The other day, I had a total shopping revelation. Many of us have these every once in awhile, and these revelations give us a new perspective on how we shop, what we buy, and what our style is. Let me start from the beginning....I'll keep this semi-short so as to not bore you with all the details....I wasn't sure if I should post something so personal, but....well, here goes....
I was one of those kids who moved around a lot because of my dad's job. Anyone who's ever moved around, especially during childhood, will know how hard it is to fit in at a new school. At some point, clothing became one of the ways to try to fit in, so I tried to dress like the other kids. Now, growing up, I didn't have a lot of money to blow on clothes - I'm not saying we were destitute. My sister and I were actually a tad bit spoiled - if we wanted something, we usually got it, so long as it fit my parents' budget - some kids ask for new shoes and get designer, we got nine west. Anywho, it was during my teen years that I learned how to bugdet shop - how to scout the thrift stores, the sale racks, the "cheapie" stores to find the inexpensive clothes that still made me look well-dressed. It was during these teen years that my love for shopping really started to take off.
Once I got to college, I was flat a$$ broke. I had enough money to cover bills and what not, but I didn't want to work during the school year because I really wanted to focus on school. Instead, during the summers, I worked as a waitress to earn money to live on during the school year. One summer, I worked at J Crew (in addition to the restaurant) at the ritzy mall in town where I was constantly taunted by the Coach store (which was across the hall), and all the rich women coming in with their designer bags and clothes, who blew through money like it was nothing. It really only made me want to work harder in school so I could get a good job after I graduated so I could one day afford designer goodies. Of course, I was still broke in college and couldn't even afford to budget shop - I couldn't shop at all - anywhere - period! Yea, it really sucked. I kept thinking, once I graduate, I'm going to get a good job and buy whatever the heck I want!
Well, after I graduated, I got a job with an ok pay...not enough to shop like I really wanted to - I could buy a couple things here and there, but it was no biggee. Then I got my second job, the one I have now, and I felt like I had really made it! I shopped like a madwoman, and oh was it fun! I started shopping at Banana Republic, which had been too expensive for me before, but now was juuuust right. In fact, for awhile, I only shopped at Banana Republic because it's right next to our office. I started going back to that ritzy mall - this time as a customer - and I shopped the stores I couldn't afford before: bebe, Guess, Banana Republic, Cache...the list goes on. Course, after racking up a couple thous in credit card bills, and tiring of paying the bills every month, I decided to take on Project Debt-Free.
For Project-Debt-Free, I decided to pay off as many of my bills as quickly as possible. This meant, if at all possible, to not buy anything until my debts were fully paid off. I actually did pretty good – it was just like being in college again. I had a few slip-ups, but I'm proud to say that I'm almost there! My Gucci shades I posted about a few weeks ago were a treat to myself for having come so far along in my quest to pay off my debt. Actually, lately, I've been slipping up a lot - as obvious by my posts of my latest shopping splurges, but I can't wait to reach my goal! Maybe because I said after I've paid off my debt, I'd blow the next paycheck?
Anywho, I had my shopping revelation a couple weeks ago. I had been thinking that once I pay off my debt, I could say goodbye to budget shopping and sale racks - that I could start getting more designer stuff, etc. Well, I had just purchased my Gucci shades, so I was feeling pretty good about my "spending ability." I decided to check out the designer section at Nordstrom to see what I could afford. I looked at a couple dresses - just simple dresses, nothing too fancy - they were like 4 thou each (I think they were Ralph Lauren). I found the Missoni rack and took a look at one of their tank tops - $400 a pop. It was about now I had my lil revelation....$400 for a freakin tank top?? No way. Maybe one day when I win the lottery or become a celebrity, but I just couldn't fathom spending $400 on a tank top, I don't care who makes it! I decided that while shopping, I needed to incorporate a little of who I was (in college) with a little of who I'm becoming (designer shopper), and that I needed to start integrating budget items with designer - that sale-rack & budget shopping isn't bad shopping, but rather it's smart shopping. So, one thing you may notice in my future posts is the mixture of designer and budget – I like to think of it as a challenge to look good on a budget. At least I've always believed in one thing - buy trendy cheap, buy classic expensive.