The BSU Fashionista Diaries
By Nikki Osei
The fashion recession affects designers; merchandise buyers, boutiques, and inevitably customers. According to http://www.marketplace.org/, "Buyers for boutiques and big department stores are faced not just with what to buy for a recession, but how much. If they order too much, they'll get stuck with inventory and take losses. But if they order too little, they lose profits and customers".
Boutiques are going out of business and those that remain are losing money. In attempts to salvage profits, there are weekly sales at all stores. I'm talking about 50 to 75 percent off all purchases! Great for us, sucks for the establishment. Despite the sales, many must be frugal and handle necessities, leaving us pining away for a shopping fix. I wouldn't quite label myself as a total recessionista, I'd say semi. However, my weekly sprees are no more. Sigh... those were the days. My shopping has been limited to bi-weekly... and the clothing no longer covers the register! Sure, there's a lot in the closet, but popping tags is an insatiable addiction.
So how does the newly frugal fashionista/recessionista cope? There are many ways to preserve flawlessly fabulous fashionistas status while avoiding financial devastation. If you have some extra cash, take advantage of the never-ending sales. Invest in must haves like shoes, handbags, jewelry, dresses, tees, and denim. I am not really a jean girl, but you really can dress then up. Shoes, handbags, and jewelry perk up any fit. I heart dresses because they are always feminine, but can be dainty, sexy, professional, romantic, etc. I love them more because you throw on a dress and are left to worry about shoes and jewels.
I cannot say it enough ladies, visit the thrift stores! One man's trash is another's treasure. Spend a day thrift hopping in Rockville, Bethesda, Takoma Park, Georgetown, or visit your local thrift shops. You will be amazed at what you find and the bonus is your pieces will be exclusive! I am so all over vintage right now. Most are obsessed with the 80s, and there is no better place to find authentic 80s gear than the thrift store. Plus the jewelry is sick; big, gaudy, and one of a kind. Consignment shops are serious too. They are not as inexpensive as thrift stores, but there will be exclusivity in your finds and they won't totally break the bank. Remember, what is old is now new.
Ebay is a great place for clothes, shoes, and handbags. Again you will discover rare, limited finds. There are many vintage boutiques with clothes to die for, for less than $40 bucks! Be weary though especially with high priced items. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. The limited edition Balenciaga Arena Weekender should not be $200. Only bid on or purchase items from sellers with high feedback scores and PayPal options.
Instead of blowing all your cash in one spree, invest in one piece at a time. I know it's painful to leave the ensemble of life in the store, but you need to eat and get gas right? Purchase one garment per week and at the end of the month you have four great new additions to mix and match within your wardrobe. If you are shopping at F21 or H&M maybe you can splurge and buy two pieces, but if you are in Bebe, Benetton, Express, Urban Outfitters, Off 5th, Loft, Banana Republic, etc, you have to breathe, slowly peruse the racks, pick out everything you heart, and then narrow it down to the "I-die-without'' piece.
Online shopping is great for the recessionista as there are better deals. There are also different items online vs. in store. Recently, I purchased shoes from Aldo, which were on "sale." I was so excited, but my excitement was short lived. I went home and logged on to Aldo.com and the same shoes were $60 less! Can you say complete devastation? On another occasion, I was searching Urban Outfitters.com and found awesome Cheap Monday leather shorts on sale for $10! The original price was $90! Patricia Field.com has steals as well. Always look online before shopping in store. You can save stacks shopping via Internet. Only con is that you have to wait (impatiently) for your packages to arrive or there may be sizing issues. Remember to only order from reputable websites and/or if they have a Pay Pal option, use it.
Another tip is to shop your closet. Pull everything out and you will find pieces you overlooked or forgot you had. Time to reintroduce them and create new fits. Please do not be a repeat offender though, meaning do not rock what you believe to be your fiercest fit, over and over and over again. Times are hard but they are not that hard.
Finally, shop your friends' closets. I am out of luck since I do not have many friends and the few I do have do not wear the same as I. If you have a BFF and are blessed to be the same size, then go for it. By doing so, you have doubled your wardrobe! Make sure you return items clean, as you received them, and in a timely manner.
The warm weather is approaching, brightly colored clothing is out, and there is nothing like new (or new/old) clothes to lift ones spirits. We have to stretch our dollars a bit further, but as Tim Gunn from Project Runway says, "make it work!" The financial crunch does not justify looking frowzy. Until next time, remember, "A lady should always be classy and fabulous". xoxo