Ever since I entered the Twitterverse, it has come to my attention that certain brands are no-gos. Just like being a mathlete, it’s social suicide to post a picture of your new Coach purse or Juicy Couture necklace, and heaven forbid you ever step foot in Aeropostale or Forever 21. While I’m totally on the bandwagon for banning brands such as Crocs and fads like cargo shorts, I just don’t understand why other things dubbed as “cheap” are taboo. Yes, Forever 21 produces some god-awful articles of clothing, but guess what? So does Chanel and Marchesa. Just because it’s expensive, doesn’t automatically make it gorgeous, classic, and worth the money.
So I’m about to say something totally groundbreaking: It’s OK to buy something even if it’s cheap or the brand isn’t top designer. Wearing head-to-toe designer is tres tacky, even Princess Kate knows and practices this. Here, she mixes a Breton (British equivalent of American Gap) top with a pair of light-wash jeans for a polo match. Mix and match classic designer with trendy-cheapy pieces to create your own unique style.
When it’s OK to pay less for your wardrobe:
- Trendy pieces that won’t be in style in five months (bubble necklaces, peplum tops, jeggings, chunky or sky-high heels, high-waisted shorts)
- Select seasonal pieces (tank tops, summer shorts, plastic sunglasses, leggings, chunky sweaters, sandals)
- Select workout clothing (tops, running pants, running shorts, socks)
- Select bags (a tote for class, a crossbody for parties, a bag for a night on the town or for running errands)
When you should pay a little more for your wardrobe:
- Classic pieces (a little black dress, a good pair or two of jeans, pumps, a few blazers)
- Select seasonal pieces (a good winter coat, cashmere sweaters, leather boots)
- Select workout clothing (a good pair of sneakers for support when running)
- Professional clothing (slacks, blazers, work-appropriate tops and dresses – a good idea to have these pieces tailored so they fit you perfectly. No wardrobe malfunctions allowed in the office!)
- Select bags (every girl needs at least one or two good, classic style leather bags for nights out or when your outfit just needs that special something. Buy one or two in basics colors like black and brown, then add a fun pop color. Take care of them and they will last for decades)
You can shop at cheap places like Forever 21, you just have to know what to look for. 21 actually has some cute dresses, tops, and come on…their jewelry section is to die for when you’re looking for trendy statement pieces. If you get your nose out of the air for a split second, you would see that Coach has a nice selection of pretty handbags. Ignore the ones with the “C”s all over them (those are cheapest bags on the site for a reason) and actually look at their bags. I’m kind of in love with this bag from the Madison collection tbh. If you look past the tacky velour tracksuits with “Juicy” screenprinted on the butt, you’ll see that Juicy Couture (before it’s financial demise…RIP) had some very pretty coats and flowy tops. For those of you who remember East Coast Barbie/OMGivenchy Sloane (God, I fucking miss her), she herself sported a Juicy winter coat and admitted it proudly on Instagram when asked where she bought it. Aeropostale used to be one of my favorite stores when I was little but I’ve definitely grown out of “Aero” being plastered across my chest. Instead, I go there for uber cheap bandeaus ($8) and cute but reasonably priced workout and yoga tops. I shop at places like TJ Maxx for scarves, belts, swimsuits, trendy print tees, and decorations for my apartment. There is nothing wrong with that!
Buying cheap brands is more than OK. The rule of thumb is just to know what to look for. Of course you will be laughed at if you buy that polyester top that barely covers your navel from Forever 21 or that tacky logo Coach purse or wallet. However, if you build your wardrobe with a base of designer classics then add the trendy duds on top, you’ll have people beating down your door wanting to know where you got that outfit. Then you get the pleasure of seeing the shock on their faces when you tell them the bag they totally adore is actually Coach. That, my dears, is priceless.