In a down economy, it’s tougher than ever to live in New York City. But scraping by and paying over half of your monthly salary to your landlord is nothing new for many who moved here from all over the country, and indeed, all over the world to be a part of this vibrant metropolis.
Rule No. 1 of budget fashionistas: stop shopping for what you want and start evaluating what you need. Mix up clothes to create quirky combinations and color contrasts. Dig through your dusty jewelry bins and accessorize.
Exhibit No. 1: The Uniform Project is chronicling a young woman’s one-year exercise in fashion sustainability by wearing the same dress every day. She mixes up her black, button-down dress with layers and adorable vs. badass hats, tights, jewelry, and shoes that are donated or vintage/used finds (shopping notes are included in every post). The Project is also a fundraiser for the Akanksha Foundation which supports children’s education in India.
After taking classes at Parsons and FIT and realizing how ephemeral cheap clothes are, I have halted my H&M sprees and used-clothing hunts and restrained myself from buying anything without ensuring fit, quality, and enduring style (Tim Gunn would approve).
My one weakness is the cheap and cheerful Target GO International collections by guest designers since they don’t require queuing up and you can buy online (best to read the user reviews since the fit can wildly vary). Past guest designers include Proenza Schouler and Thakoon.
This month’s Atlantic Monthly has an excellent article on the current economic reality of fashion.
Let’s hope that the decline of fashion consumerism will not be a passing phase. Remember the Sex and the City episode when potential evictee Carrie realizes that she could have had a down payment to buy her apartment based on the net cost of her shoe collection? Mr. Big is such an enabler.