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A Recessionista’s Guide to Fashion by Raz


People are quick to size up others based on their appearance. Most people want to portray a positive message to the world, and clothes and fashion are an important means to accomplishing this. Ed. Note: I now wonder what message I’m conveying to the world… Whether at work, out with friends or just walking around, everyone is taking some notice of your outfit.

For this Recessionista Guide, I have some tips on improving your wardrobe while minimizing spending.

  1. Clean out your closet – Donate. Go through the clothes, shoes and accessories you currently have and determine what you actually wear and like. For the items you no longer want, donate them. Bread for the City (on 7th and P in Shaw) and Martha’s Table (on 14th between V and W) are convenient places to go. Now you have more room in your closet and a tax deduction. Make sure you get a receipt for your donation.

  2. Clean out your closet Revive. Next, for the clothes and shoes you still like, but have seen better days, revive them. Take your battered shoes to a shoe repair place. I took about 8 pairs of shoes to George’s Shoe Repair (16th and U), and for about $120, they all have a new life. That is a lot cheaper than replacing all of them. Also, take a visit to the tailor. If your clothes are too big or small, get them sized so they fit your properly. I took a few dresses to Mt. Pleasant Cleaners – I got 2 hemmed and 1 tailored – and avoided replacing them all.  Continues after the jump.

  3. Organize Your Closet. Now that you have gotten rid of items you don’t wear and revived those you do wear, organize your closet. Actually seeing all the clothes you have might inspire some new outfits. You might also find things you forgot you have, depending on how messy your closet was.

  4. Hit the Discount Stores. If you are feeling patient and in a shopping mood, discount stores are a great place to go. Digging through the racks can be tiring, but there is usually some treasure to be found. Marshall’s and Filene’s Basement are great options that are convenient to get to. There is also a lot of discount shopping in Friendship Heights, in addition to some very expensive shopping, although that is more of a trek.

  5. Shop Secondhand. Thrift stores are another great way to score inexpensive clothes and accessories. There are some more boutique-y places – Meeps, Secondi, Current Boutique (in Arlington), etc, and there is the traditional Value Village, Goodwill, etc. I just read yesterday about the opening of a new thrift store in Georgetown. I know there are a few on the Hill as well. These stores are usually hit or miss, and also require patience

  6. Hit up Target. I have found a lot of great pieces here. I actually purchased a bulk of my work wardrobe from Target. This is also a great place to buy workout clothes.

  7. Buy Multipurpose Pieces. I try to buy clothes and shoes that I can dress up and down, and wear to work or out. Also, buy multi-seasonal pieces. You will get a lot more wear out of them.

  8. Shop Sales. There are a ton of sales going on with the holiday season right now. There are also some good local sale days. There are discounts at many Adams Morgan stores on the first Tuesday of every month and in the U St Corridor on the third Thursday of the month. I got a great skirt over the summer for half off at Nana on a Third Thursday. It is a lightweight material in a dark color, so I’ve been wearing it all year. It is also something I can wear out or wear to work, depending on how I complete the outfit. Remember the rule of thumb with sales though; it’s only worth buying if you would buy it were it not on sale. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a few pieces that I bought on sale and have barely worn.

  9. Coupons. Yes, I preached this in my Dining Guide, but they really are a great way to save money. The Post usually has coupons for local stores, especially Macys. Also, a lot of the neighborhood places carry coupons for each other. Be on the lookout for those when you are out and about. For example, I grabbed a coupon to Nana when I was at Quiet Mind Yoga. You can also find coupons and coupon codes online.

  10. Embrace Accessories. This probably applies more to women, but you can give your old clothes a whole new look with accessories. From necklaces to earrings to scarves, your outfit can take on a new vibe. These do not need to be expensive. I recommend H&M, Forever 21, Filene’s Basement and thrift and antique stores, among others. I also like to buy accessories when I’m traveling. Every time I wear them, they bring back memories of the trip.

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