Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How to Dress Rich Without Breaking The Bank

No, this is not one of those Which One is Budget Priced comparison things....this is real live luxury without having to resort to acrylics and plastics.

Let me begin with this. I know it seems off subject but stick with me. I have had The Weather Channel since 5:30 this morning, just following all of the hurricane Sandy news. Crazy....blizzards as a result of a Cat 1 hurricane??? What's up with that? Part of the Atlantic City Boardwalk washed away. Fifty homes in Queens burned during a flood. All while I am sitting here expecting a high of 81 degrees here at my home in California. Many attribute this weather to global warming. I found a very recent article from Washington Post which discussed this. Many people poo-poo the idea of global warming. But lets face it. We have seen plenty of record breaking weather lately. Tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri in May 2011. Hurricane Katrina in August, 2005. Hurricane Sandy last night. Deadly heat and bitter winter cold. Is it due to global warming. Maybe, maybe not. But I would rather err on the side of caution.

So, what can one do? I firmly believe that one great way to lesson our impact is to stop consuming cheap products. Think about it. Grab any one of your cute discount department store "leather" shoes. I'll bet you find "All man made materials" or "Man made uppers" or something to that extent. How about your cute sweaters? 100% Acrylic. Do a search and find out how these things are made. It's interesting food for thought. If that doesn't make you think twice, look at your labels and see where these products are coming to us from. Likely not made in USA. So now there is the energy used in production and the energy used in the transportation. And....how long do these products last? I can rarely get through a single season with man made shoes. They have to be thrown away because they start peeling. Yuck. My clothes do okay but I simply don't like the feel of most artificial fabrics. Keep sticking with me, kay? Cuz now it gets fun!

What if the new items you bring into your wardrobe are cashmere, fur, wool and real leather? Sounds luxurious, right? Seriously!! I love to wear cashmere. It feels like wearing a hug. My Italian leather boots are going into my fifth season. I have two other pair of leather boots with a date at the cobbler's for new bottoms. There is still lots of life in those cute and comfy boots. I gave my mom a 3/4 length mink coat a few Christmases ago. Sounds like I'm filthy rich, right? Ha!!! Here is how to do this:

#1 ~ Thrift stores

I just found the cutest pair of suede (real suede!) boots at Goodwill last night. I cannot wait to wear them!!! I think I might have squealed when I found them. My Italian leather boots that I mentioned? I got them several years ago at Savers. I still love them. They are over calf, zip up the side, equestrian style black boots. Now, here is the thing....patience and commitment are a plus here. If you don't have it, it's well worth it to learn it. For the best prices, wait for the sale days. Salvation Army in my area has lots of good sales. For the best selection, avoid the sale days. And keep going back.

#2 ~ Garage and Estate Sales

I once found fabulous jewelry at a garage sale. Sterling silver, semi-precious stones, etc,etc. If you are into vintage costume jewelry, furs, leather, etc, find some estate sales. Think about it....how do you think antique dealers find a lot of their wares? Certainly not from other antique stores. Sometimes older people need to liquidate their belongings. And they can have some good stuff. I actually don't do this as often as I should. This is a great way to spend a Saturday with your significant other. Christopher and I have a lot of fun doing this. Its also a great way to decorate your home. I found the cutest chandelier for $2 at a garage sale this weekend. It will only require a little bit of spray paint!

You CAN wear fur without breaking the bank or killing innocent little animals!

#3 ~ Hand-me-downs

My sister has great taste. And a larger budget than I have. From her I scored my favorite cashmere cardigan and a leather Coach tote.  If this opportunity arises for you, jump on it! This method is also good for home decor. More on that another day.....

This Coach leather tote is not my actual bag but looks just like mine.

#4 ~ Antique Stores

I use antique stores if I want fur right away. You can pretty much find some kind of fur during any antique shopping excursion (can't say the same for thrift stores). Its more expensive than thrift but still far cheaper than new. And, you are not creating new demand for dead animals.

If you're not convinced yet, check this out:
Here is what this loot cost me. 

  • Italian leather boots $17.00 ~ thrift
  • Brown suede boots $13.00 ~ thrift
  • Black leather mid-calf boots $13.00 ~ thrift
  • Sterling silver amber stone ring $6.00 ~garage sale
  • Long sterling silver necklace chain $3.00 ~ thrift
  • Leather Coach tote bag free ~ hand-me-down
  • Mink coat $29.00 ~ thrift
  • Rabbit fur coat $6.00 ~ thrift
  • Mink cape $6.00 ~ thrift
  • Wool, cotton and cashmere sweaters can be found at my Salvation Army for $3 to $4 dollars each on a non sale day. Sale days, take 50% off.
With a little creativity and patience it is quite possible to have a unique and luxurious (and sustainable!) style. If you haven't tried this already, what are you waiting for??

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