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Recession Chic
by Janette Maack

02.08.09
When it comes to shopping on a budget, knowing when to buy cheap‐chic and when to splurge is half the battle
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You’re broke. We get it. We’re broke too. Even the world of high fashion is cutting back: Marc Jacobs announced last week that instead of cutting jobs he will downsize invites to his next show from over 2000 down to 700. If you are lucky enough to be included in this group you likely aren’t concerned about the recession. For the rest of us, however, recession means one heart‐wrenching thing for certain: less shopping!

When it comes to shopping on a budget, knowing when to buy cheap‐chic and when to splurge is half the battle. The trick is to build a basic wardrobe of high‐quality, well‐fitting items. Each season you can refresh your wardrobe without breaking your bank by purchasing less‐expensive, trendy pieces and accessories. Mixing in your high‐quality basics makes your less‐expensive items look anything but. If you wear your $25 sundress with flip‐flops, for example, it looks like a $25 sundress. If you pair it with stylish wedges and a long pendant necklace it looks like a $250 frock. While luxury spending may be a thing of the past for most of us (what, no more $300 highlights?!), there’s still hope for updating your spring wardrobe.

With a bargaining spirit we canvassed the local area for the best deals on spring must‐haves, and here’s what we found:

Premium Denim: Crossroads Recycled Fashion usually has a wide selection of great premium denim in excellent condition‐ we found Citizens for Humanity, Seven for all Mankind, Joe’s, and more at locations in San Jose, South San Jose, Berkeley, and Santa Cruz.

Basics: H&M has high‐fashion basics in the season’s hottest colors. H&M is located in Santana Row and downtown San Francisco.

Spring Sandals: DSW on Stevens Creek in San Jose has one of the largest shoe selections I have ever encountered. There you will find a variety of favorite brands like Steve Madden Luxe and Marc by Marc Jacobs (even Jimmy Choo and Prada are available online!) and new styles for remarkably low prices.

Bold Jewelry: Target has a surprisingly good selection of fashion jewelry in addition to seasonal collections from high fashion jewelry designers such as Dean Harris. Urban Outfitters also carries unique statement‐making jewelry at reasonable prices.

A Statement Jacket: Most definitely this season’s number one must‐have, a uniquely cut jacket or a classic style in an unexpected print or fabrication is at the top of our shopping list. Try Forever 21 for a wide variety of spring styles.

 
 

Want to make your dollars go further?

Here are some tried and true, recession‐proof tips from a professional bargain‐hunting fashionista:

Buy bold jewelry‐ you can dress up basic pieces with a statement‐making pendant, earrings, or cuff bracelet.

Invest in a filmy scarf in a bold print to dress up your jeans and tees.

Play with different ways of tying the scarf to create new looks. ‐ Make your own!

Buy some wine and invite your friends over for a crafting night. Making your own jewelry or knitting scarves is an easy way to start, and you can find everything you need at local craft stores.

Take your outdated purchases to consignment (note‐they will only take seasonal merchandise so don’t bring your parka in March). You can make a bit of extra cash, but usually get more for your money if you accept the store credit option.

Try Crossroads Recycled Fashion when you are in need of new jeans!

 
   
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illustration janette maack