Tips from a Recessionista

During the past years we have gone through the worst nightmare any fashionista could have: a recession. Let’s just say that fashion as we previously knew it is dead. We used to live with the basics, on the sale racks, and waiting anxiously for tax breaks so we could go and shop more! Yes, I know, these past years have been quite boring for most of us.

However, during the recession new pleasures were born. An appreciation for the ‘old’ gave way to Vintage, Mom’s closet, and thrift markets. We also started to leave behind our obsession with designer clothing and  logos, and focused on the search of more unique clothing from new and innovative designers. Things like the anti-mass produced and the green movement showed us how we are supposed to live. I mean, H&M and Zara peaked during these past years!

For me, this period symbolized a re-birth of fashion. Shopping was no longer as easy as going to Bloomingdale’s and buying a pair of jeans: it was a real hunting experience. I can’t remember the last time I went shopping with a reasonable budget in mind, or a time when I spent tangible money on a luxury item.

When I moved to New York, I went through what I call my Gap era… I used to buy everything in Gap (it was really depressing!). I would find interesting things, but then I would see people in the street with my same outfit; not once but 10 times a day. Dressing in mass-produced garments drove me crazy!!! During the Spring I went to Barcelona hoping that no one would have my same poorly chosen clothes, only to find that in every street someone was wearing what I owned. Look: if you don’t believe me, I even have a picture to prove what I went through during my Gap era.

Opportunistic, curious and open-minded, are words I use to describe my mindset while shopping. I will show you a few examples. My favorite pair of shoes are a pair of Richelieu Garbo antique gold leather heels. They are inspired by cabaret shoes. These Repetto feel like heaven, since they were originally designed for ballerinas. Usually they retail for 235.00 Euro. I got them for US$20.00. How??

The answer: Sample sales. My friend Daniella Samper used to work at Repetto, and did we enjoy those sample sales! That is my first tip: subscribe to sample sale websites. They notify you when and where are the sample sales happening.***Remember: never buy something ugly just because the price is low, that is simply ridiculous.

Regarding clothes, if I don’t wear something from my own collection I wear something from a new fashion designer. I love little boutiques that sell unique things at good prices. Darling in New York City has all my needs in-store. There are only three pieces of each style in the store, so it is very unlikely that you will see someone wearing your same dress. Most importantly, the designers are local, the quality is good, and the designs are unique. Entering boutiques like Darling in New York City is the most personal, romantic and beautiful shopping experience you can have. It does feel like heaven. I mean, they even host private shopping parties! Would Bloomingdale’s do that? NEVER!

My last advice is to never underestimate designer markets. I cant’t remember the last time I shopped for a piece of jewelry at a store. That’s because I have found amazing and beautiful things at designer markets. The Market NYC and The Portobello St Market in London are only two examples of hundreds of great markets full of treasures waiting to be found! *** Below Portobello Market in London

There is absolutely no reason to go around dressed from head to toe in luxury brands or dressed up in mass-produced garments. Today, with so many options available, dressing plainly is a synonym for lack of imagination. Really…go on and shop for more unique stuff, you will never go back to the old.

ps. stay tuned, next week the new stuff comes in and… I found these amazing hand-made bangles from India that I will be selling with my collection! You’ll love them.


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