By Jessie Archambault



When Gillian Macdonald went on a shopping spree with an Ottawa resale expert Deborah Haig to revamp her style cheaply, she had a few surprises.

The Times paired Macdonald, a justice studies Algonquin student, with Haig on Oct. 22 with the goal of matching her clothing to her skin tone and personal style. The inspiration was Kate Moss and New York City girl.

“She had some cool insights,” said Macdonald, 19, of the shopping expert.

Haig is the author of The Naked Shopper, a book dedicated to guide readers through the various steps of finding their personal style in a fun and fabulous way for cheap.

Resale shopping consists of seeking for used items in thrifts shops or consignment stores.

This particular type of shopping is how Haig managed to save money through the years while raising her two sons and buy a house. She wants others to be able to do the same.

“I put everything in there that could be useful,” she said of her book.

She doesn’t want people to overspend. “It’s all about saving. I never pay full price,” said Haig.

The single mother of two full-grown sons knows about students. She’s hosted over 30 international students in her home for the past 12 years.

“I help give them a good start in Canada in a family environment that is secure,” she said.

“All students are on a budget,” said Haig. They used to resale shop out of necessity, but now they also do it because they want to look good, she said.

Macdonald didn’t think one could find designer clothes in a thrift shop. But on the shopping spree with Haig, she found a brand new little black Versace dress for $15.

Macdonald is the youngest of her seven siblings and has had many passed down clothes over the years. She isn’t a fan of resale shopping and prefers buying her own new clothes at stores like H&M or Garage.

“I’ve never found anything that suited me,” she said of her past experience in thrift shops.

The resale expert shopper said the most important thing to remember when shopping is to have a purpose.

“Don’t get distracted while shopping so you don’t get away from the mission,” she said.

Haig has been resale shopping for the past 20 years. “I’m a shopaholic,” she said with a smile.

When working at Loyalist College as an assistant to the dean and desktop publishing professor, Haig was considered the best dressed woman in the college, she said. She used to make her own clothes and repurpose pieces such an old coat to make it funkier.

The Naked Shopper author also relates to students because she is young at heart.

“I have a younger spirit that doesn’t allow me to go beyond a certain age,” she said.

Typically, students want to look good on any given occasion.

Resale shopping is a way to have “accessible fashion for everyone,” said Haig. Students are already challenged financially to build their future, so this is a way to save money for them, she added.

They can look amazing and pay next to nothing, said Haig.

Even though Haig is a regular resale shopper, she also visits retail stores once in a while.

“I always go to the sales section,” she said of the first thing she does upon entering a store.

If there are deep discounts, savings still happen even if it’s not resale, she said.

Students have a lot of expenditures and her book proposes tips and tricks to reduce spending in at least one of the categories: clothing.

Macdonald’s father resale shops often. She accompanies him sometimes. “It’s fun to look,” she said.

She prefers looking at old furniture and dishes, she said, even if she still lives at home. She rarely looks at used clothes but remains open-minded, just in case.

“It’s awesome to find good deals on stuff that we’re interested in,” said Macdonald.