With spring comes new trends, new looks, new fashion! It’s super exciting and if you love fashion, it’s hard to step out of the cycle. Sometimes, though, circumstances are such that investments in new clothing just can’t be a priority. I was in that situation several years ago when I was very sick for a long period of time and unable to work a steady job. I just didn’t have the money to spend on fashion. One of the hardest things for me was the negativity that came from seeing things I loved and but couldn’t afford. If you’re in one of those economic periods, don’t succumb to the negativity – it’s the path to the dark side! ;) I found that instead, I needed to focus on what I did have and the things I could do. For example…
-Work with the classic pieces that are in your wardrobe. Separate out the iconic items you already own and think of it as creating a capsule collection. Pieces that never go out of style give you a solid base to work from when building looks.
-Use accessories to change up your look and keep an eye out for them in unexpected places (I ransacked my childhood dress-up jewelry box and found some surprisingly awesome pieces that worked really well). Excavate pieces you haven’t worn in awhile; an old item rediscovered can feel like something new and helps to keep you feeling creative.
-DIY where you can. I made a fun (and super simple!) pendant necklace from an old belt buckle and black cording by adding a couple of knots in appropriate places. It’s not fancy, but it’s unique and very personal. I get compliments on it every time I wear it.
-Keep your footwear clean and polished. Polish can cover scuffs and reinvigorate well-worn pairs. I found I always felt better wearing shoes that looked fresh and presentable – a lesson I’ve made use of even now that I’ve been back working for a few years.
-Treat yourself to some inexpensive new item now and again. Stick with pieces that are likely to have lower price points: tops, jewelry, scarves, shoes as opposed to investment items like overcoats or suits . Make it an “unbirthday” gift to yourself, or a treat for accomplishing something worthwhile (finishing a project, getting to the gym every day for a week, sending out ten resumes). It doesn’t have to cost a lot to have something new to enjoy that satisfies the desire for freshness and helps release that feeling of being trapped by not having a lot of money. Think of it as buying really well instead of being on a limited budget. Having a positive concept associated with what you’re doing makes it feel completely different than looking at it negatively.
-When you do that, have a spend-limit in mind and shop for new additions only in particular places, curated to help you stay within budget. I would only let myself look at sale items, nothing new. I would sort items by price and stop looking at anything over my spend-limit.
-Don’t give up on style – keep challenging yourself. If you have pieces you find difficult or rarely wear, try to find ways to make them work. I figured out so much about layering during this time in my life because I was so desperate for something different that I kept playing with pieces I never had time to figure out how to use before. Also, stop saving pieces for special occasions and work them into your wardrobe; it can feel like a massive option-expansion when they’re suddenly on the table. Toss a jacket over a formal dress and add boots to dress it down. Grab those gorgeous satin evening sandals and pair them with jeans. Also, be aware of your go-tos and consciously try something different. If you wear a lot of jewelry habitually, try going bauble-free. If you rarely wear it, try layering it up. Try color combinations you ordinarily wouldn’t – if you live in neutrals, create a look entirely without them. If you’re always all about color, try wearing monochromatic black. Also, try layering in unexpected ways: a sweater under a sleeveless dress, a cropped piece over something longer. Or, give your accessories new jobs: wear a scarf around your wrist or waist instead of at your neck, use a brooch as the closure for a cardigan or jacket.
-To help with all of that, keep yourself inspired. Don’t tune fashion out, but look for places that offer inspiration for using what you already have. Instead of retailer blogs or magazines that tend to be about the latest everything, look to fashion bloggers (insert shameless plug for Diva-Fierce here, if you choose :)…Sea of Shoes would be one of my top choices as well) and style icons. The right bloggers connect you to wearable, functional street fashion and the icons connect you to classic style.
Please don’t let a lack of funds make you feel like you can’t be stylish. Creativity, experimentation and a real love for and appreciation of fashion are all free! Keep trying things and having fun. Style isn’t about expenditure; it’s about what you put together and how you wear it; you can do that at any budget.
Brie (Hi!) More re: me under About. I'm the moving spirit behind this little life-meets-fashion fairy tale world, the home of my non-wrestling-related style musings and loves.