I was born and raised on deal shopping. Most of my childhood was spent at Thrift stores, garage sales and clearance racks in search of low cost high style. My mom, who happens to be one of the most stylish women I know, was a real pro and I have to thank her for teaching me her ways. She’s known to have expensive taste but knew how to translate that on a budget. Of course in certain seasons of life like many other families, this budget buying lifestyle was generally out of necessity rather than preference. Looking back I wasn’t able to appreciate it, wishing I could go on shopping sprees in fancy department stores and buy the latest and greatest instead of waiting for it to hit the sale rack, or find it at a resale store a year or two later after somebody else wore it.
Fast forward to today, and I am grateful for this upbringing. I’m glad that I learned that Style can’t be bought. Style is about conveying on the outside, what is on the inside. It’s about cultivating an authenticity in the way that you see the world, how you see and express yourself and the creative ways that you make the most of what you have. Though money helps, its not about how much you have but what you do with it. Since I’ve been on my own I have gone through many economical phases. I remember when shopping at Ross or F21 was a splurge. I also remember a short phase when I was in a pinch and needed something to wear for an event, I made a quick stop at Barney’s and picked up a designer dress. Those days are in the rearview. These days I live somewhere in the middle… conscious of my spending, with the very occasional splurge on something that is special, one of a kind or built to last. But, ninety-five percent of the time you will still find me at the sale rack, looking for ways to stretch my dollar. It’s in my blood.
These days however, there are retailers such as Forever 21, H&M, Old Navy or Target that make current fashion affordable before it ever hits the clearance rack. Last weekend I was out and about searching for some fall clothes for London that would fit her growing little bod. Of course I had to swing by Forever 21 just to overwhelm myself with a million options. That’s a challenge popped up in my brain “I wonder if I could put 5 fall looks together for $100″, and I think I might of said out loud “oh you bet I can”. With a baby in tow I started to quickly rummage through clothes looking for complimentary pieces that could mix and match. This is the key in buying on a budget: find classic items that maximize your options.
Ok, so technically I went over my $100 limit by fifteen extra dollars in the store. However, I found 7 classic and yet on-trend pieces in a color pallet that I was able to mix and match into about 15 different combinations, going 10 looks beyond my original expectation; therefore I don’t feel so bad about going a little over budget : ). This being said, when I went on forever21.com to find the same items I bought in the store, I was able to find most but not all the exact pieces I purchased. For example, the incredible faux leather jacket that I found was $15 in store!!! It hardly looks faux, I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was definitely the deal of the day, however it is no where to be found online, so I replaced it with another similar jacket, however it costs $24.80, putting me an additional $10 over (sorry, so much math in this paragraph.) So the grand total of the pieces and prices you see below is $126.50 (not including tax).
Here is the breakdown according to this detailed image above:
1. FAUX LEATHER TRIM MAXI SKIRT – PURCHASE AT FOREVER 21 $24.50
2. PEACE LOVE & ROCK N ROLL BURN OUT T – (unfortunately this exact t-shirt is no longer available online, find a similar t-shirt great for layering here) PURCHASE AT FOREVER 21 $10
3. BOHO BABE CARDIGAN – Also a little different then the original that I bought, but very similar. PURCHASE AT FOREVER 21 $19.80
4. CLASSIC SLIM DENIM JEANS - PURCHASE AT FOREVER 21 $7.80
5. DESERT PLAID SHIRT – PURCHASE AT FOREVER 21 $19.80
6. STREET CHIC MOTO JACKET- PURCHASE AT FOREVER 21 $24.80
7. BE SEEN FAUX LEATHER LEGGINGS- PURCHASE AT FOREVER 21 $19.80
On with the show! As I mentioned before, here are 15 combinations of these seven fall staples. Of course there will be repetition, but with some mixing and matching, and a few different easy accessories, each look stands on it’s own. All of these pieces would likely be able to work effortlessly with some of your own existing pieces from previous seasons.
So without further ado, here are the looks!
Happy Fall Shopping!