Trendy vs Classic: start budgeting for your wardrobe!
Growing up in Chicago, I was very much influenced by my many environments. In Chicago there are so many different neighborhoods, different feels, different aesthetics and different ways to dress. Conservative mid-west meets funky-chic Chicago. I’ve worked since I was 15 and when I bought clothes/shoes/purses/accessories, I took very good care of them…they had to last me. In my closet I have highs to lows; expensive pieces, vintage pieces, slightly used to dollar store!!! All different styles: punk, to hip hop, trendy, classic, casual to business.
When I hear or read fashionistas talking about clothes, they must think we are all trust-fund babies and can buy Christian Louboutin when-ever. When people compliment me on my outfits and ask me where I got them, there is a serious strategy behind it. When resources are limited that is when you get super creative and your personal style shines through.
I am going to go through a very quick way of how I budgeted for my unique wardrobe throughout the years and make some key points to remember. (I will attack this subject again later).
When cleaning out your closet, take inventory (mentally) of what you own. Keep things organize with hanging shelves and separators. If you have an idea of what is in your closet, it will lessen the urge to shop recklessly. I recommend playing dress-up. In “The Style Strategy” by Nina Garcia she references the scene in Sex and the City when Carrie cleans out her closet for the BIG move. She was playing dress-up with her girlfriends and having champagne. Nina even recommended a playlist. Playing dress up will force you to reinvent new styles in your closet without spending money. Which in-turn helps you save money for that must have expensive piece you can get later.
Can good pieces be fixed? If I have something that I love and I put a little snag or hole in it …if I can save it, I will! If I can take a pair of shoes to be fixed, or if a blouse can be mended, or a pocket can be added or a brooch…that’s a save!
These fabrics can last a lifetime if taken care of properly: wool, cotton, silk.
Lower-quality fabrics: acrylics and knits can look worn out after a while, which can distract a well-crafted outfit and take it to a cheap level.
Shopping: Look at labels/fabrics and where it was made.
First and foremost, I will always support local designers! If it was made in the U.S.A, it something that I want and love, it is made well, and it is on the pricer side, don’t worry I have saved for you.
Cheap vs Bargain:
I am not a fan of those teeny bopper stores, never have been even in High School. I try to stay away from largely manufactured stores with lots of trends. My fashion finds are in boutiques and vintage stores. Don’t get me wrong, shopping is shopping. If I see something I like, even at Target…and can add a little bedazzle, I am going to get it.
I never recommend buying an outfit from a mannequin, that means there is going to be a bunch of people walking around with that same outfit…you are not distinguishing yourself (boring).
I like to pair up my classic pieces with a current trend. That will keep the outfit fresh.
This blouse I have had for almost a decade and it is flawless. I have paired it with everything from jeans/shorts to skirts. The fabric label is worn off, but if I had to guess it is a polyester blend. I have paired it in this picture with a cotton pencil skirt from top shop. Ankle platform strappy heels from a local boutique, and the jewelry was a find in my armoire that I forgot about.
When I am vintage shopping and I see a find…I immediately look at the fabric to make sure it will last me. Dollar store buys are for that outfit that needs a little tank…or something I can add chunky, loud jewelry to. Then that tank won’t take away from the jewelry or funky shoes. (you’d be surprised…I have dollar store tanks that have lasted me years…made in U.S.A and strong cotton).
While starting to put these practices into play, it can help you save money and start finding your own style. Then you can have fun expressing yourself creatively.