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Recessionistas: Fashion on a Budget

Updated on February 13, 2009
Do the runway walk.
Do the runway walk.

The economy sucks. What more can I say?

 People are losing jobs like crazy. The cost of living keeps flying through the roof and into the atmosphere. And yet, we still manage to find clothes that look pretty dang good.

Come on, ladies, don't lie; you know you look hot in that clearance blouse with sequins.

There's a new word on the rise in the fashion world:


Now, what does this word mean? Who is a recessionista? How do we get on this bandwagon of super sales and smart buys?

It's pretty simple, sisters, and I think it's high time we shared our little tips and tricks with each other. Here are a few of my recessionista tidbits. Please feel free to share your own in the comments section!

Before we kick this puppy off, what's a Recessionista?

Recessionistas are women who are not only fashion smart (keeping up with snazzy trends and watching for what's to come), but are able to pull off those runway looks without dropping a ton of Washingtons in the process. They are the ladies that aren't afraid to buy knock-off brands because they look just as good as the real deal and cost a whole lot less. They are the sisters who know where the best deals are, when the best deals are, and how to find even better deals.

A lot of you are probably thinking, 'Hey, I know where the best deals are. I clip out my coupons and save my cash well.' This is good. You are well on your way to being a true recessionista. With a few more pointers in the right direction, you'll be well on your way to recessionista greatness!

Heh, I just noticed this guy's shopping at Plato's Closet here in Minnesota... It's a thrift store that buys name brand clothes from people, then resells them. Not a bad idea if you really need those Hollister shirts.
Heh, I just noticed this guy's shopping at Plato's Closet here in Minnesota... It's a thrift store that buys name brand clothes from people, then resells them. Not a bad idea if you really need those Hollister shirts.

First, don't be afraid of off-brands!

There's absolutely nothing wrong with them, contrary to popular belief. All those clothing brands Wal-Mart and Target carry, Kohls and JC Penny, they are considered either off-brands or knock-off brands. Think about clothes as you would groceries:

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is great and all, but Our Family brand mac and cheese is just as good tasting, and might actually be better for you. Kemps milk is cool, but what's wrong with Polka Dot milk? It's cheaper, and it's still milk.

The best thing about buying off-brand/knock-off brand clothes is that, even if they're not exactly the same, they still look just as good. And sometimes, they actually last longer. You can buy your jeans at Wrangler or Levi Strauss stores or whatever, and yeah, they last a while, depending on wear and tear and work. You can get almost the same pair of jeans at good o'le Wally World for about $10, and they'll last just as long, if not longer. I know my Wally World jeans tend to last longer than my girlfriend's little Aeropostale (don't shoot me for spelling, I despise that store) flare bling-on-the-butt-pocket jeans.

Heck, you can even add a little more pizaz to your cheaper clothes because if you screw up, you can always get another of that item for super cheap! So instead of getting that little tank top with the shiny studs around the chest assets that cost like, $40, you can get a plain tank for about $5, those same little studs for about $10, and even an embelishing kit in the toy/craft section for $15 that comes with a whole crap-ton of studs and rhinestones in gold and silver! It's like what that guy from the Shamwow commercials says, "It practically pays for itself!" ... Or something like that... I get distracted by him talking, it's just so amusing...

Oh my god... If only, right?
Oh my god... If only, right?

"Why, yes, I would like to be on your emailing list!"

A quick insight into how I know most of the crap I know: I used to work for Gap. Well, Gap Outlet, which is actually cheaper than Gap itself, and sells different stuff than a normal Gap store... But you get what I mean...

When that kid behind the register asks if you'd like to give them your email address, say yes! They send you updates on their latest items, and (now hold on to your socks here) COUPONS! For real, who can argue with free coupons?

Sure, you'll get an email or two from them every day, and they will clutter your spam folder pretty bad. But unless you'd rather go through the shopping routine without that extra 10, 15, 20 or even more percent off, say yes!

It's a common misconception that stores sell your information to other sites or even telemarketers, and yet, a lot of people believe this. In some cases, this is true, despite it being illegal (yeah, that's right, it's illegal). But it's well worth the risk, and you can always get yourself taken off the email/call list. So why not go for that special discount? I'd rather save money and put up with telemarketers than have to pay full price.

... Besides, telemarketers are fun to mess with...

Making your own clothes may be time consuming, but it leads to endless possibilities.

For those with sewing machines and seamstress know-how, this has got to be the easiest way to save money. Making your own clothes gives you so much room to design whatever you want! See a dress you'd kill to have? Make it! Spot an adorable t-shirt with cute stiching designs on it? Make it! Notice an expensive purse that made you think, 'I bet I could do something like that myself.' Make it!

The cool thing about knowing how to make clothes is, if you're really good at it, you might actually get paid to make stuff for other people. Us recissionistas aren't the only ones looking for cheaper solutions to everyday problems. A lot of families with kids would be more than happy to not have to buy junk from American Eagle and Hollister when their kids can get those same articles of clothing made for them for much less.

And for those of us who happen to suck really bad at using sewing machines, there are always patterns. Easily found in the crafting section of any store, or the sewing department of any craft store, patterns definitely come in handy when we have no idea how to make something without a guideline. Even better, once you've gotten the hang of using patterns and sewing machines, you can use the patterns simply for general outline's sake; make your own design for a t-shirt, or add a little bit extra to a pair of pants! The creative possibilities are yours for the taking!

All these clothes are homemade. What would you make?
All these clothes are homemade. What would you make?

Jewelry and shoes and purses, oh my!

Flat out honesty here for a second, ladies.

Don't Bother Buying Jewelry.

I say this because I know for a fact it is extremely easy to (yes, you guessed it,) make your own! I do it all the time. Remind me to make a hub on making jewelry...

Anyway, you can simply make your own fancy jewelry with very easy to get supplies from almost any craft store, even Wal-Mart. And they'll all have helpful books on how to make the jewelry you're looking for. Just like making clothes, you can sell your handmade jewelry, too! There isn't a whole lot in this world that brings a sense of accomplishment like wearing your own handiwork. Fo' sho'.

Shoes are a little tricky. Mostly because I don't know a single person who can make their own shoes. If only, right? But I will tell you a lot of stores like Payless and such will be a ton cheaper than any city store you can find. Again, besides good o'le Wally World... Man, I saw these ADORABLE red pumps with rainbow insides... So to die for.

Now, when you're looking for winter boots, I urge you not to be a tight-ass... I'm sorry for cursing, but come on. Winter outer wear is one of the worst things to be cheap about. I should know, that's how I've ended up with no boots all winter here in Minnesota. I just couldn't convince myself to buy a decent pair of boots because they were like, $50. I kept telling myself, "Well, I have my tennis shoes... They're okay for now, I suppose..." Yeah, and then I ended up in the ditch three times in one night while delivering pizzas and had to wade through the snowbanks, which were almost as tall as I am, to get my car out. Imagine how much fun that was.


As for purses, just stay away... Well, from brands like Coach and whatever. My mother LOOOOOVES Coach, but she spends so much on her purses without buying a purse every month (usually once or twice a year) that it's almost not worth it. Seriously. If you have an expensive purse fetish, which a lot of women do, you're going to have to either break that habit, or set yourself up a purse bank account all by itself to save up for those dang things.

There is nothing wrong with not spending over $20 on a purse. They are not there to make fashion statements, they are there to hold our belongings. They are, in a sense, glorified, overenlarged wallets. Period. Even if you want to go for that high fashion look, you can get the same darn thing for over 50% off the high fashion price. Why waste the money?

Do you have what it takes to become a RECESSIONISTA?

 I hope some of what I've said has sunk into your heads, my sisters, because I believe you are well on your way to becoming amazing recessionistas! Grab your purses, put on your shopping shoes, and let's snag us some fantastic deals! Go, go, go!

Hey, it's me! Minus the heels, and the good body, and the cute outfit... What? It's pajama day today. I didn't feel like getting dressed.
Hey, it's me! Minus the heels, and the good body, and the cute outfit... What? It's pajama day today. I didn't feel like getting dressed.


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    • weseppers profile image


      9 years ago

      Great fashion, I really love it.

    • streetsmart profile image


      11 years ago from San Francisco, California

      i enjoyed this hub. i love the way you write!

    • Lgali profile image


      11 years ago

      Very interesting. Thumbs up for good aRTICLE

    • Misha profile image


      11 years ago from DC Area

      Good, that's nice to know you are doing great :)

    • Kika Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Kika Rose 

      11 years ago from Minnesota

      Misha! ^_^ Hiiii! I haven't been hiding, per se, I've just been busy with work. I thought I told Hal about my new job...? Anyway, I got a full time job down in Plymouth, MN. 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and my weekends have been sucked up by my friends attempting to give me a social life. Who needs a social life, anyway? :P

      Ktoo, thank you for the comment! I'm glad I could make you smile. :)

    • Ktoo profile image


      11 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia, USA

      I am proud to say I am a Recessionista! And I love this hub! I laughed out loud more than once, great writing!

    • Misha profile image


      11 years ago from DC Area

      LOL KIka, we were talking with Hal about you the other day. Where have you been hiding lately? :)

    • Kika Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Kika Rose 

      11 years ago from Minnesota

      Dolores, thank you for commenting! I can understand your worry; fabric is getting a little pricey, and sometimes when something looks amazing on the rack or in your hand, it doesn't look as amazing on you. Consider what styles look best on your body. Do you have the legs for a miniskirt? Do pencil skirts make you look slimmer? Just think about what looks good on you, and what makes you feel glamorous. I'm sure anything you create would look wonderful. :)

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      11 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Kika, you have offered a lot of great suggestions. I would love to make myself a skirt or two but fabric is expensive and suppose I make it and it looks fine but when I try it on I look awful.

    • gwendymom profile image


      11 years ago from Oklahoma

      Great seeing you too Kika, be careful. Glad you found a good paying job.

    • Kika Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Kika Rose 

      11 years ago from Minnesota

      GWENDY! ^_^ Hello! I'm only online for a little bit, I gotta go to work in about 10 minutes... I got a new job assembling cathaders for Boston Scientific. Whoo!

      I'm more of a I-have-no-money-ista. :P Until I get my first paycheck, I'm stuck scrounging around the house for loose change to pay for the gas to get all the way down to Plymouth, MN from my house... That's about 55 miles one way, which sucks up quite a bit of gas. But at least it's a very good paying job, $11.25 an hour with overtime and doubletime opportunities. ^_^ Yay! Anyway, I have to get going. It's great seeing you!! :D

    • gwendymom profile image


      11 years ago from Oklahoma

      Kika, I am proud to say I am a recessionista! Great tips here. BTW, your mother might be able to save some money by using bag borrow or steal. It's like netflix but for purses.

      Glad to see you back sweety!

    • Kika Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Kika Rose 

      11 years ago from Minnesota

      Ha, ha ha, ha. :P I did so not make it up, I got proof! MUA! lol

      Thanks Fishy. ^_^

    • fishskinfreak2008 profile image


      11 years ago from Fremont CA

      "recessionista": DID YOU MAKE THIS WORD UP? Very interesting. Thumbs up


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