Get the Vogue look – on a budget
WHEN I was a student – a student who would rather spend her last four pounds on Vogue than her dinner – I had to become a savvy clothes shopper. Fashion was always going to precede nutrition and, on many occasions, learning.
I started university at age 19 after spending a year working in the City of London on a handsome salary and acquiring a gorgeous (but wholly inappropriate for Lincoln University) wardrobe. Having very little money left in the bank and suddenly lots of time to shop was torturous. Fashion being one of my first loves, I had to find a way to keep up what had become my favorite pastime.
The money coming from home was simply not going to feed my insatiable appetite for shopping. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t looking to acquire a designer wardrobe (did I mention I was living in Lincoln?), but I wanted to recreate that runway look by shopping on the high street.
While following fashion should have been one of the last things on my mind, it become one of many things to me: a universally powerful bonding exercise with new girlfriends, a pleasurable break from the books, a regular substitute for partying and a way to experiment with expressing my adult identity.
My parents contributed generously to my education and living costs, which allowed me to take on various jobs throughout my university years – solely to feed my shopping demon. At the same time, I managed to avoid the temptation of store and credit cards, and developed a keen nose for a bargain.
Of course, most of the clothing I bought during those years has long since been donated to charity, but a surprising amount of star buys still hang in my wardrobe. And – a blessing amid the recent economic turmoil – I still have the nack. Here are some of my savvy shopper tips:
Dig for vintage treasures
The teeth I cut in the charity shops in my university town have served me well while trawling vintage stores around the world, from specialist dealers in London to Paris. Nothing beats your outfit being talk of the room when it cost three pounds.
An online shopping spree can be just as fun as hitting the mall. Auction sites, such as Souq.com and eBay.com, have the best bargains. International favorites, such as Asos.com and Net-a-Porter.com, deliver to the Gulf and have great sales.
Work with what you have
Buy items that will work with your existing wardrobe. If you'll need new shoes to go with that dress you're thinking of buying, reconsider. Instead, update your look with one of two key pieces that will work with your existing style. Maintain your wardrobe: fashion is cyclical, so chances are if you hang onto something for long enough, and look after it well, it'll come back into fashion.
Have fun with inexpensive accessories. Forever 21 has a great line of pocket-money gems.
Do it yourself
Customise. Why not pick up some military-style epaulets or shoulder pads for that tired blazer? Or buy designer sale bargains, even if they don't quite fit, and have them cheaply tailored in Satwa to fit perfectly.
Get your money’s worth
A financially-astute girlfriend used to reason that, for every day items, make sure you'll get at least as many wears for every £5 ($7.50) the item costs.
Pic credit: Salvatore Vuono/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Do you have any fashion tips which won't break the bank? Share with cashy!