If you've got the bucks (because we know you've got the compassion), you can bid on 49 pieces donated by artists, including stuffed toys, jewelry, paintings, and pottery. All proceeds (bids totaled nearly $10,000 as of Friday morning) will go directly to the family. The auction is the brainchild of San Francisco artist Lisa Congdon and her family; Lisa sells her work in the Kims' lower Haight St. store, Doe , and says that the family has been a huge supporter of the local arts community. It's a great idea�and one that we hope will catch on to benefit families reeling from far-less-publicized tragedies, too.

BUY CLUELESS

Has a shopping or style quandary been eating away at you for months? Mere minutes? Whatever the case, it's time to end your agony. Buy Curious will tackle your fashion dilemmas in Buy Clueless, the East Bay's first online fashion advice column. Advice is free, but following it may require forking over some cash. Send your query to buycurious@eastbayexpress.com.

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