Rich Looks for the Cash Poor

how to look fashionable for less

Style + Beauty Editor

Rich Looks for the Cash Poor

Cheap tricks to get fashion revenge

-Lois Joy Johnson

Carrie BradshawWe are a generation of women raised on Sex and the City, designer logos and buying on credit. Remember when our hearts would swell passing the windows of Bloomies or Saks–giving the once-over to a gorgeous Marc Jacobs dress, the perfect pink suede sandals, the can’t-live-without beaded cardigan. And we’d pull out the plastic and say, “I’ll think about it tomorrow.”

But now, with all the belt-tightening going on, I’m just waiting for Candace Bushnell to publish a “What Would Carrie Bradshaw Do?” guide to get us through. In case that’s not coming, here are three spend-next-to-nothing tips to keep you in first-class style through the coming months:

Groom yourself…by yourself. The difference between having something left in your bank account or not is in the details. Actually it’s in a do-it-yourself attitude that we’ll all have to start cultivating again. Honestly, not too long ago everyone did all their private rituals at home…alone. I know it’s easy and also a social thing to drop into your neighborhood salon, but you can manage your own mani-pedis, hair removal and facials. (But let’s skip altogether the eyelash extensions and day-spa tanning.)

L'Oreal nail polishFor your nails, a pale sheer pink polish won’t reveal chips or any slight mishaps in application and will give your nails a healthy glossy finish regardless of your skin tone. Try L’Oreal Pro Manicure Nail Polish in I Pink I’m In Love ($4.99) or Revlon Nail Enamel in Sheer Pink ($4.99) and add Neutrogena Age Shield Hand Cream ($6.79) during the day to soften hands and cuticles.

Then, cancel your waxing appointments, grit your gleaming whitening- stripped teeth and get Andrea Naturals Hair Removal System Brazilian Bikini Wax ($9.99) or Parissa Quick and Easy 2 in 1 Roll-On for Legs, Face and Bikini ($19.99). Brighten your complexion with Freeman Feeling Beautiful Facial Enzyme Mask in Pineapple ($3.99)–it will banish flakes and lift the crud from your pores faster than you can get though the parking line at the mall. Self-sufficiency is good for the soul and the wallet.

Audrey HepburnKeep clothing classy and classic. Slide right out of keeping-up-with-the trends pressure by sticking to simple but fashionable items that don’t date easily. European women have made this wardrobe base their signature and no one complains about them not having style!

These 10 things always look chic and sexy and you probably have them all in your closet now: a pencil skirt, a crisp white shirt, a fitted blazer, a sleeveless tailored dress, a beige trenchcoat, a V-neck cashmere sweater, dark-wash jeans, a cropped leather jacket, a little black dress a la Audrey for evening, and sling-back pumps. Need an update? A good tailor can contemporize lengths and proportions quickly. Flared jeans can be whittled to modified bootcuts or skinnies, straight skirts can be tapered to follow the body and graze the knees, and shoulder pads can be removed and the excess hump at those seams snipped.

honeycomb banglesWear just one new item that says “right now.” And you don’t have to splurge to get it. Check flea markets and consignment shops for these in-again items: one-shoulder dresses, 60s shifts in florals or gumdrop colors like lemon, hot pink, or orange, any top with draping or big sleeves like dolmans, puffs, or kimono styles, wide belts, clutch bags, bold vintage necklaces and big chunky bangles to stack, anything with tribal beading or fringe (that’s the 60s again but with a hippie vibe this time.)

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0 thoughts on “Rich Looks for the Cash Poor

  1. Every day I look in my closet and think that oh, boy, this is what I will be wearing for the next 10 years–yuck! Thanks for paring things down to the 10 pieces that really make a wardrobe work.

  2. I COMPLETELY agree with classic clothing and grooming yourself by yourself (even just doing so in general, but hey, that’s just me). I also love your writing style and how you brought good ol’ Carrie Bradshaw into the piece. :)

  3. Fern — yes — even the cash-poor can have cashmere and leather! It’s all about timing — and knowing where to shop. Everything goes on sale eventually (I got some lovely cashmere cardigans at J Crew last year oat the end of the season for a fraction of their original cost), and places like Daffy’s, Marshalls, Annie Sez, TJ Maxx …. they are a treasure trove!

  4. Yeah, this is so NOT new for me! I’ve always bought my cosmetics at the drugstore, have shopped vintage and thrift stores for jewelry and clothing, shopped the sample sales, and haunted the aisles of TJ Maxx, Daffys, Loehmann’s, Marshalls, Annie Sez, Mandee’s, Payless, Target and WalMart(and H&M since it hit the US)since I’ve been old enough to shop! It makes me laugh at how it’s suddenly “chic” to save money! It also makes me mad, because thanks to all the trendy people now wanting to be trendily cheap, the prices at my favorite “discount” stores have gone up! And yes, Fern, cashmere and leather can be affordable if one knows how to properly shop for it, and that goes for gourmet food items too.

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