If I Had The Cash, I’d Write About Fashion

Posted on May 10th, by Birdie in Fashion and Finances, Fashion and Style. 7 comments May 29, 2012

I don’t know how many times in the last couple months this thought has run through my head.  If I had the cash, I could spend money on this and write about it… if I had the cash I’d do more online browsing… I’d do more in-person shopping…  I wonder; Does having a couple extra bills to drop make it easier to blog about fashion?  Is fashion for the “haves” versus the “have nots”?  And ultimately, how does one become inspired by, and write about fashion if they aren’t necessarily an avid consumer?

I don’t think fashion is necessarily a money game, even though it seems hard to be fashion forward without buying seasonally.  As Ashe Mischief’s “Finance and the Fashion Blogger” series shows us, a girl on any budget can be inspired by and have some serious fashion impact.  And it’s not some frivolous game for vapid girls who have nothing else going for them.  As Mary Quant said, “[Fashion] is part of being alive today.”

Mary Quant Royal Mail Stamp

So what’s a girl to do when she’s on a limited budget?  How do you become inspired by fashion – how do you write for the fashionable masses – when you don’t have the funds?  If you feel you’ve lost your fashion mojo because you just can’t keep up with the stylish Joneses, think again.

Look to your favorite fashion mag.  You know women only wear about 30% of what’s in their closet, which means that hidden among the hangers, there’s probably a whole Elle Style outfit waiting to happen.  Who cares if it isn’t designer, or if it’s not spot-on?  Inspiration doesn’t have to be perfect.  Personally, I love sitting in the sun, tearing out looks I love from thick magazines.  When I’m done, I have a collection of looks and tears that I liked, just waiting to inspire me.  And if it’s not the whole look I love, I go through with a silver sharpie and circle the pieces I love.  I write thoughts and phrases on the pages as they come to mind – so that when I’m feeling uninspired, the images + words recreates inspiration in my noggin.

Look at old photos of yourself.  Maybe there was an outfit you just loved 2 years ago – figure out how to make that current.  Chances are you still have one of those pieces in your closet, so get a little bit creative and put those pieces to work for you.  But don’t just pull out your midriff sweaters, Docs and tartan minis to wear to work à la Empire Records.  Get creative and pair that little sweater with a high-waisted, ladylike skirt and appropriate shoes; you’re recreating the feel of that bygone outfit.

Look to your friends – chances are, they’re more stylish than you think!  This works for 3 key reasons.

1. They’re instant inspiration in what they’re wearing.  Don’t go all “single white female” and copy their every move.  Instead, look at how they’ve paired things, maybe ask where she got that sweater that you love.  Watch what they do with proportions.  My favorite friend look is Mitzi’s “Long batik dress + Boots + Structured jacket”.  I don’t personally own these very same items, but I have flowing skirts that I can pair with structured tops and jangly jewelry to get that same structured-boho look.

2.  They can often help your style woes.  You don’t know what to wear with this?  Ask that pretty Laura, who will tell you a ladylike way to dress it up.  Don’t know how to pull off studs?  Ask Scarlet – because she’s the queen of rock ‘n’ roll chic!  Shorts plus cowboy boots?  Pull a Kirsten and pair them with black tights, a rock tee and a granny sweater for a fun, hip look.

3.  They will trade wardrobe orphans with you.  Pair of shoes that doesn’t quite work?  They’ll take it!  Need a belt to go with that dress?  They’ve got it!  Wardrobe swaps are the way to go when you’re on a budget and if your friends are into the idea, trading out pieces can be the perfect inspiration for your look.  Even if you don’t end up swapping anything out, you may learn a few new ways to put those pieces together.  Instant inspiration.

Other obvious inspirations: Celebrities, store windows, your favorite TV characters, reading up on fashion history (Mary Quant for example!), history books, movies, runways, people watching… the list is long…

Fashion doesn’t have to be about the cash it takes to stay current.  There’s a world of inspiration waiting, and you’re more fashionable than you think – just fatigued from standing in front of your own closet with “nothing to wear”.  And if you’re truly  not feeling it, don’t force it – chances are, it will come to you when you’re ready!  (CHEESY: If you build it, they will come)

How do you get inspired by fashion, on a budget?

7 Responses to “If I Had The Cash, I’d Write About Fashion”

  1. Awesome tips! I do the same thing with my fashion mags…in fact I have a notebook (or several) of looks I love, slipped into clear plastic sheet protectors so I can flip through for inspiration.

    Sometimes fashion trends (or the feeling of newness) can also be as simple as a new hair color or style, fresh makeup, or a new hot polish, all of which can be so inexpensive. For most of my life, I only painted my toes regularly, and did my fingernails here and there. For the past couple of years, I’ve found that painted nails are very much a part of fashion…a great accessory! And a super cheap one!

  2. It was as if you were speaking to me! About me as well.When I started my blog, I was doing it about decor and dressing on a budget. We had just lost our home and our income and had ended up in our 40′s starting with nothing in an apartment. Soon though the apartment was decorated and there was also even less money. So stopped blogging about decor. Then turned to fashion….but soon we stopped being able to even really leave the apartment for lack of funds, so I lived in my jeans and T’s and walking shoes…my closet door only opened to take the laundry hamper out.I ceased to blog about things I once loved to chat about. I am slowly climbing out of the funk I was in and starting to share a bit of my passion about such things and at the same time mixing in other parts of my life from the fluff to the serious and it has been fun doing so. I am really not spending very much on anything, but found just as I too clip pictures from magazines I can do the same on the web. And when I do get dressed up, now just because, I post about that too. I started painting my nails, doing my hair, and sharing every step of my journey. Amazingly doing so has been a wonderful release for me and people like reading about it all..which makes me happy, and happiness mixed with gratitude makes the best accessory(s) and they do not cost a dime!
    Stephanie Ruby Feldman recently posted..Pink For Mothers DayMy Profile

  3. As for #3… I believe that you and I are about the same size. :)

    Like everything else in our lives, we set our own limits. Some of the women I know and consider the most stylish are not big budget, but they get pieces that they love, that look good and are comfortable with who they are, labels be damned.
    Jaime @ Denim Debutante recently posted..Erica’s First Pair of Premium Denim – 7 For All MankindMy Profile

  4. SACRAMENTO says:

    I couldn´t agree more with you, it has nothing to do with cash.
    superb post.
    At the moment I am shopping my daughter´s closet in Berlin and flea market.

  5. Birdie says:

    @V – YES. Hair and Nails, dudette! My bestie just came over with nails the color of sea-glass last night (it’s the Pirates of the Caribbean OPI polish?) and I was in awe.

    @ Stephanie – I’m so glad to hear that you’re getting back into it. And I absolutely love this, “happiness mixed with gratitude makes the best accessory(s) and they do not cost a dime!”

    @Jaime – AHAHAHA I see where you’re going with this. ;)

    @Sacramento – Love your flea market looks, lady!

  6. Sequin Cat says:

    Great post! I’m in a bit of a wardrobe rut at the moment as I’ve started a career and am trying to shake off my thrift shopping cheap and cheery look… It’s a challenge!

  7. [...] If I Had The Cash, I’d Write About Fashion, written by “Birdie”, is definitely quite the inspirational piece about how to write about fashion constantly when you might not have the bank account for it. A couple of my favorite points that she makes are: Look to your favorite fashion mag, and Look to your Friends. Birdie definitely dishes wise advice on this topic, so I really suggest this post as well. [...]

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