Fashion without busting the bank

By Kelly Hockenberry, Columnist,

I have always aspired to a designer wardrobe.

There are pictures of me in lucite Cinderella kitten heels at the tender age of four. Even as a toddler, I was a drawn to the stiletto.

Looking back, one of my fondest fashion memories was getting my first pair of Jordache. It was a monumental event! I can vividly remember pairing them with my favorite pink sparkly top and matching comb in the back pocket.

That jean started me down the slippery slope into demanding Sasson, Gloria Vanderbilt and Multiples (remember them???). I was hooked, baby. No more Kmart blue light specials for this gal!

But, high fashion comes at a steep price…how do you cope without breaking the bank?

Fortunately, my mother passed her gene for bargain hunting on to me. I LOVE the thrill of chasing down THE best possible deal. In fact, I have many girlfriends who relish in this game and we torture each other as to who has scored the ultimate designer prize for the least amount of cash.

I rarely buy things at full price unless it is something that I truly can’t live without. However, I do feel that there are certain items in a woman’s wardrobe where one should NOT skimp.

For example, I believe that spending more money on really high quality leather shoes and boots pays off in the end. If you take care of them, they have the potential to last many seasons.

Jeans are another fashion staple where I will drop some big bucks. I would MUCH rather have three expensive pairs that fit like a glove, then ten pairs of lower quality.

I always invest in handbags for the same reason as my attitude about good shoes. If you purchase classics, they can literally be handed down to the next generation. And, my nieces Jade, Josie, Julia and Teresa will circle me like buzzards when they come of age, I’m afraid!

So, where do I save my money? (as my husband waits with bated breath…)


Well, I never splurge on things like flip flops, trendy “of the moment” clothing options (think: baby doll dresses circa 5 years ago! Yow-za) or costume jewelry.

I wish that I had prettier workout clothes, but, can’t justify shelling out dough for something I am going to sweat like a small farm animal in.

I do not ever have the most current sneakers. Again, I am working out like a dog in them…they are NEVER on my feet for any other reason (we’ve been over this pet peeve several hundred times).

I also save money by going to high end consignment shops. They are a gold mine of barely worn gems. I’m not kidding. I have sold things in those shops that I bring in with the tags still hanging from the sleeve. They are THE place to go when you crave a designer wardrobe on a reasonable budget.

My last piece of advice is to share! My sisters and girlfriends and I are always swapping items back and forth…it doubles or triples your options and costs NOTHING to do!

The tricky part is how to befriend the girl that you always see walking around town with the incredible fashion sense.

So, if you are in Talula’s in a beautiful DVF wrap dress and I offer to buy your latte, don’t say I didn’t warn you…..

Happy Weekend!

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