$700B Bailout Fashion

One thing a bad economy can do for you is to make you more industrious. When it comes to fashion, I like to think that I’m a survialist. That is, rather than revert completely to classics (I’m just not sure I understand classics. The idea behind classics is that they never go out of style, right? Which means that they’re either non-descript enough to go undetected, or you never have to buy new clothes — neither of which interest me.), I rise to the laid-off-spouse-induced challenge and force myself to innovate! So here are a couple of things that I did recently to make lemons into lemonade. Um, they didn’t all end up being lemonade; some turned out more like pee. But anyway, maybe it will trigger some ideas for you:

  • Restructured my jeans collection. I have about six pairs of jeans in rotation, two of which I wear pretty regularly. That doesn’t seem right; I should want to wear all of them. My analysis told me that the two pairs I wore were hemmed for wear with heels. Which means that half the time I’m forced to wear heels just because I want to wear those nice jeans. But I also want some pairs to wear with flats. My flats jeans were all faded and on their last threads. So I took a few of the other pairs that I wasn’t wearing, mostly because I didn’t like the fit or leg width quite as much, and brought them to the tailor to have them re-made into jeans for flats. Voila! Three new pairs of jeans at a fraction of the cost of new ones. My current favorites are Joe’s Jeans, so I made sure that I had one high heeled pair and one flats pair. And I just love dark washes — they make you look so skinny!
  • Lopped off my capris. I had several pairs of capris that I bought about three years ago that just didn’t look right anymore, and a pair of Burberry-print slacks that had just too wide a flare. One boring evening (out of many) I took a pair of scissors to the slacks and hand-hemmed them to be knee-length shorts. Suddenly my tired looking slacks became a set of cute shorts! Except for the questionable workmanship. So the capris are getting the same fate. Perfect for wearing with my cream-colored nubuck cowboy boots that I got on super sale at a boutique last month.
  • Belted it out. Being on spending moratorium wasn’t much fun, but in my book, spending money on belts doesn’t count! I acquired three new belts: 1) a patent leather wide belt in a royal purple, 2) an amazing and cheap reversible (!) studded leather belt from Steve Madden — black on one side and brown on the other, and 3) a thin, stamped python belt from Betsey Johnson. Sticking a belt on all my tops suddenly transformed my clothes — and I like belted tops over skirts. I’ve been wearing loose-fitting, billowy tops for the past year or two, both capitalizing on the trend and taking the opportunity to let my gut hang loose, so belting these tops was a nice change. As a bonus, I took the Steve Madden belt to my local cobbler, and he pounded a new buckle hole into it for me at no charge.
  • Accessorized. I’m a big fan of long necklaces — 32 inch and 34 inch ones — layered. I just think they look so great over the longer tops that are around now (and that I hope will stay around til I die. Fashion gods, please do not allow the cropped tops of the late ’90s to come back unless I get a personal trainer!). I have a few in my regular rotation that I got from Target, which has a surprisingly fresh and trendy accessories section — and J. Crew is currently having a final sale online where you can get pretty decent deals on gold plated jewelry for layering. I also bought a giant flower pin made of feathers that I am sure is going to look right any day now.

So good news: my husband got a job! It’s a 3-minute commute from our house and his office will have lavish facilities like windows, in-office closets, a beautiful gym and a really nice cafeteria. I am jealous. He starts in two weeks. Just in time to save me from the classics.

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