We've talked about some tactics for looking great at a low cost in some previous articles (click here and here to see), and thrifting was one of my (favorite) suggestions. It's not only good for the environment (reuse, recycle, ya know), but it can save you some serious money on seriously good items.
Here are 4 of my favorite thrifting finds! (To see descriptions of each outfit, read the text below).
1. Skirt - Etro. Typical brand retail $400 - $2,000. I paid $13 . . . I'm not sure that the shop owner knew this skirt's value.
2. Sweater - John Smedley. Typical brand retail $250. I paid $5. Again, I don't know that the shop owner knew the worth of this 100% merino wool sweater.
3. Dress - Express. Typical brand retail value is about $40. I paid $9.99 at Uptown Cheapskate, my favorite thrift shop from when I lived in Salt Lake City. (Side note - the bag was $1.60 at Charming Charlie).
4. Skirt - The Loft. Typical brand retail around $50. I paid $7 at Uptown Cheapskate. (Seriously, check that place out if you live in the SLC area)! It's a super cute springy skirt. Also, this bag was literally $1 at Charming Charlie's semi annual sale.
There are a lot of connotations associated with the word "fashion". When telling people that fashion fascinates me I get a lot of, “Oh you like fashion . . . well that’s cool. I bet you love shopping!" But it's so much bigger than that. Instances like that illsutrate the discrepency between what the average consumer thinks the fashion industry is, and what it actually is. My goal is to bridge that gap by broadening people's perspective on fashion. I want to help people understand more about what I love in an approachable, interesting, and empowering way. Plus, there is a literal dollar and cents cost for every consumer who misunderstands the industry (but we can get more into that later).
Fashion is a lot cooler, a lot more intellectual, a lot more approachable, and a lot more present in our lives than most care to realize. This blog is going to explore a variety of topics related to fashion by exploring avenues and applications of fashion typically ignored by the media and popular culture. Fashion is a lot more than playing with clothes and it’s a lot more than people looking hot in expensive clothing.
I want to empower people through fashion.
I want people to see that fashion is a rich historical, social, and artistic commentary.
I want people to feel in control of how they represent themselves to the world around them.
Let’s look beyond what fashion is characterized as, and begin coming to grips with the power it has in our cultural atmosphere, economic environment, and self perception.
To a lot of people clothes are just what they plop on their body. They're a necessity, a means of complying with dress codes or appearing “professional”.
Runway fashion has a different goal. Sometimes uneducated consumers measure the value of what they see on the runway by what they see in their wardrobes, when the truth is that runway shows are not trying to depict exactly what you as an individual will be wearing to work the next season.
I view runway shows as art shows, but what is cool is you could potentially wear the pieces, and share the creativity with the world in your own unique way- it’s functional art. High end fashion houses most often are not trying to show you exactly what you should be wearing in your day to day life, rather they’re making statements and spreading ideas that ripple outward and influence the popular cuts, color, and general style of clothing sold from more approachable and affordable retailers throughout the season.
High fashion is stimulating and beautiful, let’s look at a gallery of some beautiful pieces recently in the press.
Rihanna, wearing one of the most memorable pieces of the night, rocked Comme des Garçons at the 2017 Met Gala. The point of this piece is not to be "pretty" or "flattering" in a conventional sense. Its intent is to be freeing, and intriguing, and visually interesting - a goal common to many art forms. (Photo from the NY Times).
In the words of well known stylist Rachel Zoe, “Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak”. Whether we like it or not, our aesthetic goes a long way in communicating components of who we are to the world around us, oftentimes on a very subconscious level. We owe it to ourselves to put our best effort into how we dress. Dressing well relies on you knowing yourself and what you want to convey to others visually. Despite popular belief, tasteful style does not have to be expensive, time consuming or complicated. With smart shopping, dressing well can be exquisitely simple, you just have to figure out what your personal style is.
A lot of developing a personal style that reflects who you are is a process of trial and error. But, the confidence that comes with visually projecting the best version of yourself to the world around you is so satisfying. Here are a few basic tips to streamline your shopping, and help you buy clothing that will really work for you.
1. Fit First. Fit is key.
Top priority with clothing is always fit. You want to shine in your clothing, not be overwhelmed by it. Even an expensive piece of clothing can look bad if it fits wrong, while conversely, “low end” clothing can look fantastic if it fits well.
2. Don’t chase every trend.
Wear what flatters your body type and don’t get too caught up in what’s “trendy”. Not only is dressing very trendily extremely costly, but not every trend flatters every body type, and that is okay. Know yourself, and stick to that.
3. Buy Quality.
A higher price does not always indicate a higher quality. To get the most “bang for your buck” consider the thread count, stitch count, and the fabric content of items prior to purchasing. Fabric contents are always written on a tag somewhere on the clothing. Natural fabrics like real cotton are superior to polyester blends, for example, because polyester blended with other fabrics pills up. If you focus on buying quality items, you’ll spend less money replacing cheaply made clothing.
4. Know when to invest, cover your staples
Everyone’s “staples” vary depending on personal style and needs, but it is important to identify your staples to focus your wardrobe development. Staples should last you a long time, so it is okay to invest in things you will wear again and again. For example, I invested in a black wool coat at age 11 and am still wearing and receiving compliments on it eight years later. Smart shopping pays off.
I can’t overemphasize the importance of developing your own eye for style, and not mindlessly dressing with trends. Trends may serve as inspiration and be something you play off of, but they can never be a substitute for a good sense of style. Bottom line is, when it comes to fashion, you do you.
But what if “you do you” doesn’t seem so simple when it comes to clothing? How do you figure out what your personal style is? There’s no easy answer, but a good place to start is to start just by looking. Look through magazines, fashion sites, and lookbooks before you even head into a store. Find people who dress in a way you like and break their look down piece by piece. What do you like about their outfit? How can you achieve a similar look and put your own spin on it? Come up with a list of a few key items you want the most to direct your shopping efforts. Shop deliberately. If you go into a store without a plan of what you want, you will waste money and most likely make random purchases that won’t satisfy you in the long run. Overall, building a wardrobe is a fun process that when a little bit of thought is invested can pay big dividends.