I really never knew what I was, until October 2008 when I received an email from my friend. It read, “Have you seen today’s style section? It’s you, you are the original recessionista”. And as I read Natasha Singer’s article “A Label for a Pleather Economy,” I had my first aha moment (you know the ones Oprah is always going on about). And all these years I thought I was just cheap.
I’ve always loved to look good, but was never a slave to designer labels (although I know and covet them all). In Style magazine and Lucky have always been my personal Torah. But, I did not fit the “fashionista” mold. The difference was I had Neiman’s taste and a Ross budget.
Today, as the stock market dips and savings accounts dwindle it has become chic to “dress for less”. We can still look like a million without spending a bundle. It is my time to come out of the closet, embrace my inner recssionista and teach you to find yours. I confess…
I shop in my own Closet. Each season I begin by doing a clean out. Come on ladies, I bet you don’t even know what you have in there. And what you find may be a pleasant surprise. Be honest. Get rid of anything that doesn’t fit you well, or things you will never wear again (or have never worn). Bring items that are in good shape to a consignment shop and earn cash for your trash. Add this cash to you shopping budget and you are ahead of the game! Likewise, bring forward forgotten treasures, and enjoy the “everything old is new again“ feeling you get from wearing them.
I love a good sale more than sex (or chocolate). I love to scour the racks for bargains at discounters like Marshals, Ross and Nordstrom’s Rack. Make this your hobby. Find out what days new merchandise goes out on the floor and be there. Likewise sign up for your favorite retailers websites and mailing lists. You will get valuable coupons and be notified of special sales. Finding a good bargain is the best shopping high.
I wear skimpy Tee’s. Why spend a lot of money for a piece of cotton. Yes the quality and styling of a Michael Stars, James Perse or Splendid Tee, may be marginally better. Stick a tank top under one from Old Navy or Target, so they don’t look so thin and pair them with you designer jeans and you look equally fabulous.
I show off my ASSets and you should too! No buts about it, this is where you should invest. But the good news is taking care of your bottoms will make them last, and jean styles don’t change so much year to year. You can wear what flatters you best be it, boyfriend, boot cut, wide leg, high waist, low cut, or skinny. So take care of those $200.00 jeans you bought during the bull market so you won’t be caught bare.
When I can’t shop I swap. It’s super fun to shop with you favorite gal pals. It is equally as fun to shop in their closets. Start an open closet policy with a friend, or simply swap things that you no longer use. Each of you will end up with something “new to you”. It’s all the fun of shopping without spending a penny.
When I need to economize I accessorize. When shopping for new clothes each season is simply out of the question, turn to accessories to inject fashion into your wardrobe. By finding great scarves, jewelry, belts, and even sunglasses, you can make your old styles look new and fresh again. Again, scour the racks at your local discounters and look for sales.
It’s in the Bag! Nothing says what you are all about more than your bag. A high-end bag can make your Isaac Mizrahi (for target) dress; look like a great Neimans find. It can and does, change the feel and look of any outfit. Nothing else in you wardrobe has this power. You can and should invest here. Value is in the cost per wear. You wear your bag every day; therefore a $600.00 bag translates to approximately $1.64 a day. Come on you spend more then that on latte’s. Great designer bags can be found discounted on-line, at the large retailers during end of season sales and on Ebay. Fill in around your one great bag with fun throwaways, again from your fav discounters. You’ll fool people into thinking you’ve spent a lot on those too.
IF clothes make the man, shoes make the woman. Would you wear high heels on a hike or sneakers to the spring gala? A gal can never have too many shoes. Although, I’d love to have a pair of Jimmy Choo’s or Manolo’s, I’m loath to admit I don’t. My shoe collection is diverse and decidedly fun. I prefer quantity to quality in the shoe department. I would rather have 10 pairs of fun ballet flats and flip flops then one pair of Manolo’s. And don’t forget if you have invested in some great shoes that have been well worn, take them to the shoemaker to be reborn. He (and his elves) can resole, reheel, and revive just about any pair.
So share my motto for the new economy; Look chic with a bit of fashion savvy!