Monday, November 16, 2009

Shop smart, Stay Stylish.

In this economy, everyone is looking for ways to scale back their budgets without totally ruining their quality of life. This mentality has stretched across every economic sector, and fashion has not remained unscathed. Terms like frugalista, and recessionista have emerged to replace the overspending trendy fashionista, which describe women who, while saving money, and cutting costs still want to remain fashionable. Throughout the past year, magazines and popular culture have admonished women to cut back on shopping. There was even a trend in NYC during which women making extravagant purchases concealed their bounty in brown paper bags to hide the designer names and blatant signal that they have just spent money *GASP* on themselves and their own beauty. This fall, however, the tide is changing with the season, and the predominant mood no longer condemns shopping, but recommends shopping in moderation. As long as we make intelligent, well-considered purchases, no one criticizes one of the most basic pleasures of feeling a little pretty, a little feminine, or a little womanly.

Nina Garcia, of Elle and Marie Claire magazine recommends three easy steps to make sure we aren’t lured in by the impulse buys of 50% off sales and trends that may seem alluring in the dressing room, but all out of place once put in your closet. The first is to take an inventory of the items we already own. Too many of us lose sight of all of the wonderful gems hidden in our seasonal storage units, our overly jam-packed closet, or our disorganized drawers. Garcia suggests playing dress up in our own closets, with our own makeup to try out new outfit combinations, and refresh our memories about exactly what we have. Some suggest taking this inventory to the next level, and making a digitized photo look book of our favorite blouse, skirt and heel combos to save to our laptops for the next time we are having an outfit crisis. Simply flip through the looks we’ve already put together and snapped photos of, and suddenly picking out an outfit doesn’t seem so daunting.

Next on the to-do list is to make a need list. These aren’t the guilty pleasure items, like liquid leather leggings that will match so perfectly with our ruffley purple tuxedo dress, but the classic items that we lack, but oh-so-desperately need. These include a black pencil skirt, a navy suit, a classic trench, a go-anywhere LBD, and a solid pair of pumps and boots. The list could go on. If you could picture yourself wearing it to work, dinner, and a date or in ten years, it’s a need, not a want. This list will help you stay focused once you are out in the shopping world, bombarded by all of its trends and temptations. Make a copy of this list to keep in your wallet. A quick reference to it will bring you back to your goals and budget restrictions while out and about.

Finally, go shopping and enjoy yourself. Don’t be afraid to spend a little money on the essentials. It can seem like a devastating budget blow to put several hundred dollars down on one item, but we are putting this money into quality purchases, not quantity. The items that you need should last you many years to come. If you break down how many times you wear those classic Frye riding boots by the actual cost, you will find out that it comes down to mere pennies per wear, as opposed to the $80 spent on a discounted forest green purse covered in zippers and chains that will languish in your closet and be out of style next year. Shop smart, stay stylish.

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