Every year when the holidays come around, I am inclined to take a look at my closet and realize I am just not prepared. Without fail, as the temps drop my eyes wander to my limited wardrobe and I mentally calculate how I will be able to afford the outfits I’ll need for 10 days in New York, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Although it may not seem like a lot of money to many, last year I spent over $200 on a New Year’s Eve outfit. It was stunning but not very practical. Imagine me walking around the grocery store in 5 inch heels, an off the shoulder jumper and large hoop earrings. I’m sure I would turn heads but not in a good way!
Despite the impracticality, after debating with myself for two weeks I made the purchase so that I could bring in the New Year right. Sadly, my plans were cancelled and although I had fun, wearing this ensemble to a very small and intimate party with 3 of my oldest friends (and their children) was not what I had in mind when I bought it! I could have worn a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and fit in perfectly.
With my pockets $200 lighter, I rang in the New Year with friends who could care less about what I was wearing and realized that my closet may not be filled with beautiful baubles and the latest trends but I have love. And ingenuity. This year my pockets are tight. Very tight. I cannot afford to drop $200 on things that I can only wear on special occasions. And my closet is still in need of winter fashion. But I can recycle items I already own and add pieces that will bring them to life.
Credit: Beto Ruiz Alonso on Flickr
For example, I have this little black dress from Ann Taylor that’s been in my wardrobe for almost ten years. I absolutely love it and with a bit of embellishment, I can easily make it look fashion forward. One of the hottest trends I’ve seen this season are bright, boldly colored tights, and my plan is to purchase red tights to give my dress new life. I have a great pair of boots and the best little purse made from recycled Coca-Cola tabs (a gift) that will all look fab together.
And for the cold days of winter, I’m going to hit both the consignment and thrift stores on the North Shore of Long Island, New York. I know I will find treasures and be able to put together entire outfits for under $30. I’ve been studying some of the masters at thrifting and consignment shopping, like my friend Jennae of Green and Gorgeous. Her outfits of the week are always affordable and she highlights them while spending time with her family. By doing less she is loving more, her husband is developing his photography skills while their daughter will sometimes grab the camera and take a picture of her parents lovingly staring into each others eyes.
I plan on doing the same. I love fashion, but I love having the ability to pay my bills more! There will be no splurge purchases this year, but I will look very fashionable on a daily basis, spend a lot less and celebrate the holidays surrounded by the love of family and friends without the stress caused by overspending. Although this is my first “official” holiday season as a divorced single mother, I will shower love on myself and my son, look good doing it and be free of the the stress that comes from having empty pockets because I wanted to build my wardrobe. I’m taking advice from the Jackson 5 and will “Spread Love on Christmas” while looking good for less.
Do you have any tips for consignment/thrift shopping for me? I’d love to hear them!
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