I can't sew and I'm not skinny. How can I look great on a budget?

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  1. http://lifeandhealth.guardian.co.uk/fashion/story/0,,2087919,00.html

    What would Beth Ditto do?

    [FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]I can't sew and I'm not skinny. How can I look great on a budget?[/FONT]

    [FONT=Geneva,Arial,sans-serif] Friday May 25, 2007
    The Guardian

    [/FONT] Just remember - fashion is something that is prepackaged, bought and sold, but style, like art, is a primal instinct. My number-one theory in life is that style is proportional to your lack of resources - the less you have, the more stylish you're likely to be.When I moved out of my mom's house at 18 I was almost as sad to leave her sewing machine behind as anything else. More than 2,000 miles away, I was stranded, with no mom, no machine and no money - I needed a job badly, but I had nothing I could wear for an interview. I figured that I had three tools at my disposal: desperation, a pair of scissors and everything that the local thrift stores (or, as you call 'em, charity shops) could offer me.
    Off I went to the nearest thrift store, with just $15, and I went wild. I frantically needed a responsible-looking outfit so that I could apply to be a salon receptionist - and, with what I threw together, I landed the job!
    So, for my tips. At thrift stores there always seems to be an abundance of long broom-handle skirts - you know, the free-flowing kind with an elastic top? Well, these make perfect strapless dresses when pulled up underneath your arms. Add a colourful stretch belt around your waist, a pair of large hoop earrings, nice flats and you've got yourself a whole outfit that you didn't even have to cut, let alone sew! This will fit almost any size. (For those of you who can't sew, don't forget that safety pins are a tiny gift from the heavens.)
    I've been asked how I find sizes to fit me, and the answer is, I never can! At the same time, I never let the pesky number on the tag keep me from trying anything on - you never know how that bright-green-and-yellow dress will look if you don't just give it a try. Even if the tag says it's two sizes too small, remember: the tighter the better!
    When it comes to looking good on a budget, the right accessories can pull the cheapest outfit together. My five favourites are:
    1. Cardigans. I have tons of them in all shapes, sizes, colours and prints. They make any outfit come together, and, best of all, they keep you just the right temperature.
    2. Earrings. A big ol' hoop can save the day, or nice little fake pearls can make you instantly look dressed up.
    3. Black eyeliner. Even if you're only wearing trainers and a vest, eyeliner will instantly transform you. People always look put-together when their make-up's on and their eyes are popping - just ask Amy Winehouse!
    4. Stretch belts. With a stretch belt, anything can be a dress - a dinner napkin, a table cloth, even a towel. Just wrap and snap, and away you go in an incredible outfit. Another plus is that the belt will pull all eyes to your lovely curves, and they even look good around a coat or a jacket.
    5. Tights. Nine times out of 10, I prefer yellow tights to any other colour - they really spice up the most tired, boring outfit. Team them with a big, baggy T-shirt and, voila - you've gone and got yourself a fantastic night out on the town!
    · Beth would love to answer your one-line questions or dilemmas in her fortnightly column. Please email them to beth.ditto@guardian.co.uk
  2. Some great ideas in there!
    Hmm..... don't know if I could work this, esp with yellow tights???
  3. [​IMG]

    ??? lol

  4. HAHAHA I remember her!!
  5. Yellow tights! erm no
  6. What is it with my pictures diasppearing today?

    Margaret Fowler anybody??/ (@ the yellow tights comment..)

  7. I don't know about the yellow tights, but she is right about cardigans. They are less expensive than jackets, and if you buy two twinsets, you automatically have four different cardigan looks, and two tops that you can wear without a cardigan. That's 6 looks. If you live in a warm climate, you might not be able to wear even cotton ones all year, BUT

    She is also on the right track with the earrings. Not just earrings, but bling in general is the key to taking an inexpensive, basic, plain knit top and pants or a skirt in a neutral color to a wide range of places for a wide range of events, making statements, sending messages. That same top and neutral bottom can be casual, professional, festive, avant-garde, whimsical, conservative - whatever look you need or want for a particular occasion, you can accomplish with bling.

    And by bling, I do not mean costly metals and minerals. There is a whole world of Faux Bling and WorldBling - that can be had for next to nothing, and you can easily and relatively quickly amass a collection that will give you just about any look option you seek. The trick is practice. Put on your plain top and just try different combinations of your bling and see what makes you pop, what says exactly what you need or want it to for a particular event. You will be delighted and amazed at how you can transform that plain top and bottom into a dazzling array of ensembles that are all fabulously and uniquely you!

    Now multiply that top by many, and your neutral bottoms by several, just hit every neutral - brown, black, gray, beige, white, and of course jeans - and then do the same with the tops, and add the colors that look best on you, and you will have, for very little money, created a wardrobe for yourself that can be mixed and matched and blinged into what will appear to be closets and closets full of clothes!

    Some tips for choosing your tops and bottoms: Think basic, think classic. Choose pants with straight legs and a moderate rise. Those will never go out of style, and they look good on everybody.

    Choose a classic skirt style that is best for your body. Try on different ones in the store, and when you have found the best one for you, pencil, A-line, whatever - buy all your skirts in that style.

    Tops with a V-neck, or some variation, are the most becoming for most people, and have the added advantage of offering a showcase for bling. Knit tops made of cotton with a little spandex, that have a little princessizing, at the waist, so that they are "fitted," are the best chameleons. They can be a t-shirt worn with jeans, or they can be a "dressy blouse." Where you buy them, how low the price, doesn't matter. What does matter is fit. I said this the other day in another thread, but it bears repeating: The cheapest top on the Wal-Mart clearance table, if it fits you well, will make you look better than a one-of-a-kind couture original that does not fit you as well.

    All this is due to, and based on, the Fundamental Principle, Rule Number One, the Primordial Fashion and Style Goal:
    People should not be able to remember exactly what you were wearing, only that you looked fabulous in it.

    To achieve that, you do not need money. In fact, the brutal truth is that all the money in the world cannot buy it.
  8. yellow thigh?LOL!!!

    but other than that, i think she's right...;)
  9. I totally agree with shimmapuff. Actually, I really love reading your posts because they have a lot insight about the whatever topic is being discussed.That is definitley a great way to expand your wardrobe by mixing and matching things. I know for myself, I have been trying to wear items in my closest that I never wear or get very little use. I have been trying to mix and match to expand and lately, I have been buying basics. I have a lot of colorful stuff, but it is hard to mix and match without basics.
  10. i'm gonna go and buy some yellow tights now and maybe even baby blue ^^
  11. I have to agree about cardigans. I'm a size 20, and I rock cardigans almost every day during the week in the cooler months.

    I have at least 15 different ones, and they really do a great job of making me feel more "covered" when I feel like I need/want to be. Plus, the right cardigan can really dress up or dress down an outfit, which is perfect!
  12. fair enough with this article but have you SEEN what she wears...

    oh DEAR indeed!
  13. ^ exactly. I wouldn't take advice from this woman. Especially broomstick skirts...what is this 1992?
  14. As always, your posts get my thinking going. ;)

    She's defiently nt right about tights, IMO coloured tights aren't very flattering on a lot of people, especially if you want to impress guys. nylon or lycras are better, they can make miracles for legs and showing some "skin" always gets attention. Also, coloured tights aren't very slimming most of the time. And if you have big legs, the last thing you want to do is to draw attention to them with black (yes, even black can draw attetion), or bright colours.
    I think the most important thing to remember about the so called fake bling is to keep it down and in style. With real jewellry it's hard to turn out tackey, but with cheap jewellery from accessorize and H&M it's a major challenge not to scream PLASTIC! or have too much danglig from everywhere.
    The fake pearls (allthough pearls are getting so cheap these days, you might as well get real ones) are a great example of something that usually works really well, just make sure they'r without trails from the mold or remove the exessive plastic. Large fake jewellery usually is not a good idea as it gets too apparant.

    I have freinds that do this so well, but they have great taste, also with the more expensive stuff. When I meet them I never think "oh, she's been to H&M, when will her earring fall apart?", but sometimes it happens with others. Avoid labels and brands and go with classic cuts. When you're buying cheap you should spend some time getting THE right items as the right cut, print and shape can make everything look fabulous. Don't get something just to "get it" or because it's cheap. Bring an honest, critical friend whose style and taste you KNOW. You want to know somehow from which line of though the advice comes from.

  15. Uhh -- what industry did this girl get a job in?

    Yellow tights? I work in a creative environment, but would never dream of wearing yellow tights to work.

    Stretch belt? Really? How many women over the age of 21 will look remotely good in an elastic stretch belt? In my opinion, a stretch belt is way too "fun" for most workplaces.

    I totally disagree with this makeshift sense of style. There are so few that can pull it off: better in my opinion, to scour thrift stores for truly quality finds, like vintage suits (or even just a not-too-worn Anne Klein or Ann Taylor suit). It seems like fashion advisors in newspaper columns and magazines assume everything doing the questioning must also work in the fashion world where there's acceptance for a margin to error in terms of personal style and eccentricity. I work in an architecture firm which honors creativity, but my boss might send me back home to change if I showed up in yellow tights and a stretch belt.