Which brings up another excellent point: with thrift stores seeing dramatic increases in traffic and sales, what better time to pull those seldom-worn items out of your closet and donate them? Clear out your closet and do a public service at the same time...c'est très chic!
With the economy reeling like a frat boy after a third consecutive night of binge drinking, everyone from bloggers to the LA Times is offering advice on the virtues of making do with less, wardrobe-wise.
Fashion publicist Ali Froley, usually on her sixth or seventh designer shoe purchase by this time in the season, is on a spending freeze, forcing her to take a fresh look at the clothes she already has. "I have been recycling old things trying to make them look new again, calling them 'vintage insert-designer's-name-here,' " says Froley, who vows to buy only timeless, classic pieces once her freeze has thawed.
While uncertain economic times may dictate restraint, une femme didn't need a big, ol' nasty recession to appreciate the charms of a wardrobe built on classic pieces. But I've come to realize that "classic" doesn't have to mean dreary or conservative, or even traditional. It can also mean those items that feel like a second skin, that make you feel most like yourself, that work for your life and with your style. One woman's classic may be a cashmere sweater, for another (like gorgeous blogger Wendy B) it could be a vintage Ossie Clark coat.
But restraint is tough when retailers are throwing themselves at you like the band's roadie at last call. Discounts on top of discounts, interest-free credit, designers doing lines for K-mart...all designed to play into our need to feel like we're saving money as we spend. But it's no savings to buy stuff we won't wear, no matter how low the sale price, or to buy cheap crap that won't last a season. Now is the time to stay strong, to be discriminating. It's fine to take advantage of markdowns, as long as the tags aren't still hanging from the sleeve in the back of the closet a year from now. (And by my Amortization Axiom, it's also alright to pay full price, if the cost-per-wearing makes fiscal sense.)
Strategies such as mine and Froley's work on a lot of levels, Roy-Jarboe says. "Classic pieces make sense because you can wear them over and over again. It's less wasteful," she explains. "These are scary times and people don't know how to react. So at least they can go into their closets and give their things to people who need it more right now."