I'm not sure how you all feel about my fashion posts, since this is a finance site more than a fashion one, but am I posting them too frequently? Too infrequently? Is it strange going from reading about Forex to what to wear on a budget? I kind of fancy the finance & fashion angle, but let me know what you think! It'd be great to get feedback.
Anyway, Love and I were at Baja Fresh yesterday (I'm a sucker when it comes to their fish tacos), and I realized after we sat down to munch chips at a table near the salsa counter that more than a few people were looking at me. I wasn't sure why. In fact, I assumed it was because I had salsa on my face or something to that degree. I admit, my love for Mexican food can get a little crazy at times. But after quickly checking with Love that my face was sans salsa, I realized they weren't looking at me per se, they were looking at my clothes. More specifically, my new patent dark brown reptile skin clutch, and sleeveless, full-skirted khaki dress with dark brown belt cinched at the waist (overall very adorable, very 1950s). When I say "they," I obviously mean the women and occasional fashion-forward gay man ... and I realized they were smiling -- they loved the outfit ... and yet they all wore sweat pants and shirts.
Well, the first thing I wanted to do was stand up on the table and rouse the entire restaurant to dance choreographed behind me as I belted out the lyrics to West Side Story's "I Feel Pretty" into a salsa ladle (with the line of cashiers singing backup vocals, of course) -- jazz fingers and so on. But then I realized that every single person in that hovel of taco enticement could be dressed just as well. All it takes is a little effort and you, too, can "feel pretty." (Backup dancers not included.) Lots of money or even lots of time are not prerequisites to looking sharp. The best dressed people are the ones who make it look effortless and don't spend a fortune on every outfit.
I understand that sometimes ... many times, in fact ... it's comfier to throw on your nearest tank top and jeans and say "whatever" to the whole masquerade. But I truly believe that your exterior can highly affect your interior. For example, if your apartment or house is always cluttered, and you have problems clearing your mind, your outward clutter may very well be a personification of your psychological state. For that matter, if you're not particularly feeling that great about the weight of your debt, is dressing like your current mental state (i.e., stress) going to help you out of it? Of course not. Granted, simply dressing the part will not solve any debt problems, but it's one small step in becoming the smart, savvy money honey we all know you are. Besides, there's just something about wearing high heels that makes every woman's inner confidence stand out with every stride.
With that in mind, here's a fabulous outfit I pieced together, courtesy of Polyvore (which allows you to create "outfit collages" from different retail sites on the web). This is a very no muss, no fuss outfit that takes a second to throw on but makes you stand out from the crowd in a marvelous way, even when just running errands:
American Eagle sunglasses: $19.50
Target headband: $12.99
Debenhams.com handbag: $40
Old Navy dress: $34.50
Target pumps: $24.99
Claire's pearl earrings and necklace: $10 (total)
Not too shabby, huh? And of course the more expensive purchases, like the handbag and sunglasses, can be found cheaper if need be.
The next outfit idea is a great French look for drinks, dinner, or even just out to get coffee on a saturday night with friends:
Forever 21 dress: $27.80
American Eagle sunglasses: $12
Forever 21 neck scarf: $5
Forever 21 clutch and earrings: $12.99 and $4.99, respectively.
Gold-plated Etienne Aigner ring: $24
Sergio Rossi pumps: $200 (Expensive yes, but you can always find a good imitation pair for cheap.)
Newlook.com cardigan (optional): $18
Confession: I did buy this herringbone dress last week, and let me tell you, it's fabulous! For being so cheap, it's made remarkably well. I know what you're thinking: This is way too dressy to go out for coffee in, but there's a difference between too dressy and sharply polished. Are you wearing a ball gown to Starbucks? Didn't think so. That would be too dressy. This is sleek, sophisticated and poised.
The whole point is to mix and match your pieces to save money, so if you wanted to wear this dress during the day, match it with a shirt underneath to give it a conservative edge:
GoJane.com pumps: $22.99
Forever 21 necklace: $5.80
Forever 21 headband: $2.80
American Eagle sunglasses: $12.99
Target Isaac Mizrahi wrap trench coat: $22.49
As I said earlier, cheaper substitutes can be found for many of the accessory pieces.