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“You don’t have to spend a fortune to fit in the fashion culture, no matter what your style. Being financially smart and savvy is classy.”
Being Smart and Savvy is Classy – Why You Don’t Need to Go Broke to Dress with Confidence.
Fashion + Self-Love Party, Day 3.
Guest post by Deanna from Lucky.Love.Life.
Let me tell y’all, mom life can get pretty busy. There comes a point where getting a shower, putting on jeans and a blouse not covered in whatever your child last ate, is the very definition of dressing up.
I planned my first two children and then I was surprised with twins just a short while later. Yup, I had four children age 4 and under. It’s safe to say fashion was the furthest thing from my mind. In fact, I am pretty certain I hid most of my nicer clothes for fear they would end up stained with Lord only knows what from one of my little blessings.
Living in Montana, like anywhere else has its pros and cons. I love this state. I love the simplicity and the fact that I can still borrow a cup of sugar from my neighbor. The mountains, clean water, and fresh air. The laid-back style. Unless you are attending a wedding or fundraiser, there aren’t a whole lot of reasons to get all dressed up around here after high school prom. I love that I’m not expected to spend an entire paycheck to “fit in”.
When it comes to wardrobe, well, camo, good jeans, and some work clothes are the staples of so many closets around these parts. I have some cute and simple summer clothes and you bet your knickers I have a nice winter jacket. That’s not a splurge purchase in Montana, it’s a necessity lol! But dresses, well there was a time when I owned only one for over five years. I think I wore it twice. This photo is a good definition of my basic wardrobe for spring/fall.
Reality Can Ruin a Good Outfit.
You see the average date around here not likely to be a fancy restaurant followed by an evening at the opera or even some high scale nightclub. No, a normal date here will most likely end up with you spending quite a bit of time outdoors. Shooting, Hunting, Mudding, Four-Wheeling, Snowmobiling, and days at the lake are pretty common dates in my nook.
Seriously, I went on a date once that ended with us spraying one another off at the local carwash because we were covered from head to toe. My jeans could have stood up on their own, but man we had a great time! Hence dress wisely because digging your four-wheeler out of two feet of mud wearing Jimmy Choo’s will have the gents laughing.
The thing is, this area, and so many other rural areas scattered throughout the great United States, survive on practicality. Times are hard, prices are up, wages are down, and some people struggle just to keep the lights on. The prices at Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom are enough to send a hard-working rural person into a frenzy. Paris runway….yeah not happening.
Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should.
I’ve witnessed full-blown arguments on how a person could ethically spend $1000 and more on a pair of shoes or a handbag when that money could feed 50 starving children for an entire month.
Does it mean people don’t want nice things? Of course not, but they think in terms of wants versus needs very carefully. Does it mean they can’t look nice at an affordable price? No. And seriously..if you can tell the difference between designer label fashion and the other guys, you have way too much time on your hands for trivial nonsense. Being savvy is classy, rational, and rewarding.
I’m pretty sure no one sits on their deathbed declaring, “I wish I would have spent more money on designer clothes. I feel so much regret for using my money on my mortgage, vacations, and family memories.”
Bear with me while I regain my composure because I was rolling just writing that sentence!
Over half of my closet is at least 20 years old. I owe a great deal of gratitude and self-praise for maintaining a healthy weight that has allowed me to fit in these clothes for that long. And hang drying my favorites has kept them looking decent.
You can bet your booty that since I shop so rarely, I make it count. I buy practical pieces that are interchangeable with many other pieces. I aim for functional, classic, and timeless. And really, shouldn’t all people? It isn’t about what we can and can’t afford. Just because we can afford something doesn’t mean we should run out and get it.
Should I spend $350 on a super nice evening dress that I’ll wear once every three years, or find a similar alternative for $75 and spend the difference on a good charity or mini-vacation? I’ll choose the second every single time.
And here’s why. Life is about people, not stuff. While fashion can very much be a part of how we express ourselves to others, it’s not who we are at our core. An overstuffed closet with expensive tags will not add value to our lives or to those around us.
I see things like Mariah Carey’s closet and question the senselessness of it. Who on earth needs over a thousand pairs of super expensive shoes. I look at this photo and see 50 full-ride college scholarships for children in need, idly sitting on little shelves collecting dust. I’m not trying to be judgmental, but it’s a case of just because you can, should you?
You Can Feel Confident and Sexy Without Going Broke.
I’ve never been one to believe that you have to spend a paycheck to look nice. About two years ago I decided to add a couple dresses to my closet. I was head over heels in love and spending more time trying to look cute than normal haha! I found one dress I liked so much that I ordered it in two colors. Both dresses ran me a grand total of $78.
I wore one out to dinner one night and another to a concert a few months later. Then they started creeping farther and farther back in my closet. So I decided to get all dressed up and get some photos taken. It was fun to look nice for no reason in particular. As a mom of four, I just don’t get to do that as often as I’d like. Although I have to say I am not used to showing this much skin. I always feel a little impractical in a dress but I sucked it up. Bear with the cheesy backgrounds. We were having fun just messing with props.
I wore the pink one to the concert paired with my Justin Boots and a cute Jean Vest. Both dresses for under $78. I have worn the black one at least 7 times and the pink 5. Not bad at all for this gal. The thing is, if I had bought a really fancy expensive dress, I would have worn it once and left in the closet afraid it would get ruined. These are cute and affordable, casual but easy to dress up a little extra paired with the right accessories.
I don’t begrudge people spending a little more when they have super important functions to attend. I spent about $150 for a good pantsuit that I wore to give a lecture at a college. Then I sold it to a friend who wears it to work probably three days a month. There just has to be a reasonable balance in life.
See the wrinkles in that pink dress. I had chased one of my children around the set for a good ten minutes, laughing and having a great time right before these photos were shot. See the crow’s feet on those eyes? I earned those fair and square with late nights studying and changing babies and laughing. No photoshop here. Life is crazy and I choose to roll with it. Perfectionism is exhausting.
What Really Makes a Great Outfit?
But I see the competition in blogging, all over Instagram and I see why people get discouraged. Instagram is Instaphony. The myth they’re selling is that you have to spend, spend, spend to fit into the fashion world. That every photo must look perfect and top notch. The photoshopping is over the top. If you were to see these clothes on the people in real life, chances are, they wouldn’t look quite so polished. Do you think these fashionistas roll out of bed looking like that? Nope. They have bed head and pillowcase face just like the rest of us.
Do you think if “she” spent $850 on her dress and you spent $110 on a similar one, that ‘she’ looks better than you? I hope not. Slap some confidence and a smile on that face and I guarantee you’ll look like a million dollars. Have you ever seen someone that just oozes confidence? They look good regardless of how they are clothed. It’s like their face ads sparkle to whatever they are wearing and suddenly they just look great no matter what.
Sometimes you’ll see something on a rack and think, eh it’s ok. Then you see it on a girl that oozes charisma and suddenly you want that outfit. Guess what? The outfit hasn’t changed.
So my point is this: You don’t need an $850 dress, or pair of shoes, or handbag, to fit in or look amazing. Buy what makes you feel cute and inspired but remember your life is about experiences, not things. You need confidence, charisma, and a rockin’ smile. No matter what you are wearing, you’ll be dressed to the nines.
P.S. If you need a little help getting your confidence and game plan for life back on track. Click right here for a totally free challenge that helps with just that!
Have you ever struggled with feeling like you need to spend crazy amounts of money to look good?
Or are you a lover of savvy shopping?
Tell us in the comments!