When I am down on my luck (and financially, I am dysfunctional, so often times, I am), the only reason people know what I am going through is because I can’t hold it in; I am vocal about my struggles. As far as how I dress, you would think a girl either had money in the bank or maybe she is on her way somewhere to hang with the cool people of upper tax brackets. Nope … she doesn’t and no, she isn’t … If you think I am kidding, for one year I had to denounce my title of King of the DanceHall* at which point I was crowned, The Queen of Overdraft and really I don’t go anywhere to write home about. It was a pretty pitiful and financially draining situation, but I never had to step out in the street looking like a bum. Even when I am on the phone making plans to visit someone at their house and I say, “… well, I don’t feel like getting dressed so I hope you aren’t planning on us going any farther than the bodega if I come over,” I still arrive, in what I think is not dressed looking like I could go to dinner at a 3 star restaurant.
The last time I checked, the name of this blog is EBSHAB, which stands for Every Bitch Should Have a Blog. I, therefore, would be remiss if I didn’t share how I manage to keep myself looking like a celebrity no matter what I am really going through because bitches love fashion, love shopping, and love looking good without breaking the bank.
If you take in what I am saying, how I approach fashion, how I go about building a wardrobe, then you will be surprised at how quickly you will have made yourself over. I am so dysfunctional, I have had to rebuild my wardrobe a number of times, so you have to trust me on this. Also, later on in the post, as a bonus, I’ll let you in on the relevancy of this post by sharing the dilemma I am currently in.
Yes, Bitch I Am Butch, But A Fashionista Lives In Me
I can’t really explain what type of fashionista I am because I am not the type who follows trends, but in the same respect, I do follow trends. I do not read fashion magazines blogs, but in the same respect I do read fashion magazines and blogs. I’ll give you an example – I do not like Jordan sneakers, nor do I, patent leather. Back in the late 90s, he came out with an all grey pair of patent leather sneakers that I really liked. I purchased them. It’s the only pair of Jordan’s I’ve ever had. During that time, I was more of an Air Max girl and I didn’t see what all of the hype was about. To this day, I do not see what all of the hype is about.
Adidas came out with a sneaker called ZX Flux. This sneaker, the ZX Flux is the ugliest sneaker I have ever seen in my life, Yo!!! I worked at an Adidas outlet and people would call our store all day, everyday, asking if we had them in stock. Sometimes they would ask for a particular colorway or sometimes they’d ask about a particular style. Either way if that phone rang, 35% of the time it was someone asking about were some damned ugly-assed Flux. Now, this ZX Flux is particularly popular to a particular demographic. It just so happens that it is a demographic I identify with the most. However, I really did not have a taste for them and I believe everyone who is dying to get their hands on a pair is crazy when they claim it is one of the hottest shoes out. For goodness sake, it doesn’t even have a special technology.
One day, while I was at work, after everyone knew I thought the Flux was the ugliest shoe in the world, someone returned a pair they purchased online in my size. Being that I worked for the store, I knew if I bought them I would get them at a 30% discount and I also know that even though the customer was returned the amount they paid for the shoe because they were able to show proof of what they paid in the form of an invoice, it rang up for much cheaper with us being an outlet and all (and we are going to talk about this technique later … not saying that the person was using a technique … uh … you’ll see what I mean in a few …) so really my employee discount was coming off of a shoe that was already discounted. Expect for me to revisit this example.
I had to make an executive decision. This decision will show you how I manage to come across as a fashion savvy person when all I am doing is making smart decisions about the pieces I purchase. Here is a shoe that I just watched someone receive $90 back for returning because that is the price paid for them and because that is what they sell them for online. The person takes their money, leaves, and now we have to put a price on it. We go to price check to see what our system says the price is and we find that is is far cheaper. Needless to say I purchased that pair and over the duration of my time there I purchased 2 more pair. So now I have 3 pair of ZX Flux. Yes, I do not like them, but they are sneakers that are perfect for my lifestyle and places I have to go sometimes when I go out. Not to mention, I get them for less than half the price of what people pay. I would be dumb to not figure out how I could pull them off as an addition to my wardrobe. With that said, there wasn’t one day that I wore either of the pair that I didn’t get a compliment from a sneakerhead in the street.
So, I have a very versatile style and it isn’t necessarily because I want to be like that either, sometimes I have to adjust to a piece or pieces out of economic need or circumstance. Also, I do have a thing for fashion and style however, it varies because there have been times that I have been ahead of trends, there are times I have been part of a trend and then there are times when something is trending and it simply isn’t my thing no matter who is wearing it. I just like what I like and I love nice things I can afford.
Another thing you have to take into consideration as you read is the fact I am butch. Why is that relevant? Well because even though I dress differently or more aggressively, I am still a bitch at heart. Therefore do not think you can’t accomplish what I accomplish because we shop in different departments. A lot of what I will be sharing are concepts on how I think about building a wardrobe that keeps me looking like a hundred bucks at all times and since it’s all conceptual, (except for places I recommend you shop) you can apply my techniques to any department and to almost anything you shop for on a regular basis. You can apply most of these concepts at the supermarket, which indeed you should.
I mean, who doesn’t want to look like a celebrity. You know, you only feel as good as you look. So if you ask me to all women, looking good is as important as paying bills … or is that because I am dysfunctional? Well, I am sure you get my drift. What i am trying to say is looking good is very important for a woman and if she is telling you looking good doesn’t matter to her, she has more problems than you think.
Think of Your Wardrobe as a Collection and Items of Apparel as Pieces.
Whether it’s because I come from New York, a city that is known for fashion forward people or because I was part of the generation that bought reputable European designers into traphouses and hoods across the continent; a time when guys wore minks and Timberland boots, I know in fashion, the word “piece” or “pieces” are used to represent different items of clothing belonging to your wardrobe. I also know fashion designers have collections and it is always more than one outfit. A collection always looks like you can mix and match the pieces that belong to it, to me.
Here is how this goes: All of the clothes you have make up your wardrobe. In your wardrobe you have pieces that you can build an outfit around or pieces you can pull together to create a look. How you pair your pieces or what you pair with your pieces determine the look you are or aren’t going for. Accessories are important as they give off a finished look. Accessories can be considered as pieces or they can compliment a piece. It all depends on you and your school of thought or you and the circumstance.
The Importance of A Basic and Efficient Wardrobe.
A basic wardrobe has something for every occasion, but it isn’t outfitted. In other words, a wardrobe full of outfits is super duper inefficient. Not only is it super-duper inefficient, it’s elementary. When I worked at an Adidas store, I got a glimpse into how people are shopping.
“Uh, excuse me, do you work here?”
“Nope. I am branded from head to toe in Adidas gear, including a name tag, because I love this company; I’m a groupie …. Nah … just joshing, how can I help you?”
“Uh, you got something to match with these pants?”
“Dang, we kinda slim. Finding an exact outfit is kind of hard, here. We are an outlet so our merchandise is a bit chopped up, but you can check the t-shirt table and see what you find, although I am sure we don’t have a match. I’ll show you this grey shirt I love. It doesn’t match, but somehow it goes. I actually wore this shirt with the pants a few days ago and I was surprised at how nice they looked together … grey is special like that. It goes with just about everything.”
“Yea, but I wanted it to have the same exact color. You think I could find this color in a shirt somewhere else, maybe online?”
Now, in my head, I am thinking, “You dumb ass!!!” How much money does someone really have that they can pull off a wardrobe full of outfits? Do you know how many outfits you’d have to have before people started calling you a bum? Actually, do you know how many outfits you’d have to have in order to not become a bum? You would have to have a lot. Not that it can’t get there but expect to have to go shopping for every occasion for a new outfit until you have enough outfits that you can start repeating them. Even though with social media doing what it is doing now a days, how many events are you going to be at before people notice all of your Instagram posts are of the same outfits over and over again?
It is simple mathematics: If you have 3 pairs of jeans and 4 shirts, you have 12 outfits. This is why when I start my wardrobe I start by buying a bunch of jeans. I’ll by 2 here and 3 there. I keep my eyes open for special sales at the places I like to shop and I take advantage of the deals. When I am happy with the amount of jeans I have I buy shirts. While I am buying jeans and shirts, I make sure to look out for deals on underwear. Once I have a collection of jeans and shirts I can start looking for pieces to make them more than what they are.
By now, you should be able to visualize a closet with a few pair of jeans and some shirts. Being that jeans and a shirt is a basic outfit, if you multiply the amount of jeans you have with the amount of shirts you have the amount will be the total outfits you can make. You can definitely go places with these outfits, but it won’t be everywhere. Why, because you can’t go everywhere in jeans and a shirt. Now is the time to decide where you want to go. Once you decide where you want to go all you have to do is figure out what you are going to add to your jeans and shirt collection in order to get there.
Let’s start with an example: Say you get invited to a business casual event. What would you have to add to a pair of jeans and a shirt in order to be presentable? How about a blazer? Blazers are really special too because there are a number of different shirt styles you could chose to wear. You could have on a t-shirt, a polo, or a button down. If you are really fashion forward, you could wear an extended pop-over. Why? Because the shirt actually doesn’t make “the business casual” look, the blazer with the jeans does.
Here is another example: Say for example you have to go to church. What would you have to add to your collection of jeans and shirts in order to be in attendance? How about a pair of slacks, dress pants, a skirt or a dress? Polo shirts and button downs are acceptable for church, but jeans are not. Therefore, you find your most presentable button down or polo and you find a pair of slacks or dress pants to match. There are plenty of skirts that go nicely with button down shirts. An A-line with a slim fit button down is super conservative but still chic and feminine. For a sportier female, a slim but not tight skirt that falls right above the knee and a polo shirt would be fine as well.
Let me first say, I love accessories. I am bothered because I don’t have all the accessories I want, nor do I have all of the accessories I need. However, accessories are special because you most definitely can get away with only having a few. Right now, I have one set of accessories that has been taking me everywhere I go.
Because we are talking about a basic wardrobe, we are only going to be talking about having one set of accessories. Expect to see more advanced tips on accessorizing in the future. As it stands, because I am limited, I don’t want to offer up too much expertise. Instead, I will save it for the wardrobe building journey I am currently on … that way, you guys can come along with me to watch first hand how I do what I do.
When a lot of people think of accessories, especially girly-girls, they think of costume jewelry. Everyone knows bags are accessories, but for some reason, it isn’t always the go to thought or people take the importance of bags for granted. More and more I am seeing women with really nice bags. Celines, Louies, Burberry’s, the designer bags that are a step up from Coach, but sometimes I do not know if the person has it because they are trying to prove something or if they have it because they genuinely want to have a good bag that makes a statement.
Personally, I would rather drop a load of money on one good bag that I can wear every single day for an extended period of time than I would on a bunch of low quality bags. If I have to have a low quality bag then I would rather invest in cargo pants and limit myself to whatever I can fit in those pockets. So, every bitch should have one nice bag that they can wear all of the time. It is nice to purchase additional bags to ensure the duration of your one good bag, but it is not necessary to do so.
A lot of people do not wear hats, but a hat is part of my set of accessories. I wear a fitted or a snapback every single day. For women who are really feminine, do not forget about a hat as an accessory. First of all each winter, I am seeing hats trend more and more. Also, in the summer, a lot of celebrities when they are going out and trying not to be noticed keep those baseball styled hats on. They are also good for working out to help absorb the sweat and they also give off the appearance that you may be a guy’s type of girl one that doesn’t mind watching a football game from time to time. A sports cap is a nice addition to jeans and a shirt if you are ever invited to a game or a sports event.
So far, I have mentioned a bag and a hat. It’s nice to have one good leather belt that fits all of your jeans. Everyone has a cell phone and when they want to know what time it is that is where they look, but it is really nice to have a watch. For 2016 anything you can get that will keep you from looking at your phone is going to help our dwindling attention spans. Besides that, I notice who still wears watches. Really important people, no matter how high-tech their phone is, they are still wearing a watch. Rolex and Movado are still in business. I wear a watch every single day.
Here is the accessory that has been trending for at least 3 years: DESIGNER SHADES. It started actually with RayBan when The Men in Black came out which has to be over 10 years ago. Everyone started wearing RayBans. Years later, right under my nose, I noticed everybody was wearing sunglasses and everything was about sunglasses. I had to save up, but I wound up getting myself a pair of Carerra’s and I am telling you. I could walk to the bodega in a pair of Fruit of the Loom lounge pants (which I wouldn’t and if I did, they would be from H&M, as I don’t have anything from Fruit of the Loom) with these glasses on and still look like I stepped out of the Courtyard Marriot on South Beach.
Gold and Diamonds
Gold is a very special accessory. If it weren’t for the richness of designer shades you would not be able to pull of a celebrity look without some. There was a time you wouldn’t catch me dead without a pair of diamond earrings. Not because it’s my birthstone either … actually singing the it’s-my-birthstone song is what used to keep me in diamonds … but because they aren’t as expensive as you think. You start with what you can, even if it is a quarter of a karat and when you see how good those make you feel you will trade them in and add more money for a 1/2 karat until your ears are so icy people have to put on their designer shades to look at you.
Chains and necklaces are very nice and very rich. These are things that you want to have that you can wear everyday, but you just don’t. You keep them in the safe for special occasions or for emergencies. Don’t get me wrong, if you are in a position to wear your chain every single day or your 2 karat diamonds every day then go ahead, but when it comes to jewelry and jewels, you should always keep something in the safe at all times.
Jewelry is special. You want to buy as much gold and diamonds as you can. The only reason I don’t have any at the moment is because I pawned it all. But I’ll get some more because I know the importance of it. It’s one of the richest accessories you will ever have for how it makes you look, how it makes you feel, and if you buy the best of it, it will save you in case of an emergency. My friends mother has a broach that once saved her son’s car from being repossessed. Pawning jewelry has gotten me out of a lot of binds. Gosh … I mean a lot of binds. Whenever you buy jewelry, think of it as an investment.
If you can’t have anything else that is diamond, make sure to get a pair of diamond studs. If you spend $275 – $300 at a low budget jeweler, I promise, you will have a very nice pair of earrings. Should you have to pawn them, you may only get dinner and some transportation, but that may be all you need to get out of whatever jam you are in.
I promised you all I was going to share what I am currently going through, right? Here it is:
I worked at that damned Adidas store for over a year. Because of that, my wardrobe is all athletic. I have all of these sneakers, no shoes. I have all of these track pants and sporty shirts and that is the bulk of what I wear. Thank goodness I don’t have places I desire to go where I need more. However, if the desire for me to start ripping and running the streets takes hold of me I will have to literally rip and run the streets or find something else to do athletic as that is what my wardrobe is limiting me to.
The biggest issue is the loss of income. My one job pays the bill and stuff, but there is really no room for error and I am not the kind of woman that can purchase one pair of jeans at a time … I think that is petty. So, going forward, over the next couple of months I have to not really build a wardrobe, but make it a well rounded one with limited resources.
For that reason, you should really stick around. I think for my next post in the fashion category I am going to let you all in on where I shop, why, and how to get the best deals.
Thank you so much for reading. And if you have any tips of your own, please leave them in the comment. I like hearing about what people do to keep themselves looking fresh!!!