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Fashion is Not Affordable, You Thought? Well, You Were Wrong

Making Fashion Affordable
The media in the United States and elsewhere sends women the message that they should be ashamed if they can't afford clothes from ritzy mall stores. This article explains the phenomenon and its potentially dire consequences, followed by some tips on how to avoid these pitfalls.
Buzzle Staff
Last Updated: Jul 22, 2017
You Don't Need Expensive Clothes to be Successful
Many fashion retailers, particularly those targeting higher income shoppers, may seem hopelessly out of range if you don't have a pile of disposable income to spend on whatever you want. Although many of us would very much like to be able to buy jeans in the $100-$200 range, this really isn't a possibility for many average people. Unfortunately, media outlets like television, fashion magazines, and advertisements encourage women and men alike to strive to afford higher-end fashion. Society teaches us that if we are worrying about the price of our fashion choices, we are not successful.
The Perils of Spending Too Much
This message works very well as a marketing message for the more expensive fashion brands, because it creates a sense of guilt or shame in those of us who can't normally afford clothes from ritzy mall stores. So, if we choose to shop at lower end retailers instead, we are doing the right thing financially but we are encouraged by media messages to feel bad about ourselves for making this choice. In order to feel more successful and stylish, some of us end up shopping at high-end stores even though we can't necessarily afford it. This leads to financial trouble, such as credit card debt, later on. The situation can be very difficult to remedy once we have developed a habit of purchasing expensive clothes, however. Moving from too-pricey stores to lower end ones only compounds the shame that we have learned to feel.
There is No Shame in Seeking Help
How can we escape this strange situation? If you are interested in fashion and want to look your best and look current without making sacrifices that could get you into trouble later on, what are your options? Before considering the answers to these questions, it needs to be said that if you think you have a shopping problem or an addiction to expensive fashion brands, you should consider seeking help. Rather than being ashamed of your failures, find someone you can talk to about this issue and who will guide you in finding a compromise that is sustainable in your life. There is no shame in asking for a problem when you find you are embroiled in a situation that has gotten out of control.
Consider Consignment
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. There are several things you can do to avoid falling into the trap of living outside your means, especially when it comes to fashion. Consignment stores can be a great resource, for example. A consignment shop sells very gently used clothing and often carries high fashion brands at very low prices. Good consignment stores are classy and are usually staffed by people who know the fashion world inside and out. Look around in your area for a consignment shop and save yourself a pretty penny without sacrificing your image. As a bonus, you can sometimes sell your gently used items to the store to get an even bigger discount.
Coupons are Worth it!
Another way to make expensive fashion affordable on your budget is to collect coupons. When it comes to groceries, it can be difficult and time-consuming to make coupons truly worthwhile, but coupons can be great for the mall. Most stores have a mailing list you can sign up for to receive coupons in the mail or online. Make sure to sign up for the mailing list at all of your favorite shopping spots, and you are likely to find great deals on any given day. Be careful not to let coupons convince you to buy more than you can afford! Look for coupons that give a dollar amount discount with no limit. For example, if you get a coupon for $25 with no obligation to spend more than that, you can either get a $25 for free or 25% off a $100 item. Discard coupons worth less than 15%, you can do better!
Set a Budget
No matter where you shop, remember to set yourself a fashion budget. Be realistic about how much you can afford to spend on clothes each season, and stick to it! When you know what your fashion budget is, you can make choices more wisely. Maybe you will decide to get cheaper accessories so you can afford a higher end top, or vice versa. This type of consideration is only possible if you are up front with yourself about your budget so you can look your best without going broke!
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