Whether or not we'd like to face it, we've been in a recession for quite some time now. Jobs: decreasing, pay raises: non-existent, taxes: high, wallets: empty- basically the economy stinks. However, there are highs in the midst of the lows. Growing up, my mom has always taught me savvy money-saving tips. She said you never know when a "rainy day" may come, so you always need to be prepared.
So how does one stay fabulous when frivolous items such as clothing, shoes and accessories are at the bottom of the "needs" list? Fear not, for I have come up with a list:
1. Be creative. As a kid, my mom never believed in spending much money for clothing, so I learned to be creative with my stuff-- wearing rainbow shoelaces on a pair of old shoes, doodling on sweaters/t-shirts, finding new combinations for outfits, the list goes on. Fast forward to current times... mix n' match your outfits in ways you never though possible. Out with the matchy-matchy (that was soo 1990s), in with the clashing of colors and prints. Look to fashion blogs for inspiration and see how people all over the world are cleverly putting together their outfits.
A few that I love: Who What Wear, The Sartorialist, Garance Dore, Lookbook.nu, Chictopia, and Sea of Shoes to name a few.
2. Shop smart. Words to the oblivious: sale racks are always in the back and for good reason. The stuff on the mannequins are nearly never on sale, neither are the ones in the window display. When walking into a store, bypass the greeters and walk directly towards the back and you will find your plunder. Recession pro: the sales. Do not buy an item only because it is a good deal, if you don't need it, it is still a waste of space and money. After you are done plowing through the mess of clothes and have or have not found any items to purchase, walk back towards the front of the store to "window-shop" for ideas. See how they have put together outfits and take note of how you can use the items you already have to re-create a look.
3. Be selective. If you ask my husband, he will tell you that I bring in a scary amount of clothing to try in the fitting rooms and come out with one item or none. Be super picky with what you intend on purchasing, no matter the cost. Unless it is a good deal and you can sew, make sure the item fits well and that the colors flatter your skin tone. Not every color is meant for every "color."
4. Shop second-hand. I know some of you may cringe at the thought of this, but there is treasure to be found in these messy, horribly-lit stores. I have found leather bags and bottoms for $1. If it's more than $5, you can probably find it at Target (unless it's a designer brand) and probably isn't worth it. Remember, you are not paying for the atmosphere, so be focused with what you intend on buying. Just steer away from the underwear...
5. Accessorize. Forever 21 is the goldmine of cheap accessories. A scarf, bold necklace, earrings, etc. can instantly update your outfits for less than $10. The dollar store can also have an array of random accessories. Pair them with basics and you're set.
6. Back to the basics. Something as understated as a simple basic tee can look fantastic with accessories or paired with practically anything. Stock up on these items as they never fade with the trends and can be easily updated. For these, it may be worth it to spend a little extra money.
7. Budget. Vowing never to spend a dime for an entire year on clothing is setting yourself up for failure. Be reasonable with yourself and set a practical budget for each month. If you have trouble maintaining it, have a friend keep you accountable.
8. Be content. Sometimes we're so focused on buying that we neglect the things in our closet. Some of us may even have tags still hanging on our clothes. Before you shop, take a good look at your closet and ask yourself if you really need another pair of jeans or shoes. Appreciate what you already have and be creative with your wardrobe.
Urban Outfitters featuring Reformed & Nom De Plume YaYa