“It costs very little to look this expensive”.

Many fashionistas/Magazines all over the world have this misconception that REAL fashion and REAL style only consists of designer labels and 3 figure prices. I am here to tell you that those misconceptions made by so-called “fashionistas” or “fashion experts” is complete and utter bullshit.

Excuse my grammar but I am tired of seeing women over expose their red soles and preach about how they starved themselves for an issue of Vogue. Sure I like the magazine, would I starve for it? NO. Does anything in the magazine appeal to me? Sure the styling and creativity is great but are these models wearing anything I can afford? No.

Most magazines only promote designers which is understandable because they are paid a hefty amount of cash to promote these brands. Without it, print media is dead. I get it, I understand, but the only reason I open up an issue of Vogue is to be inspired by the creativity and styling of the models. That is what I love, nothing more, nothing less. Fashionistas all over the world depend on Vogue to dictate what they should buy, wear, and throw away because it is soooo last season. Its really sad that many of these girls often forget who they really are because they are trying to live up to the expectations of these magazines. Many of the women who read these mags think the “life” is smoking ten packs of cigarettes a day to lose weight and emptying their bank accounts to look chic. This is not what fashion is about. It isn’t about following trends or being stick thin, it’s about personal style and how creative you can be with your look whether you are tall, short, big, small, black, or white.

Magazines like Lucky sit here and tell us that we are lucky they picked out a whole bunch of designer goods that are on sale that we STILL can’t afford. These magazines only cater to women who make 5-6 figure salaries every two weeks. Basically, that means all of us who don’t make that much money can’t really afford whats in those magazines. I guess that means we aren’t so lucky after all and that $5 we spent on that magazine could have been a blouse at the salvation army that looks 50 times better than the Gucci one in Lucky Magazine on sale for $395. It also could have been 2 junior bacon cheeseburgers, a baked potato, a chocolate frosty, and a sprite at Wendy’s for just about that much because my ass is not starving for an issue of Vogue or Lucky for that matter.

I have tons of designer goods, does that mean I gave my entire rent to buy it? no. Did I buy it because it was by a designer? no. I buy what I like and I only spend a lot on the things that I absolutely love. I have a closet full of designer and vintage goods, some costing less than $1 and some costing me more than $350. My point is, I buy what I like, not because a designer made it. You don’t have to be a puppet of magazines or spend tons of money to look expensive. I told myself that if I ever bought myself a pair of Christian Louboutins that they would have to be extra special and at least 75% off. I now own two pairs of which I love but wear in moderation. I do not go around prancing in them exposing my red soles in every single picture I take, nor do I go around emphasizing that I wear designer labels. I think that its tacky to drench yourself in monograms and designer labels that aren’t so subtle but that’s just my opinion. If you do wear a monogram make sure your outfit isn’t too busy with the matching scarf and hat. I also think that it is more admirable when you can take a pair of $10 shoes and style them with your outfit and make the entire outfit look like its worth $1000. How many times do you come across people who have nothing but designer labels on and they look poor and cheap? Fashion isn’t how much you can spend, but what you can do with what you buy.

You can make any non-designer outfit look expensive. I do it all the time, I can find an entire outfit at the Salvation Army and make it look like it’s from some store on 5th Avenue. You can too if you put your creativity to work. Many stores like H&M, Urban Outfitters, and Forever 21 provide fashionable clothing at decent and reasonable prices too. I rarely shop in those stores but not because of its reputation or the opinions of others, I don’t shop in them because I rather shop in thrift stores, where I can find tons of H&M, Urban Outfitters, and Forever 21 garments even CHEAPER. Also the best part about thrifting is the vintage things you find, every piece is unique and rare. I like to have unique pieces in my closet. I just like knowing I don’t look like anyone else, and when you shop in stores that have 21423445 chains all over NY, you kinda don’t want to buy something everyone is wearing. This is why I only shop in stores like H&M moderately.

Most of my designer goods are from sample sales or consignment shops. If you want yourself a great pair of Christian Louboutins, go to wasteland in LA where they sell them for $200-or-less a pop. If you want Betsey Johnson dresses at 75% off, visit your local Buffalo exchange as they have a steady rotation of BJ pieces for CHEAP. Buffalo exchange also has a variety of designer and vintage clothing. Its my favorite store. You really just have to look and explore if you want to save yourself money. I don’t go directly to 5th Avenue shops to buy my goods, I maneuver around them. I don’t go looking for designer pieces in particular but I always stumble across great designer items in the shops I listed above and  regular thrift stores.

Here are some examples that will shock you. Most people assume that I wear nothing but designer labels or that I spend a lot on my clothing but they aren’t entirely right. I am going to show you fashion on a budget.

My birthday dress only cost me $40. My bangle was $1 at a thrift store and my shoes are from Top Shop and were a gift. Total price of my outfit=$41

For Fashions Night out I wore a vintage yellow suit that cost me $20 at Salvation Army, a patent leather belt that cost me $2, a Chanel Bag I found at a thrift store for $25 (Yes, you heard correctly), a vintage fur stole that cost me $15, and a pair of YSL pumps I purchased at Buffalo exchange for $100 bucks. Total cost of outfit=$162

I wore this outfit to a Gay Pride festival in Queens. I’m wearing a John Paul Gaultier dress from Target that cost me $25 at goodwill, A pair of Betsey Johnson shoes that I got at a sample sale that cost $25, a vintage purse I bought in a vintage store called Slow for $35, and my hat was $5 at a Coney Island Flea Market. Total cost of outfit=$90

This outfit is one of my favorites and super inexpensive. My jacket is from Zara and cost me $100, my pants are vintage from Salvation Army $7, my boots are also from Salvation Army for $10, my purse is from Slow $35, my hat was $2 at SA, and my sweater is $10. Total cost of outfit=$164

This outfit is all designer BUT with REAL sale prices. My dress and jacket are both Betsey Johnson, however, my dress was originally $295 but I got it at a sample sale for $50, and my jacket was $30 at Buffalo exchange, my shoes are Dolce and Gabanna and cost me $100 at a friends and family sale, and my purse is vintage from Salvation Army and only costed me $4. Total cost of outfit=$184

As you can see, you don’t have to spend tons of money to be fashionable. Here are my rules of the fashion game.

1. Be Patient. Know where to shop, get your lazy butt up and visit some thrift stores. I understand being an impulsive buyer and just buying something there and then but if you have a little bit of patience, you will always find what you want at a better price, designer or non-designer goods.

2. Do not be afraid of thrifting. Yes there is a huge bed bug epidemic in NYC. Here’s a tip- put your newly purchased used goods in your freezer and leave it there for 3 days. Kills bed bugs instantly. Also Goodwill is a thrift store that sterilizes everything that comes in, I know, I’ve done my research. lol

3. Do not buy designer goods just because its designer goods. I’ve seen many of you Christian Loubouton-boasting-broads make those Louboutins look cheap. It’s about how you style your outfit, not what designers you are wearing. Buy what you like and if it is a designer piece and you have the money, go for it, if not..wait for that motherfucker to go on sale. EVERYTHING in the end…goes on sale.

4. Join websites like Beyond the rack, Hautelook, Ideeli, clothing line and Gilt Group. Many of these websites have sales on rotation ALL THE TIME on designer goods. Google and you shall find.

5. Dont starve for an issue of Vogue, do not let it dictate who YOU ARE. Its stupid and food is much more luxurious sweetheart…trust me. Buying an issue of Vogue will not give you more importance. If you do buy it, buy it for the right reasons, to be inspired by the latest looks and how the models are creatively styled.

6. Do not be concerned with what’s last season or “in” and “out” of fashion. Continue to have your own style on your own budget and you will never go wrong.

I hope this will inspire many of you to start doing your research on sales and thrift stores and also start saving yourselves some hard-earned cash for rainy days that matter the most. Or you can hire me to be your personal shopper for a day ;). Its your call.

Happy Shopping!


23 Comments on ““It costs very little to look this expensive”.

  1. excellent post!! this is what sets you apart from all the other fashion bloggers – keep up the great work! ❤

  2. Great post!
    There is this episode of SATC where Carrie says something along the line of “I would buy Vogue instead of dinner because I thought it fed me more”. BIGGEST EYE ROLL EVER. It’s sad that so many young ladies out there move to NY and think they can live that lifestyle or even more sad, WANT it.

    Did you see The September Issue?

  3. Very inspiring blog
    I will definitely share this on my Facebook.

    You were the only one that I ever seen in my whole lifetime that can rock clothes from thrift stores.
    Alot of these ppl think that being fashionista is all about labels. As the saying goes…its not who you wear is how you wear it.

  4. Thank you for posting this! I as well am a fan of thrift stores as well and like you said it’s all about patience but majority of the time it’s worth waiting for especially moneywise in my case 🙂

  5. I just had to comment, because this post is a shining example of why I love reading your blog so much. I don’t remember how I stumbled upon your blog but it’s quickly become one of my absolute favorites. You have so much swag 😉 I agree 100% with everything you’ve said. I loooove shopping at thrift stores, the prices make me happy and having something unique makes me even happier. The pieces I get the most compliments on in my wardrobe are almost always something I’ve thrifted and the pieces I have the most love for are also usually thrifted. When I was younger, I had a negative attitude towards wearing second-hand clothes, but as I got older (I’m 21)- and smarter- I realized that thrift stores can hold so many hidden treasures, you just have to look and enjoy yourself. Great post, very insightful and so true-really enjoyed reading it. Take Care 🙂

  6. Preach! As a frugal fatshionista, I feel the SAME way! It costs very little to look expensive. But you have an unfair advantage–you’re friggin fierce!

  7. “Fashion isn’t how much you can spend, but what you can do with what you buy.”

    The truth. I love your blog.

  8. LOVE this post!!! Crazily I somehow found your blog by googling Wasteland boutique. I have been following you ever since. Besides all of the good points that you make I think what I love the most is that you used “motherfucker” in your blog. We could be besties 🙂

    I live in NC and hope to open a fashionable vintage store like Wasteland in the next couple of years. Not something that smells like mothballs. Ha!

    I really look forward to your posts and finds and think that you (obviously) have an AMAZING sense of style. By the way, someone on etsy has your birthday dress listed right now for $450. Unfortunately they said it was made by Italian designer Casadei and didn’t credit the correct 80’s designer Eletra Casadei from California, which does piss me off.

    As always, thanks for the post!

  9. I had an entire response ready, and then LOST it. Anyway, PREACH ON!!!!!!!!!

  10. Couldn’t have said it any better. Great post. I’m sick of seeing girls blow their money on things because they are “in”. As my mami always taught me, “buy and wear what you love. That’ll last forever, not some trend.” I still have clothes that are over a decade old that I combine with new and thrifted purchases.

    Sadly, there will always be people who will continue to buy thoughtlessly. :/

  11. Fab post. I could have written every word myself as our fashion philosophies are spot on. As someone who started collecting vintage over 30 years ago, I learnt early on to buy only what I adore, both high and low-end — you will feel so much more confident, and that confidence will show through in every aspect of your life! Keep up the great, inspiring looks, and tips — you have so much to share with your sisters, and I’m sure they’re all very appreciative.

  12. Bravo on this post, Jas!

    I think you were spot on with so many of the points!

  13. Loves it–you’re so spot on; I’m the queen of cheap I will not spend my hard earned $$ to bolster Gucci, dolce, or any of those “designers” to fit in into anybody’s fashion mold or bank account for that matter. Its so disconcerting every time I hear girls who spend exorbitant amounts of $$ on clothes; it sickens me to the core. I stumbled on your post and I love you style–it vibrant and chic. I watch a lot of old movies and I constantly admire their fashion sense and most importantly their figure. They are by no means stick thin but they pull off their outfits with beautifully. I’m learning to sew so I either plan to make my clothes or go find wonderful pieces in inexpensive places.
    You’re definitely not afraid to stand out and its refreshing to see people like you doing something new and fresh. Keep up the good work..I’m definitely stealing some of your style. Tres chic

  14. Just stumbled upon your blog on Swagger 360’s website.

    You honestly look my words out of my mouth. I have been thinking a lot lately about everything you said (then I saw your post) and I am so glad that other people feel the same way.

    1. You don’t have to be a size zero to look fabulous.
    2. You can look chic without dropping thousands.

    My only problem is that I don’t live in NYC, I live in Minneapolis so you are not going to find designer dresses in our thriftstores. Otherwise, I’m right there with you… it just takes time to find special items.

    Your style is beautiful and I love your makeup, pinup is wonderful.

  15. you are truly an inspiration. i 100% agree with you and admire you and your style! i cant wait until i save my money ( since i have a bad spending habit smh) and FINALLY can book you as a stylist so you can share more wisdom advice and style =)

  16. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for those links! 😀 When you can get something for $14 when it originally cost $100, you know you hit the jackpot!

    Unfortunately, we have nothing that resembles a thrift store where I’m from – and I have looked! If I get the chance to visit family in NYC, I will be hitting up the thrift stores then (and putting that freezer tip to good use).

  17. Preach!
    I absolutely love this post! One of my favorites by far! I am an avid reader of your blog and talk about it all the time to my fashionistas. You are extremely creative and inspiring! Keep doing what you do because you do it well. Best wishes

  18. Couldn’t have said it any better. Great post. I’m sick of seeing girls blow their money on things because they are “in”. As my mami always taught me, “buy and wear what you love. That’ll last forever, not some trend.” I still have clothes that are over a decade old that I combine with new and thrifted purchases. Sadly, there will always be people who will continue to buy thoughtlessly. :/

  19. BRAVO! I absolutely love this blog and totally relate to this post… Ive been thrifting for the past 5 years mostly just Salvation Army and The Goodwill and found so many unique items there..

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