There are people out there who never wear the same outfit twice. Think of the scandal in the fashion news years ago when Helena Bonham Carter wore the very same plaid dress not just on two, but three separate occasions. Three functions, same dress. Scandalous!
Actually, I admit the whole affair made me like Helena Bonham Carter even more than I already did. When you have an ensemble you’re fond of, and it makes you look and feel fabulous, why not wear the outfit whenever you feel like it? Who makes these rules, anyway?
But the truth remains, that to appear fashionable you can’t wear the exact same thing every single day. On several separate occasions, yes (go Helena!), but not every day.
But there are things you can do to look movie star smart on a clerk’s budget. Money, in the end, doesn’t matter. I’ve seen many wealthy women who don’t have an eye for fashion and don’t pull off whatever look they’re going for, God bless their little hearts, and what’s on the inside matters more, anyway.
But if you want to look good on the outside too for a song, here are some tips.
Buy the Basics—Cheaply
Remember when Sharon Stone wore a button-down shirt from The Gap with a Vera Wang skirt? To the Oscars?!?
Okay, I didn’t really intend for this article to be a walk down celebrity outfits’ memory lane, but you get the idea. You can wear the same kind of ensemble. (Maybe not to the Oscars, one can’t have everything.)
But you can buy the basics that are the foundation of a great outfit from places like The Gap. You can even take it one step further and buy some basics on eBay from The Gap if you want to save even more.
Because let’s face it, you don’t need designer plain black leggings for $300. Or a $500 turtleneck. Get a basic, good quality version of these on sale at a department store or from The Gap, and save your money for a few stellar pieces that stand out.
Which brings us to …
Buy a Few Stellar Pieces That Stand Out
I’m not one to spend a ton of money on a handbag. Truth be told, I’m a notorious thrifter. But once I saw a woman with a kelly green bag I fell in love with, and I stalked her until I could make out the little tag on the purse.
Eventually, I bought one. Whenever I use that purse, I get at least one compliment that day. The company makes handmade leather bags in the UK in every color of the rainbow.
Wear some cool neutral colors, some chunky shoes, and earrings with a hint of color that compliments the bag, and you’re set.
The company is called Zatchels. If you’d like one, sign up for their emails and wait for a good sale and for when the dollar is strong. I couldn’t bring myself to spend $100, but I did manage to snag one for $85 during a good sale and when I’d saved a bit.
Another show-off piece can be found at RIISH, a website that caters to modest fashion. Originally made as head coverings, their luxe scarves can be used as a wrap or shawl. The large size of each scarf lends itself to a creative hand, to drape and style in a bold fashion statement. These small touches can make a huge impact, and they hardly cost a thing.
While you’re there, check out their tunics and handmade items. Their make-up line also has much to offer.
Rent Designer or Buy Second-Hand
For big events, though, you might want to consider renting a killer dress. Online stores like RTR (Rent the Runway) let you borrow an outfit you might never afford to buy.
On the whole, though, I’d rather own the clothes and buy them second hand from a vintage shop or an online store that features well-made, designer clothes that are made to last. Pick some classic styles you can wear again and again, and you’ll save big in the end.
But some people do prefer to rent and consistently change their look, and if that suits you, rentals are a great resource.
If you have a big, one-time event, it’s an excellent way to go.
Otherwise, I’d prefer to own from a second-hand resource like Thred Up.
At the end, how you feel about how you look matters the most. How you carry yourself and the attitude you give off will be the biggest fashion “Do” you can contribute. Create a style and go out in the world with the best of yourself, and don’t worry about it anymore. Enjoy your life.