Frugal Fashion Shopping List

A donut scarf.

Hopefully fashions shaped like foods won't be on your shopping list.

Have you ever gone to the grocery store hungry and without a shopping list?  If you have, then you know how disastrous it can be.  Without your shopping list you have no guidelines.  You end up with more food than you need, because everything in sight sounds delicious.  Not to mention the more food you buy, the more money you spend. Smart shoppers make a list of what they need, and enjoy a small treat before heading down the aisles of their local supermarkets.  This got me thinking, about all the times I’ve gone to the mall and spent more than I need to.  What if I could make a shopping list, to set limits, beforehand.

Tools to Create a Fashion Shopping List

A few weeks ago I was doing research for my blog and stumbled upon three great fashion sites.  The first being Polyvore, a website that allows you to make an image collage of fashion items, creating a complete outfit.  The second site is LOOKBOOK.nu. LOOKBOOK.nu allows people, from all over the world, to post images of outfits they have created as inspiration for others.  The third site is Weardrobe, like LOOKBOOK.nu, it is an outfit sharing site.  Weardrobe provides a platform for people to share photos of what they wear.  So what do these sites have to do with my recent obsession with saving money, via the restrictions of a shopping list?  They are the shopping lists.

Polyvore

How do you make a shopping list on Polyvore?  It’s simple.  Polyvore allows you to browse through current fashion items, put the ones you like in a collage, print, and shop. With shopping list in hand, or collage in this case, you’ll know exactly what your shopping for. This is a tool to help set your purchasing limits, so you won’t buy more than you need. Polyvore features items from high end designers.  So your challenge is to use the collage, and find the look for less.

An item collage from Polyvore.

My fashion shopping list for a great fall outfit, designed at Polyvore.

This outfit cost a ridiculous $4, 438.  A price I’m sure none of you are willing to pay.  I challenged myself to find the look for less.  I kept the ring and necklace from the original because they were a steal.

The total for this outfit is $351.70.  A lot less in comparison to the outfit on the shopping list.  However, the shopping list kept me from spending money on items I hadn’t already budgeted for.  How much would you spend on this outfit?

LOOKBOOK.NU and Weardrobe

LOOKBOOK.nu and Weardrobe make it even easier to generate a shopping list.  You simply log onto the site, find an outfit you like, print it out, and start searching for your own frugal version.  These two sites allow you to keep up with fashion trends all over the world. Both sites are a great source for fashion inspiration.

A fashionable look posted by Sydney on Weardrobe.

I liked this look that Sydney posted on Weardrobe.

Frugal Fashion Tip

So how does shopping while your hungry apply to this? I thought a tip of a different kind might be helpful this week.

Frugal Fashion Tip: Shopping burns a lot of energy.  So you might be tempted to buy an Auntie Anne’s pretzel or Orange Julius while shopping.  Save yourself some money and calories, and eat a healthy snack before leaving home.  I recommend something like greek yogurt or oatmeal with blueberries.  Both will keep you feeling fuller longer, but not so full you’ll dread trying on clothes.

Image provided by Inventor Spot.

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Fashion, Public Relations, and Social Media

Twitter Bird.

Twitter bird.

Fashion. Public relations. Social media. What more could a girl like me need?  Fashion, PR, and social media are three of my favorite things.  The majority of my daily activities, as a graduate student, revolve around reading and learning about, or using one of these three things.  Wouldn’t it be great if somehow all three things were integrated, and could be used together to form my dream job?

My dream job isn’t so unrealistic after all.  Recently, public relations professionals have determined that integrating social media into brand marketing campaigns is essential to building a successful brand.  But a question now exists; can Facebook and Twitter really help build a better fashion brand?  Public relations professionals argue, yes, and here’s why.

How Social Media Changed Fashion

In an article on Mashable, Marcala Wright Lee, discussed five ways social media changed fashion:

  • Getting cozy in communities- social networks, forums, and blogs all allow for brands to create dialogue with customers.  This dialogue does more than just promote sales and events.  Social media allows brands to get cozy by generating dialogue based on customer service and feedback.
  • Creating niche communities- Facebook and Twitter are great tools for brands to use when trying to market a product to the masses.  However, some brands have taken it a step further, creating their own social media components on their websites.  These types of brands are attempting to appeal to a more specific audience.
  • Embracing mobile apps- with the evolution of social media, brands can now create apps allowing audiences to watch their runway shows, receive style tips, or even shop brand catalogues from mobil phones.  Social media has made it possible for people to, literally, shop anywhere.
  • The rise of style bloggers- people like me, who have a passion and expertise in the fashion industry, have changed the way fashion is marketed.  Bloggers are an invaluable resource, because they can help promote a brand to their already established networks.  Thus, increasing the brands network.  Many brands sponsor bloggers and use them to endorse their products.
  • The impact of user-generated content- social media has created a means for consumers to post product reviews, photo contributions, and their overall opinions of products on blogs and social media sites.  As a result, brands are constantly being talked about and, thus, receiving consumer attention.
Magazine cover Harpers Bazaar.

Magazines, like Harper's Bazaar, don't generate a venue for dialogue to take place between consumers and fashion brands.

Prior to social media the fashion industry had a closed relationship with the public.  Brands pushed information to consumers through magazines and print advertisements.  With the development of social media, and the five impacts it has had on fashion, information has begun to flow more freely between consumers and brands.  Consumers can now use social media to pull information and initiate a conversation about a brand.  Social media are a brand’s dream tool for three reasons.  First, they can use it to target niche audiences.  Second, social media helps to enlist the support of opinion leaders through blogs.  Third, brands get all the free endorsement they want from content, about their brand, generated by other social media users (obviously this is only a good thing if the content being posted is positive).  Why wouldn’t a fashion brand want to use social media?

Why Social Media

So how does this relate to PR?  It’s the job of the PR professional to monitor these online and social media conversations.  PR professionals must respond to questions and manage conversations, so the image and reputation of the brand are maintained.  In today’s world, consumers expect companies to engage them.  Consumers want to feel connected to the companies they purchase products from.  Social media are tools PR professionals can use to obtain and maintain those relationships and connections with consumers.

Twitter and Facebook have helped to generate more access between fashion brands and consumers, thus, making fashion brands appear more transparent and open.  An increase in company transparency will lead to increased consumer trust. Hitha Prabhakar, reported that designer, Diane von Furstenberg, saw a 13 percent increase in online traffic as well as an increase in sales, after the creation of the brand’s social media presence.

The Expert’s Opinions

It is not hard to find a PR firm that is solely devoted to fashion.  Examples include, Cameo PR, Seventh House, and People’s Revolution.   So how do firms like these apply what I just discussed to brand marketing campaigns, aiming to increase brand engagement and sales.  PR Couture provides an explanation of the positive impact social media can have on a fashion brand.  Feel free to listen to the YouTube videos and follow along with the slideshow, as a panel from Women’s Wear Daily Magic Tradeshow discusses the benefits of social media.

Frugal Fashion Tip

It’s a short one this week.

Tip: monitor blogs and follow designers on Twitter.  Many designers and bloggers will post information about exclusive sales and promotions on their Twitters or blogs.  If you monitor social media, you’ ll have access to money saving information.

Images provided by Laurence Borel and Harper’s Bazaar.

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Five Inexpensive Fall Fashion Trends

Fall is here.  Let the shopping begin.  Most of you are thinking about sprucing up your fall fashion wardrobe.  So what trends should you be shopping for?  Even more importantly, what stores have the best deals?  Well lucky for you I’ve done my homework so you don’t have to.

With the help of InStyle, Vogue and Fashionising I’ve created a list of my top five fall fashion trends. Pick all of them or only one.  No matter which one you pick you’re sure to add some sophistication and adventure to any outfit this fall, at the right price.

Top Five Fall Fashion Trends

Here are my top five.  Starting with my favorite, the full, ladylike skirt.

1.  Full Skirt

I love this trend.  Full skirts do wonders for the female silhouette. This style of skirt is tailored to sit right at the waist and then flow down, accentuating the smallest part of the female frame.  Ladylike skirts are the epitome of femininity.  Pair the skirt with a shear top and high heels for a more modern look.  The best part about this trend is that your local thrift store is loaded with the item.  Ladylike skirts from the 50s and 60s shouldn’t cost you more than a few dollars.

Full skirt for fall.

Skirt from ModCloth, only $44.99.

2. Military

Green military jacket.

Forever 21, $42.00.

I know what your thinking, military, again?  Don’t get upset, you’re saving money here my fellow fashionistas.  Finally, you’re getting your money’s worth out of a trend.  The military look is clean cut and sharp, the exact opposite of the feminine look of a ladylike skirt.  The benefit to this look is that it offers a sense of order and power to any outfit.  My favorite military trend is the army jacket, but the aviation look is in as well.  One tip, avoid camouflage.  You can pair it with jeans and a great pair of leather boots.

Black lace top.

Lace top for $26.00, from Figleaf.

3. Lace Clothing

This is one trend that must be executed with care and restraint.  I ask you, please be tasteful when shopping for a lace garment. You aren’t walking runways; you are walking the streets of the real world.  An entire lace outfit doesn’t leave much to the imagination, nor is it very tasteful.  My favorite look is the lace cardigan or a top with a few lace cutouts.  With the right pants and heels you have a great outfit for a night out.

4. Camel Colored Anything

Camel is a great color that isn’t season specific; it just so happens that it is a color of choice this season.  I bet you already have some camel colored garments in your closet.  Lucky you.  If you don’t, buy a camel coat, sweater, bag, or pair of shoes and you’ll be set all the way through spring.  Camel is a neutral, so it plays nicely with other garments.  Camel sweaters, pants, and shoes pair nicely with brown, white, blue, and black items already in your closet.

Urban Outfitters camel sweater.

Simple camel sweater from Urban Outfitters, only $48.00

5. Parka

H and M green parka.

H and M green parka for only $39.99.

This is a great fall trend, even though the item has been around for a few decades.  The new parka is more tailored and when paired with the right items can be the perfect finishing touch to any outfit.  Not to mention the added warmth of having a jacket that protects you from the elements.  Stylish and practical, does it get any better than that?

Those are the five items on my fall fashion shopping list.  So how did I do? Does my top five match yours, or did I miss something?  Let me know what you think.

Frugal Shopping Tip

You didn’t think I’d let you get away without a money saving tip, did you?  Well, here it is.

Frugal Fashion Tip: shop for seasonal trends after a season has already begun.

Some fashionistas advocate shopping for seasonal trends in advance.  I disagree on this issue.  I argue, use what you already have until a new season officially begins.  This way you can shop sales.  By the time fall weather hits, stores are putting fall fashions on sale to make way for holiday merchandise.  If you can stand the wait, you’ll save a lot of money.

According to The Budget Fashionista there is no reason to shop this fall, because all the trends are repeats.  I have to disagree.  There are plenty of reasons to shop. New spins on old trends are what frugal fashionistas live for.  Repeat to me means inexpensive.  You can save money by picking up reinvented trends from thrift stores and reusing what you already have.  This fashion season should be kind on your wallet.  Will you be shopping fall trends this fall?

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Frugal Fashion Tips

American Eagle chunky sweater.

Sweater from American Eagle, $49.50.

Autumn is officially here on Wednesday.  For some people, the first cool autumn breeze means football season is just around the corner.  For others, like me, it means get to the mall ASAP and stock up on chunky sweaters, jewel toned scarves, and a great new pair of jeans.  This year, you don’t have to spend your whole paycheck on fall fashion essentials.  I’ve found a few tips to help you save money and limit your fashion purchases this fall.

The Budget Fashionista has some great rules for recession-proofing your wardrobe. I picked two rules from the list that every frugal fashionista should follow when shopping.  I promise they are easy to follow and take two seconds to master.

The first rule The Budget Fashionista advocates, is the cost per wear formula.   Cost per wear is the cost of the item divided by the number of times you’ll wear it.  If an item costs $80, and you think you’ll wear it 10 times, then the cost per wear is $8.  The more useful an item is, the more likely you are to wear it.  The more you wear it the cheaper it becomes.  Lesson learned, only buy clothes that your going to wear more than a couple of times.  There is nothing worse than purchasing an item just to leave it hang in your closet.

The second rule is the 70/30 rule.  Seventy percent of your wardrobe should be classic pieces, like the ones on Tim Gunn’s 10 essential items list.  While 30 percent of your wardrobe should be trendy pieces, like the 2010, fall favorite, riding pant.  This rule is easy to follow, and will help prevent you from spending too much money on trendy items that go out of style quickly.

So what are the 10 essential items that every girl should have in her wardrobe?  According to Tim Gunn every girl should own a:

Basic black dress.

I love this basic black dress from Forever21 for only $27.80.

  • Basic black dress
  • Trench coat
  • Dress pant
  • Classic shirt
  • Jeans
  • Any occasion top
  • Skirt
  • Day dress
  • Jacket
  • Sweatsuit alternative (like khakis or corduroys)

These 10 items are timeless pieces, and different variations of them should make up the majority of your wardrobe.  Although, some of these items might be expensive, you’ll save money in the long run because they will never go out of style.  I love to pair timeless pieces with more trendy ones.  It’s a great way to achieve an effortless fashionable outfit without looking like your trying too hard.  Mixing and matching your wardrobe is a great way to create new outfits at zero cost.  So have some fun and experiment with what you already have in your closet.  Your favorite sweater from a few years ago is probably still in style today.

One more tip before you head for the mall.  Go through your closet, and get rid of any items that you haven’t worn in the past year.  Take them to a local consignment shop and sell them for some extra fall fashion cash.  The extra money can get you closer to that new great trench coat you’ve been eyeing up.

Trench coat.

Trench coat from Old Navy, only $49.50.

Like all things in life, a great wardrobe starts with a good foundation.  So build your foundation with timeless pieces that you can wear forever.   Then add some trendy items to give your foundation some flavor.  Last but not least, when purchasing a trendy item be sure to shop around.  You want to make sure you get the best deal possible on items that might be out of style next season.

Images courtesy of American EagleForever21 and Old Navy.

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