Ever since I was a little girl I have always had very strong opinions about my attire. My mother used to make me these “bubble suits” when I was four or five years old and I hated the things. I remember feeling pure and utter shame at wearing such a hideous, baggy, one-piece outfit. A girl does not feel pretty, even at five years old, in any ANYTHING with the word “bubble” in it. Another thing that I could not stand as a small girl were these big bows that my mom would put on top of my hair that looked oddly over-proportionate for such a small head. Apparently she thought it was super cute, but I dreaded those things every Sunday morning. It’s funny how we simply are who we are from the moment we enter into this world. Some kids grow up having a special passion for a certain sport, a certain game, a certain musical instrument, it’s kind of their “thing”, the something that really helps define them. For me, my thing has always been fashion.
Growing up in a big family, with only my father as the bread-winner, finances were usually tight to say the very least. We usually got a few new things for school and maybe at Christmas or birthdays, but other than that we were pretty much on our own in the clothing department. I can remember the absolute exhilarating excitement at getting a bag of hand-me-downs from friends or family. I learned at a very young age that if I was going to try to dress nice, I was going to have to get creative and think outside the box. And so I did. I consider it a pretty invaluable gift to be able to look through a grab bag, a sale wrack or a Goodwill shelf and find something that really looks and feels great. Necessity truly is the mother of invention- or in my case it is the mother of my “creativity”.
I know that there are plenty of ladies out there that have a hard enough time buying things brand new that flatter their body type, let alone taking a dive into the endless sea of clothing at a thrift store. It’s a fact that some women just naturally have an eye for things that flatter them, while others struggle constantly to put things together. For all of us woman that can’t afford the stylists of the stars, fear not! There is hope! You just have to be willing to expose yourself to the windows into the fashion world. For me, the best, easiest and cheapest way to expose myself to the latest trends and styles is through magazines.
Here is the beautiful thing about magazines- The more that you look through them (even just leafing through without reading the ground-breaking articles…)the more you will familiarize yourself and expose yourself to things that you would not normally see on your weekly trip to Wal-Mart for groceries. You start to see things that you want to try, clothes that you might try to look for, hair styles that you might like to try for work the next day. Suddenly you are starting to develop your own sense of style without even spending a dime at the department stores. I really believe that the first step should always be to develop a set of styles that flatter your body type and fit your taste best. Yes, you can always mix things up a bit with a flash of color, a scarf or jewelry, a new pair of shoes but you have to develop the basic template for your body-type and stick with it as best you can. Magazines are, in my opinion, a great starting point.
Magazines also help to familiarize you with the best brands. There’s nothing cooler than seeing a designer pair of boots or purse in a magazine that would normally cost hundreds of dollars, and then finding that same designer brand name on a pair of boots or purse at a second hand store for three or four dollars. It’s a very energizing experience, believe me! But you have to know your stuff. You have to at least be familiar with quality so that you can spot it when you see it.
About a year and a half ago I decided that if fashion was something that really meant something to me, that I should really try to develop my understanding of it a little bit more. Not only have I always enjoyed playing around with it (though I won’t claim to be an expert), but I also believe it is a defining part of who I am. I decided to get my first subscription to Vogue magazine. It has been so good for me and I have enjoyed it so much. And I will also tell you that, much to my delight, once you are on Conde Naste’s subscriber’s list, you have an endless list of magazine offers coming in the mail at very affordable prices. I have since also subscribed to W Magazine, Town & Country and Veranda. I have never spent over $15 for a year subscription. In fact, I just got an offer in the mail for Elle Magazine- $6.00 for a one year subscription, which is pretty amazing in my book. Vogue magazine is $5.99 an issue off the news stand and Elle is normally $50.88 a year. You can even find affordable subscriptions to many fashion magazines on Amazon.com. This, my friends, it a really fun and practical investment! I seriously recommend trying it out!
Be blessed, friends!
Post Script- If you are planning on investing in any of the major fashion magazines and you have children, be sure that you do a little censoring before you leave them out on the coffee table. It is not typically anything too extreme, but unfortunately, sometimes these magazines have lay-outs that are not necessarily appropriate for little eyes. If I find anything off color or tasteless, I just tear the pages right out! Take what you like and trash the rest!:)