The Not So 'Real' Reality.
Fashion week is upon us/finishing up/finished, and recently I was looking at an article by a very popular 'fashion blog/site that shan't be named'. I won't name it because it doesn’t matter. Quite a few of the fashion blogs are the same: no everyday people wearing affordable clothing and accessories.
There’s nothing wrong with having a wish list of really expensive items that you want. But when you have to save up for these items like you would when buying a house it is just sad. Why not have a list of items that are within your reach right now?
Often, during New York Fashion week, there are plenty o’ slideshows of those fashionable fashionistas in attendance. When they show pics of the 'everyday person on the street' these people are wearing ridiculously priced pieces of clothing that are usually over the top avant garde (or just bootay ooglelay,--that’s ugly--for those of you not fluent in Tracie speak…),everyone seems to come from the planet Size 2, and all of the ‘everyday folks’…they all have names like Martinashala, Furlina and Apricot and are the interns from some chic chic fashion house. Also, how do these chicks afford a $200 tee shirt working as an intern? Your guess is as good as mine, but I am here to tell you that looking great doesn't mean you won't be able to buy groceries this month or that you have to have access to the wardrobe room at a fashion magazine.
How Does This Work?
So how can you be super adorable and super fashionable without breaking the bank? First things first: stop buying crap and wasting your money, most importantly expensive crap. This is the #1 rule that you must abide by. Can’t get around it. How do you determine if something is crap? Well you look at it of course.
- Are the inside seams of the clothing finished or raw? You want finished.
- Look at where two pieces of the garment are sewn together, gently pull both sides away from each other. Is the seam coming apart? It shouldn’t.
- Are there numerous (serious) online complaints from store customers where you are buying your items concerning quality?
- Have you bought several pieces from a particular store where the clothing or accessories only last a couple months?
- Is a necklace falling apart before you even leave the store? Are all links and rings closed?
- Look for quality fabrics and ones that will maintain their shape. My favorites are natural ones that usually don’t melt when you attempt to iron them. This means no pleather allowed.
- Check straps and soles of shoes and make sure everything is secure.
The second step is to invest money in quality items that can be used for more than one type of event or activity:
- Separates that can move from brunch to business to partaaaay! This isn’t always possible but do please try. You will get more mileage out of the items you buy if they are versatile.
- Find jewelry that is distinctive and well made that can be worn with lots of different outfits. You don’t have to go to a major fashion house and spend $1000 to get great jewelry. A great artist might be right down the street. Even better, a smaller artisan operation may be willing to work with you on the price. Check out sites like Artfire, Etsy, and Luulla. Urban Temple Jewelry (my little jewelry machine) produces museum style, culturally influenced pieces that can be worn everyday with just about anything. I would totally rock a layaway style payment plan if someone really wants a piece that I have made. Though I do work for money, I work for the love of art and I want all of my pieces to have a good home. I’m sure that a lot of artists (not all of them) would feel the same way. You never know until you ask.
One necklace three ways:
- Third, try being thrifty. There are a couple of ways to do this:
- Go to the thrift store. There are still great finds to be had in the thrift stores, Goodwill, and Salvation Army. They haven’t all been found. People donate more stuff everyday. Try stores that are off the beaten path where there might not be as much traffic. You are sure to find something that not everyone else has.
- Check out the racks at your local discount store trinity. What is the ‘trinity’ you ask? Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, and Ross. In recent years the pickings aren’t as good as they used to be but still worth a look. Approach sales and clearance racks with the knowledge that things in these discount stores are discounted for a reason. Even if you can’t see it or predict it you will always find out the reason why things are in one of the stores in the trinity. Maybe it is just about colors or the season but there may be another issue.
And fourth, and most important, if you do buy super duper cheap pieces take care of them; actually even if they aren’t super cheap take care of your items and make them last. In this way, your clothing and accessories become more than a simple closet of clothes, shoes, hats etc., but an actual collection. So if shoes are looking a little ratty—shine em’. Something’s got a hole or the seam is coming apart—sew it. In this way when you do make an investment, even a $10 one off the clearance rack of some discount store, it will be a good one.