Contributing Author: Carmen Ordoñez
Growing up I guess you could say I was always a bargain hunter when it came to shopping. Always on the lookout for the latest sales or where I could get that $200 designer dress for a lot less…or at least one that looks just like it. Maybe it came from watching my mom always asking for “descuentos” when she took me shopping with her. Or maybe it’s just that Latinas are born with a negotiating gene. At one point or another, by choice or not, we all go through times where we must economize. The great thing about fashion though is that you don’t have to spend a million bucks to look like a million bucks. I’ll be sharing some tips with you to teach you just that as well as how to evaluate your closet and shop on a budget in the New Year!
Evaluate your Wardrobe
Part of being a bargain shopper is knowing what you have in your closet. As you begin to look at each garment make several piles. I usually like to make a pile for the things I still wear, the ones that don’t fit but can be tailored, the ones that don’t fit at all and the OMG I haven’t worn this in more than 10 years pile. For the items that you haven’t worn in a long time ask yourself “am I really going to wear this again?” Chances are probably not. Sometimes it’s hard to let go—trust me I’d been holding on to clothes that I hadn’t worn since high school. But once you do, you’ll feel great, especially with the new found room in your closet. Evaluating your closet is a perfect way to help you know what lives in there. Next time you go shopping you’ll know not to buy that green blouse (even if it’s on sale) since you already have one very similar in your closet.
What to do with the items you’re not going to wear anymore? Why not host a clothing swap party. This is where you get with a group of friends and exchange clothes you don’t wear anymore. Hey, one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure right? This is a great way of updating your wardrobe without even spending a dime.
Invest in Key Pieces
Unlike trends, key pieces are those items you know you can always count on and will never go out of style, like the little black dress. It’s also wise to invest a little more in these items, since you’re going to be wearing them a lot more. Here are 5 key pieces that every woman should have in her wardrobe.
- White Collar Shirt- You can dress it up for work or dress it down with a pair of jeans. The choices and combinations are limitless. Don’t be afraid to try different styles, maybe a tunic or ruffled. You can also spice it up with some accessories like a necklace or tie also great for layering.
- The Little Black Dress or LBD- This piece will never go out of style. It can also take you from a casual lunch to a black tie affair. The great thing about black is that it is also very slimming. Gotta have the LBD.
- Black Pants- You can never go wrong with a pair of black pants. You can go with fuller line or a skinny cut for a modern look.
- Ballet Flats- Your feet will love you for these. They are comfy and still chic. Black and neutral colors are great, but a yellow or red ballet flat will definitely make your outfit pop.
- Wrap Dress- This has been a classic since Diane Von Furstenberg came out with it in the 70′s. This is personally one of my favorites too because it is so versatile and flattering.
Where to Shop
Part of being a smart shopper is knowing where to shop. My motto is you should never have to pay full price for anything. As I mentioned, trends come and go so I typically don’t like to spend a lot of money on trends. Here are some of my favorite places to shop on a budget.
Trends for Less
Designer Brands for Less
Overall, fashion is all about experimenting. So go out there, try something new. I remember when I was younger I would be afraid of what others thought and found myself trying to “fit in” with what I would wear. But once let go of that I was able to find my personal style. Remember, the best accessory that you could wear is confidence. So next time you’re wearing whatever your wearing, tell yourself how GREAT you look. God made you just the way you are and YOU are beautiful. And now you can rock your outfits looking affordably fashionable!
This article appeared in The New Latina Guide to a Fabulous 2011 Year!, a collection of insights and tips from a group of talented Latinas (and one Latino) on how to live life to the fullest. To download the free New Latina Guide, click here.
Carmen Ordoñez is the founder of the budget fashion blog, Viva Fashion, which features the latest in fashion, style and the celebrity look for less. Before launching her blog in 2008, she worked as an entertainment reporter and producer for a live news magazine TV show in Miami, Florida. Carmen has been featured in several media outlets including The Style Network, Daily Candy, Fab Sugar, Woman’s World Magazine and was also featured in an article on Top Cool Blogs about Fashion in Seventeen Magazine. She’s also a frequent style contributor to television shows such as Plum TV, NBC’s South Florida Today and has severed as a spokesperson for top brands including T.J. Maxx and Marshalls.
Author is the model on all photos