If someone asked me the number of times I have seen style regret in a woman’s eyes, I couldn’t give you a number. Countless! Buying clothing that’s cheaply made, never acknowledging until it’s too late that when you add up all the poorly cut fabrics and horrific quality, you could have just had one amazing pair of pants. Just recently a reader emailed me in such anguish after realizing that if she had just held onto her hardly earned cash, she could have had one pair of great jeans that accentuated her body, versus a closet full of pants that she loathed. I always ask myself, where does this pretense come from, that you can skimp on quality clothing and think that in the end you’ll have anything worth hanging in your closet after one run in the washing machine? As it is true in all parts of life, there are certain things you can skimp on, and others that you must simply lay your money down on the counter and be done. Let’s cover the key areas of style to skimp, versus the parts that will leave you with what amounts to manure in your wardrobe.
No matter what lies you have been told, let’s set the record straight, you can’t skimp on quality pants. There is nothing like a pair of jeans that can hug curves if you have them, and create them if you don’t. There’s nothing like putting on a pair of wool pants with stretch that fit your lower half so beautifully, you feel obligated to take an extra glance in the mirror before stepping out. On the other hand, is there anything worse than a “mom” jean that flattens your moon like a pancake, with a horrific bland wash to boot? Is there anything worse than seeing a woman hiding under elastic waist pants because they came in…dare I use the words…”a set!” I want to be clear, these sad fashion choices are made by women of all ages…buying skinny jeans with 8% stretch, as if they would ever stay up on their own after walking for five minutes in them. I like to refer to those types of pants as ONSS (One-Night-Style-Stand) in the style world, because there’s zero chance you’re ever going to see them on your body again. Keep your focus to quality denim such as Hudson and JBrand, and your professional choices to brands like J.Crew and Theory (just to name a few). Speaking specifically to the women who typically hold the most curve on their lower half, the hourglass and pear body shapes, if there was ever a shape that needed a designer to give two cents about fit and tailoring, “it had to be you.” So remember that of all women, you most definitely need to lay your dollars on the line.
Feel free to pass the buck!
Now that we’ve annihilated any thoughts of buying poorly made pants, it’s time we hit the places where it’s actually fun to experiment in the world of style without having to spend a fortune to do it. By far one of my favorite areas to spend little and still look fabulous is accessories. In particular, with websites like Etsy.com in play, which give creative people a fighting chance to get their designs seen by the public, you can snag amazing clutches for as little as $20 (think poppyandlime or oceanpearlbags on Etsy). Clutches are a great style investment because they can serve dual purposes: worn alone to add interest and dimension to your look, or to compartmentalize a larger bag and pull out as needed. I always recommend focusing on bright colorful print clutches to get the most out of your money. Another area I’ve become slightly obsessed with where you don’t have to spend a ton of money is watches. Can’t we all remember having fun colorful watches as children, that we were only too happy to don with our clear jelly shoes? Well that era of the fabulous colorful watch is back and in full effect! It’s the bright watch that adds a pop of color to your ensemble, and helps to close out your look. Think about brands like Nixon, and in particular Swatch, who put out so many fabulous watches this summer that saying no to owning more than one felt downright wrong.
So if you’re reading this in your home or workplace and thinking of all the regretful choices you’ve made in your closet in the name of price, it’s time to start reevaluating where you’re shopping. If you just so happen to be sitting in a fitting room lost and confused, wondering why nothing fits your shape, let me help you take the first step: pick your face up off the floor, put on your clothes, walk out of that poorly lit fitting room, and refuse to spend another dollar on any piece that doesn’t possess amazing fit and quality to boot!
~Lauren Deloach, editor of Category5~
Pictured above: Polka Dot Clutch by oceanpearlbags on Etsy.com- $27.99