Here are a few fashion strategies for tough times. Until the economy picks up a bit, it’s probably a good idea to get creative when you assemble your outfits these days. As the recession has been vamping up for awhile, I have had ample opportunity to observe the “frugalistas” around me in their efforts to maintain their fashion groove, and to employ a few of their ideas within my own wardrobe. Here’s a summary of ideas from me and from people other than me, and where the ideas are borrowed, I shall label them as such.
Thrift stores are enjoying a resurgence in popularity these days. Formerly haunted mainly by university students, artists and people of dire need, it is now cool to shop at thrift stores. Indeed, I have heard many recountings of thrift store finds of designer brand apparel and perfectly new items. As an item of note, many fashion models like to shop at thrift stores and vintage clothing stores. In fact, Kate Moss even designs clothing based on inspiration from her thrift store finds. The attraction is that most thrift store items cannot be found at either Macy’s or Neiman Marcus, so the likelihood of one producing an original outfit with them is significantly higher. And what kind of savings are we talking about? I saw a woman in a thrift store buy four pairs of pants and three blouses for about $20. Try and beat that in a regular retail store. This is definitely a great transitional strategy till things pick up a bit.
Another possibility is to mine your friends’ and relatives’ closets. Hey, go ahead and mine other people’s closets as well! Many people these days are getting together at clothing swap parties. You show up with all of your worst clothing purchases (wrong color, wrong fit, or your spouse hates it) and then trade away. If you’re unemployed, this is a great excuse to get out of the house for a bit and nibble on hors d’oeuvres and white wine. This is not my idea – I borrowed it from Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine, from their wonderful book What You Wear Can Change Your Life. The great thing about this strategy is that it’s free, free, free! Trinny and Susannah are fashion goddesses in their own right, and offer sound advice on how to dress well on a budget.
You can very well check here at Trinny and Susannah’s official website or visit their showroom or branch depending on the city you are living in because they are quite a popular brand with many franchises across the globe.
As we all well know, accessories create the outfit, right? This idea costs a little money, so brace yourself – make your own fashion accessories. This is not nearly as hard as you may think, and if you get really good at it, after the economy picks up you may have a new way to augment your paycheck. Here’s an idea for you – there are a number of single-cord choker necklaces, made of woven or interlinked metal, that have clasps which are thin enough to string on a number of wide-holed beads. Two of my favorites are the omega necklace and the Pandora necklace. There are Pandora bracelets too, by the way. Pick up a bunch of pendants and/or wide-holed beads and you have a potential variety of necklaces. If you’re handy with a sewing machine, try making your own scarves. They even have patterns for this in the fabric store, along with patterns for making your own handbags.
On the off-chance that you have a few bucks to spend, there are a number of retail stores that spawn imitations of popular fashion designer pieces at cut-rate prices. My personal favorite is H amp; M (in fact, I own quite a few H amp; M pieces!), but there are many others as well. If H amp; M is beyond your budget, consider some of the discount stores like Ross or Marshall’s. I love the fact that you can prowl through their racks and see numerous clones of haute couture items. Of course, the quality of these items is the sticking point – don’t expect to own them forever – but you may not want to own them forever, so who cares?
Although you may want to throw a brick at me for saying this, this is actually an opportunity in disguise. The key to maintaining your fashion groove is to truly bring all of who you are into your wardrobe. I think this is harder when you have lots of money, because your first impulse is to take the easy road and spend it – to not think about it quite as much. If you track down accessories you truly love, however you acquire them, you won’t feel as much of a compulsion to just automatically buy stuff off the rack. And your accessories will draw countless inquiries of, “Where did you buy that? Where can I get it?”
So, these fashion strategies for tough times might make your non-tough times even better, in the long run. You’ll have more to wear, and you’ll really enjoy what you wear. You will attract friends and lovers who will want to know everything about you, forever, and find you endlessly interesting. You will be hired by every employer who interviews you – in fact, they might even have bidding wars over you! So don’t fret. Good days are coming, so you might as well get ready and be dressed for them.