Dazzle on a Dime

When I tell people that I live for fashion, I feel like I’m being placed under a magnifying glass. Awkward glances, pursed lips, and thoughts about being a materialistic teenager are the not-so-welcome reaction that I receive.

Sure, I find joy in many other things in life, but like a painter in a gallery I see clothing as art. Dressing up is a canvas where I can express myself.

In the hallways at school people questioned why I didn’t don yoga pants & college tees to class. It was simply not appropriate behavior to dress up for school, but those opinions didn’t shake me up.

In April I was finally recognized for my runway-to-school looks by being voted best-dressed. I was elated to say the least, but the one thing that truly made me happy was that I was able to dress cute, but still on a budget.

It’s true I have my fair share of free people dresses, yet I’m convinced I spent less money on an entire outfit than something out of lulu lemon.

Here’s are a few ways to break fashion barriers without breaking the bank.

1. Shop the Nordstrom Anniversary sale: If there’s one thing I look forward to every year, it’s this sale. Like Carrie Bradshaw I definitely have a thing for shoes, but I have ABSOLUTELY NO tolerance for the uncomfortable ones. My mantra is that you have to invest if you want comfort, and Nordstrom definitely has the high-quality thing down. Starting July 20th the Anniversary sale will give you the best discounts on F/W trends for half the price. Beyond this sale I’m pretty set for shoes for the entire year, and hey if shoes aren’t your thing there are discounts on handbags, jewelry and clothing too.

2. Don’t spend your money on jeans: People always talk about the $200 true religion jeans they bought. Yeah, I’m sure they are cute, but for a pair of skinny’s don’t waist your money. You want denim that fits your body right, but I always seem to find that my favorite jeans come from Forever 21 or Marshalls for under $20.

Side note: If you HAVE to have designer jeans, buy a simple pair. When you buy patterned or colored denim people remember when you wear it. You’ll get less bang for your buck because you wear them less, so if you’re going to splurge go with something simple that people won’t notice quite as much. 

3. Simplicity simplicity simplicity: Like I said before, people remember when you wear that houndstooth skirt or acid wash jeans, so make sure to fill your wardrobe with simple staples. Find long sleeve shirts, and solid colored dresses and skirts that you can dress up with blazers, scarfs, vests, etc. I always gravitate toward neutral colors because a grey circle skirt will be more versatile than a polka-dot one.

4. Shop Smart: For cute and inexpensive shirts go to places like H&M and Forever 21. You’ll be able to find many on trend items, that might not last as long as something from Barney’s but it’ll for sure get you through a season or two. Hint: You might be wondering well wouldn’t it make more sense to buy a few blouses that I LOVE? Sure, but trends fade and by the time your seam rips you’ll be ready for a new look anyways.

5. Technology has its bonuses: So you found that cocktail dress that’s just to die for, but with the $300.00 price tag it’s never going to happen. Shopping online is great because you can track when things go on sale. It also gives you the opportunity to check out websites like modcloth or etsy that have vintage items that you won’t find in store anyways.

-Courtney Fishman


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