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Tag Archives: Fashion
I’m seriously considering switching to thrifting as the majority of my purchases.
I am thinking 75% of my clothing budget this year should be secondhand.
Not 100%, because I won’t buy used underwear, socks or intimates but for things like sweaters, tops, dresses, purses, jewellery… I’m starting to get more and more into the idea.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THRIFTED AND USED CLOTHING
Photograph of my wardrobe
Thrifted: Goodwill, Salvation Army, Value Village — all places where people donate clothes and things for free by the garbage bag.
Consignment: People drop off higher quality, nice things for resale, and get a percentage when the item sells, usually 40% – 60%.
You will see mostly designer brands like Marc Jacobs, Chloe, Louis Vuitton or high street designer-y brands like J. Crew, or Anthropologie here.
This is my preferred place for used clothes shopping, mostly because people who care about their clothes, want their money back (or as much of it as possible), and tend to take fairly good care of their items.
(At least, I do…)
In no particular order, here are the reasons for me to consider doing so:
REASON #1: IT’S CHEAPER THAN NICER STUFF AT RETAIL
I’ve scored plenty of great deals on clothes and things, at a fraction of the original retail cost.
A few of my great scores:
- Hermes Cashmere & Silk Sweater = $200, originally thousands of dollars
- Cashmere Sweaters = $30, originally $200 – $800 per sweater
- DKNY Grey Swavroski Necklace Collar T-Shirt = $20, originally $300
Since I won’t be paying the full retail price of the item, it is technically not that hot for the economy because I wouldn’t be buying anything that is newly produced, but I’d contribute by helping consignment and thrift stores grow their business, and it gives money back to those who sold their clothes, and they can go spend that money.
But it isn’t as cheap as a $5 top because I actually want higher quality clothing (I’m not necessarily focused on brand names).
REASON #2: IT ISN’T CHEAP IN THE WAY THAT WILL KILL ME
I never thought about chemicals in the processing of clothing, but it makes so much sense now.
I won’t say that I believe everything I read from GreenPeace 100% without a grain of salt, but it still makes me think more about the choices I make with my money.
REASON #3: I ALREADY HAVE A BASIC WARDROBE
I really don’t need any clothes, so it becomes a great thing if I DON’T find anything that is my size, or in the colour I like.
…but if I do, what a find!!!!
I’d be talking about my finds until my future grandchildren run from the room.
REASON #4: ENSLAVED & POOR CONDITIONS FOR CHEAP LABOUR FOR CHEAP CLOTHES IS DISTRESSING
Katy wrote about Bangledeshi workers who were trapped in their factories, dying from fires, while trying to produce clothing for H&M, Wal-Mart, Gap, and J.C. Penney.
I’m already not a huge fan of China because of a wide range of reasons (politically, socially, economically, ethically, environmentally), and it bothers me slightly that literally everything I touch, is Made in China.
We all know why it’s made in China, too.
I’m not saying other countries are better or that I can be guaranteed that the fabric purchased to be made into clothing by North American or European countries has not been originally sourced from China.
It’s just really tough, and physically painful to read about, and see heartbreaking videos of children chained to machines just to produce newly made cheap clothing for our greedy consumption.
REASON #5: IT’S BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Buying used means another new sweater won’t be made for my consumption.
I’ll be re-consuming what was originally consumed, or recycling and reusing, if you want a simpler word for this.
REASON #6: IT’LL FORCE ME TO APPRECIATE WHAT I HAVE & BE CREATIVE
If I stop buying new things so easily, it won’t be so easy to find what I want to make my outfits change, evolve and be different over time.
If I want a specific style of a sweater, I’ll have to find it by combing stores, even if it takes a year.
It could even be an interesting shopping hunt of sorts.
Instead of window shopping for new things, I hunt for old ones, and end up not spending much because it’ll be harder to find exactly what I want if it’s used.
I’ll have to find ways to make what I have, look different to me.
REASON #7: I WON’T BUY AS MUCH
Instead of telling myself: Self, you’re on a CLOTHING BAN, I will be imposing a rule that will let me have the freedom to buy what I want, but not necessarily telling me to stop completely.
Bans don’t work on me.
If you tell me I can’t eat for 12 hours so I can give blood, and all I can think about for the next 12 hours, is eating.
Eating lots of food, stuffing my face… it doesn’t end.
Photograph I took of my meal in Lyon
It’s the same with shopping. If I can’t shop, then all I want to do and all I can think about, is shopping.
You have to be a lot pickier in thrift stores. There are tons of great deals, but things are not the right size, colour, or they simply don’t look good.
I’ve passed over plenty of nice things because they don’t fit or flatter me. I wished I had a friend there for whom it would look perfect on, but .. alas.
CAN I MAKE IT? WOULD YOU TRY SOMETHING LIKE THIS?
Inspired by You Look Fab’s wardrobe essentials list, I decided to come up with my own wardrobe essentials list made for my inverted triangle shape (large shoulders, slim everywhere else).
WARDROBE ESSENTIALS: TOPS
- White T-Shirt: Goes with all my skirts, and pants, and even under jackets
- Blousy shirts: Tucked into skirts, or pants, they’re comfortable & easy
- Oatmeal sweater: This neutral colour is not too dark, not white (hard to clean), and neutral
- Shell tops in bright colours: The easiest top to wear to work that look polished but informal
- Navy striped shirts: Great for subtle pattern mixing and matching
- Dark brown leather biker jacket: The perfect topper on any outfit
- Navy blazer: Black is not my favourite colour, navy is dark but not sombre
- Military winter coat: Thrown over anything, makes everything look chic
I’ve really been into blousy items over the past few years, as I’ve grown out of being a fan of tighter fits.
I’m also trying to find the perfect wardrobe where a single item like a leather jacket or a navy blazer can be put over any piece in my wardrobe and change it instantly.
In the same vein, any tops that can be worn underneath any jacket, paired with any skirt or pairs of pants — white t-shirts fit this bill so far.
WARDROBE ESSENTIALS: BOTTOMS
- Dark bootcut jeans: To wear at all times of the year
- Dark skinny jeans: To tuck into boots of course
- Navy cigarette pants: I hate the name, but love the style, as long as it isn’t black
- Straight-legged jersey pants: For work, they feel like pajamas
- Bold pencil skirts: Can go with any simple top and be dressed up or down
- Striped skirts: Fun, flouncy, and preferably with pockets
I’m trying not to go overboard with buying different types of skirts, mostly because one bold or striped skirt works as well as the next in the grand scheme of wardrobe things.
I’ve never had a wardrobe ‘problem’ of quantity of pants. I’ve just never seen the appeal of more than one pair of jeans or pants in each style — bootcut, skinny, cigarette.
WARDROBE ESSENTIALS: DRESSES
My weakness is in dresses.
I’m working on pairing dresses with layered sweaters on top with a belt, or pairing dresses with striped shirts to make them more versatile rather than just a one-piece outfit.
Nothing strapless, nothing tight, so no Herve Leger bandage dresses for me!
- Wrap jersey dresses: Easy to wear, doesn’t wrinkle, looks great, is flattering on all body shapes
- Sheath dresses: I just like the way they feel, and I could wear them to work as well
- Flouncy A-line dresses: Girly.. what can I say?
WARDROBE ESSENTIALS: SHOES
Shoes are simple for me as well. I don’t really keep multiples of the same shoe, except for ballet flats. Everything else is usually one-of-each.
- Dark brown flat boots: Perfect fall and winter gear
- Neutral ballet flats: The perfect slip-on and run around shoe, especially for traveling
- Colourful ballet flats: To add a pop of colour to any outfit
- Dark heels: No higher than 2″, simple, classic heels; one pair is all I need for work
- Birkenstocks: Seriously, they are essentials for me and are extremely comfortable
WARDROBE ESSENTIALS: ACCESSORIES
You can change your outfit so quickly with just an addition of a well-placed accessory. It even makes me feel different, depending on what I wear.
- Bold jewel-toned necklaces: My favourite accessory to change any outfit
- Multi-chain necklaces: No colour, adds interest
- Dark, edgy rings: Best way to quickly add some edge without being over the top
- Delicate nature-inspired necklaces: Leaves and flowers!! I really like Michael Michaud’s work
- Minimalist, Bold Watch: Something in leather, one watch, not fussy or in metal
- Red Bag: Any red bag. Just a deep, beautiful red
- Longchamp Pliage Bag: I feel that this specific bag is the most versatile in my bag-robe; v. light
- Belts of all kinds: Obi is my favourite kind, but I like them all!
So how to put it all together?
I just wake up, pick one piece I REALLY want to wear that day, and build something on the fly around it.
It also depends on how much time BF gives me to get ready before giving me notice that we’re going out to do something.
Some of my favourite combinations as of late that I am thinking for Autumn:
SIMPLE WITH AN EDGE
This is a very simple outfit. I just change the top and things look different.
UPDATED AUDREY HEPBURN
Casual meets Audrey Hepburn meets classic neutrals is what I was going for.
I am obsessed with this second look right now. I know it looks funny in the Polyvore image, but the pants look like this in real life:
I’m having a moment with stripes and florals.
There’s something really pretty about a navy striped top over dresses, skirts, anything just to give it a little edge. Then I throw a red belt around it if I want to.
SIMPLE AND STRUCTURED
This is the last outfit that is easy to wear. Boots, skinny jeans, and it can be changed up with scarves or accessories.
I love packing videos, so when I see a well done, beautiful video created by Wendy’s Lookbook, I can’t help but want to share it with everyone.
She lays out some great tips if you:
- are really into fashion (especially high end fashion)
- like to check in your bags when you travel
- like to pack a lot of different choices in clothing
I like the idea of keeping blazers structured by putting the arms into each other.
I never thought about doing that, hence why I wear blazers on the plane if I bring one. Otherwise, when I pack to move, I tend to put them on hangers in a coat bag.
I personally do not pack like this.
I am someone who refuses to check in her bag when she travels, for 2 main reasons:
- I don’t want to lose anything — happens more often than you think
- I don’t want to wait at the luggage carousel
I also roll my items, and everything I wear to travel is pretty much wrinkle-free for convenience.
Okay, this is definitely not a post that I should be writing considering my own shopping craziness.
It should really be someone way more frugal who only owns 20 items in her closet and only one pair of earrings or something.
Nevertheless, I read a lot of fashion and style blogs, and every time I hear them list their purchases of 4 or 5 pairs of designer shoes in a row (Louboutins, Manolo Blahniks, Jimmy Choos all at around $600 a pop), I think — HOW IN THE HOLY…!?
I totally understand that their money can come from these arenas:
- Advertising & Blogging — Obviously fashion/style blogging pays more than PF blogging especially since you get better sponsors and you can get a lot more readers posting about yourself and your outfits
- Free Swag — Not sure if designers give out free swag, but places like J. Crew, Modcloth, etc probably do
- Side Businesses — “Free” advertising through their blogs, while working a 9-5
- REALLY good jobs — 6-figures a year, I’m assuming
- Family/Spousal money — Possibly?
Even so. I am not entirely sure that it’s 100% funded by retailers.
GUESSING AT THE NUMBERS
I wish they’d post their personal finances.
I know they’re probably saving away a solid 10% of their net income each month, maxed out retirement funds, bla bla bla… but I’m just one big fat nosy parker and I’d like to see the numbers.
I’m just thinking that if they buy 5 pairs of designer shoes a month, at $500 each, that’s about $2500/month, and for a full year, that’s $30,000 net a year, which is roughly (mentally) translates into about $50,000 gross income.
That’s an EXCELLENT gross salary for an individual, who would still have to pay for rent, groceries, transportation, etc.
For the other style bloggers who are not professionals (blogger or otherwise) and earn less money, I wonder how they afford such a wardrobe on their salary.
It’s seems like they get new stuff each week.. and even I don’t do that.
(Mostly because I’ve been working 10+ hour days in a compressed workweek lately and haven’t had time to be tempted..)
FRANKLY, IT MAKES ME WANT TO SPEND
It does make me want to buy things, and I should probably unsubscribe to all of their blogs just for that reason, but like a moth to a flame….
I think that influence, is partly the reason why I spend more than I should, if I wasn’t being tempted.
See, I am well aware that what I spend, is unrealistic even for me.
Sometimes I look at my numbers and think: WTF HAVE I BEEN DOING?
I know it’s partly that I don’t own a car, a house, or eat out a lot that I channel that otherwise budgeted money towards my Wardrobe instead, but I realistically can’t keep up on $2000 of Wardrobe spending a month.
(And if I do, you should SLAP ME SILLY.)
….but even with that spending, I recognize am very lucky to be earning a more-than-amazing salary, still aiming to save 50% of my net income and hoping to have a $250,000 at the end of this year.
That $2000 I spend on occasion, is not my entire variable budget each month. I am not giving up basic things like Food and Shelter, to buy clothes.
But I wonder if they are.
(Also, $500 is NOT reasonable for a pair of shoes. The only designer items I will buy, are consignment ones.)