Trying not to Break the Bank

I love fashion. I like looking at pictures from fashion week, runway shows and street style. I like to read blogs about style, browse Pinterest and seek inspiration from Instagram and magazines. But sometimes, it can be discouraging. It often seems like everything is too expensive, like I cannot afford anything I want. My wishlist grows longer and more unattainable with each season. A Mansur Gavriel bag. A Chanel headband. Miu Miu sunglasses. A DVF wrap dress. Rachel Antonoff everything. Not only does my wishlist seem to grow indefinitely, but it can also sometimes feel like there is not space for people like me in the fashion world. How can I participate in a conversation about beautiful clothes when I cannot afford any of them?

I am a college student. I work two jobs- one at my school and one as a babysitter. I have living expenses, and I also have many things I have to prioritize over clothes, which often end up last on the list. I am young, about to graduate college and enter the real world, and I don’t think it is reasonable or even possible to make a lot of money at my first job. But, even though some of the louder voices in fashion make me feel isolated: relatively poor in the world of the super-wealthy, I know I am not alone. I know I have friends, peers and classmates, who cannot afford the latest trends. I know there is a generation of young women, working their butts off who have to put their money towards a rent payment and not Isabel Marant’s  newest innovation. We have not made it to the top yet, but we want to look good trying.

Thrifting gives me an opportunity to do this, to buy clothes without putting to large a dent in my limited budget. I have found some of my nicest pieces of clothing thrifting: multiple silk blouses, cashmere sweaters, wool skirts, hand-sewn blouses. And, since I mostly shop at mega-stores like Goodwill or Salvation Army, I often pay only five or six dollars for things like this. Thrifting also enables me to buy more without compromising. I do not have to save for one piece per season; I can incorporate trends into multiple outfits buying skirts, shoes and tops at a thrift shop. I can still afford dinner and drinks with my best friends while wearing something I love, and that is priceless.

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