Sometimes I look at my outfits and I think, “This is a rainbow-flower-child outfit if I ever did see one. But the top is in style… And so are the bottoms… maybe not together… This will probably only be in for a few more years. Good thing I jumped on the bandwagon now… Definitely going to be one of those WTF outfits my kids or nieces and nephews see someday.”
My fashion sense and frugality come from a mix of my mom and dad. My mom was the epitome of style. She had the latest trends in mini skirts and sandals. She always bought me what I really wanted, and always found cute clothes on sale for my sister and me. My dad, on the other hand, didn’t really care. In high school he wore shirts with planets on them in clashing colors, and Daniel Boone-type jackets with fringe down the sleeves. Now, I think both of those styles are cool, and I actually really envy my dad for never really caring about stuff like that, because I spent too much of my junior high and high school years picking out clothes. I remember one instance in high school when I went shopping with friends and spent $75, of my own money, on four shirts. My parents flipped. “Haven’t we taught you anything about saving money” and “What a waste” and “These aren’t even good quality shirts.” All I could think was I had just spent an enjoyable day with my friends, spent my own money, and my friends definitely weren’t getting yelled at for shopping when they got home. Maybe my parents overreacted. And maybe I did buy crappy shirts. But as I’ve gotten older and seen the beauty of sales and clearance items, I now rarely spend more than $10 on a t-shirt. And anyone who has figured out how to teach your children that looking perfect every day before school is stupid and you should sleep instead and been successful at it, please tell me your secret before I have kids.
On the other side of my frugal and practical buying was all the hand-me-downs I got from my cousins. They always had adorable, super in-style clothes, and I would get a lot of it. The best part of family parties growing up was playing with my cousins. The second best was Grandma’s potatoes. The third best was getting free clothes. Half my closet was always in style, half maybe a little outdated. It didn’t help that I stopped growing when I was about twelve or thirteen, and I wasn’t rough on my clothing so I could just keep wearing them.
Now I would tell you to wear whatever the heck you feel comfortable in, and that’s what looks best. (Okay, maybe not the greasy t-shirt you’ve been sporting for a week. Unless you plan on staying home. Then that’s okay.) But as a result of my upbringing, I’ve always been caught in the middle of “I don’t care what people think.” and “OH MY GOSH THOSE FAUX LEATHER PANTS WILL ONLY BE IN STYLE THIS YEAR I MUST HAVE SOME!” (I’m currently trying to get my hands on a pair…)
Then Instagram came around, and I started following some fashion bloggers. I was (and still am) envious of their closets. They always have perfectly matching, perfectly in style shirts and their shoes are organized by color and they have every color of scarf and… OH MY GOSH THEY SPENT HOW MUCH ON A HAT??? And I suddenly realized that sometimes I had very similar outfits, but I’d spent little or no money at all! I could totally blog about my outfits! And help people realize that they only need to spend $10 on a t-shirt and don’t they know they could donate the rest and who on earth spends that much on a dress?! And I have a good camera! That’s all you need to blog, right?? Right, but you have to have a willing photographer or hire one and cute places to photograph and oh I’ll get that to later!
So my sweet husband set up a blog for me: Breezy Peach. It’s still up for the moment, I want to eventually turn it into my art shop instead. In the meantime you can go laugh at my serious/angry faces and probably not in-style outfits. And Colton was nice and said he would take some pictures of me. So I picked out some outfits, found links to all of them, and decided I was going to make an affordable fashion blog. It was going to take off. And I could make tons of money on the blog from ads. I just have to be consistent. So we took some pictures.
For the outfit below:
Leggings: $6.99 from Ross. Shirt: $7.99 from Ross. Necklace: $6.00. Sunglasses: $5. Shoes: $25
Above you see the few, somewhat good pictures. No one told me I actually had to pose myself. This was hard! And why do I look so angry with my serious face? Why couldn’t Colton just tell me what to do? Well, he sort of did.
“You look awkward.”
“Well, tell me how to stand.”
“I don’t know, I’m not a girl.”
“Well tell me if I look stupid!”
“I’m going to kill you.”
This is what most of the pictures ended up looking like:
After looking through my whole closet, I realized I would only be able to do this for about a month before I ran out of outfit combinations. Then I’d have to go shopping.
I loathe shopping.
I think it all started about six years ago.
I had to run an errand for the lady I used to nanny for. The errand took me to Nordstrom, a store in which I’d never been, because I always felt too under dressed. Colton happened to be with me, and when we walked in there was a beautiful atmosphere of perfumes and lights and smiling employees and they were extremely helpful and kind. Why had I never been here before? I love this store! While I was waiting for a girl to get something for me, Colton and I browsed the shoe section. I picked up a heel that wasn’t particularly cute, but the style was interesting. It seemed so fragile, this little, sparkling heel. Then I proceeded to drop it loudly onto the floor. Of course we were the only ones in the area. Luckily the shoe wasn’t marred. I glanced at the price tag while discreetly putting it back and nearly dropped it again.
What in the actual Hell? $800 for a pair of shoes?? I felt a boiling anger and indignation trying to climb its way out of me to scream and shout and slander all those who shopped at Nordstrom and any other place who had the gall to sell an item of clothing for that price. AND NOT EVEN A PRACTICAL ONE, PEOPLE! I suddenly saw the store in a new light. No longer were the employees friendly and helpful. They were suddenly the slimy spawn of Satan who were trying to trick people into taking out loans for shoes and becoming homeless in the process. The lights were too bright, blinding you to the horror of how many people a pair of those shoes could feed but instead you’re click-clacking around in tiny steps because if you take more than a three-inch step you will snap your ankle in half. The price tags were trying to keep you from leaving your little hometown because instead of flying to Ireland for $800, you’re buying shoes.
After eons, the store lady returned with my item, I forced a smile, and muttered loudly to myself all the way out of the store while Colton tried to shush me to no avail.
Thinking back, I maybe could’ve handled it differently and understood that sometimes people have so much money that $800 for a pair of heels is pocket change. Maybe I’m being overly dramatic. Maybe next time I’ll-
No. I will never think $800 for a pair of shoes is necessary. And I will tell that to anyone I meet.
Now, I don’t hate the people who buy the shoes. Because let’s face it, I’ll admit to lusting after an adorable pair of rainbow heels that I saw once that were $600 and at which I looked in despair because I knew I would never even be in the same room as them. I don’t judge the people who buy expensive clothing, either. It’s taken me a darn long time to get over my anger at those shoes, but I know that shopping is an actual job for people. People make a living off of buying clothes. I think there are a million less respectable ways to make a living and support your family, don’t you think? I know that people like to splurge on things. I do, too. But it still took me five years of silently boycotting Nordstrom (like making up excuses to not going inside and glaring at them as I walked by) before I realized that there are too many stores like them to never go into any store. And that not every thing in the store is that expensive. And that Nordstrom Rack has great sweaters for $8.
I do judge the people in charge for thinking it’s okay to charge that much for apparel. And someday I will throw water balloons at their thousand-dollar leather jacket and run away laughing maniacally. And go to jail for assault, but it will all be worth it.
Anyways. I realized that I couldn’t keep up this fashion blog because I didn’t have a passion for shopping. I do have a passion for encouraging people to buy cheap clothes, but I also realized that sometimes buying cheap clothes could mean it was manufactured unethically and people are losing homes and jobs. Read more about that here. Really, do. You’ll be both enlightened and depressed. And then I also went through a phase over the past year where I realized we have too much stuff and I’ve been trying to get rid of extraneous garbage and really only have clothes that I wear constantly. So now my summer t-shirts have been depleted, but I love every item.
Moral of this story: do something you’re passionate about. For me, it’s not fashion blogging. I’m not sure what it is yet, but I will figure it out, people! And I still follow all my fashion bloggers and like their clothes and hair and shoes, but I’m also okay with having only a few items of clothing that I totally love. And I have ended my silent boycott of Nordstrom. The results are that I consciously think about consumerism every time I drive past one, which I’m okay with.