The Fashionista is in: Fashionomics

Tips on becoming a beacon of sartorial excellence without breaking the bank.

Shannon Ryan

It’s no staggering notion that your early 20s are expensive. Getting a college education, throwing back cocktails downtown, securing a place to live and acquiring the proper threads for the perpetual shifts in temperature — among countless other fees — is, though worth it, pricey. We pay for the lifestyle, which isn’t any rhinestone-encrusted pleather pant; it’s the ostrich embossed, perforated leather ones.

That being said, you’ve got to look each part you play and make it work with little dough in your bread bank. This fashionista is offering a few undisclosed tips on making the most out of your thinning wallet.

1. Browse, browse and browse the web again. ’Tis the era of online living, therefore most stores have crafted a neatly arranged website displaying their merchandise for more accessible purchasing. This means discounted goods are far more accessible, too. Your browser will be flooding with sales on sales on sales — rap about that, Kanye. Sweep your peepers across a variety of sites to soak in the sweetness of sales each one offers, then pull the trigger on the best offer, boom.

2. Work your dirty digging magic and thrift a Saturday away. Thrift and consignment stores are — up until the recent hipster revolution — an often-overlooked fashion gold mine. The secret to success in this business is learning the art of putzing: Put meaning into it. If you take the time to go through each piece on every clothes rack, there is bound to be a premium piece overlooked by many and coveted by you. Shop vintage as well. You can find classic items produced with a serious level of craft fit to add a certain authenticity to an outfit. Try antique stores on a whim and see what you can muster up.

3. Once you’ve dipped your beak in the thrift scene, find out which stores offer the best bargains for your style and budget. Stores that are located in affluent neighborhoods — think the suburbs — are often the best places to unearth bargains on superb designer goods, albeit the digits on the price tag will be a bit higher than the average Uptown resale shop. Be choosy with your products and familiar with your cash flow.

4. Update the look of your wardrobe by customizing your clothes. You can give a garment a completely fresh look using buttons, studs, fringe and other decorative accents. T-shirts, denim and shoes are great candidates for a dose of crafty creativity. Learn how to sew and invest in needles, scissors and pins. These will come in handy not only to customize garments but also to do minor repairs that would otherwise make a garment unwearable. Tweaking a tattered frock with some at-home tools will earn you major points with your bank account.

5. Shop eBay, babay. It’s a global trove of sartorial bargains. From discounted, brand new, tags-in-tact clothes to sophisticated vintage gems, you will likely find it on sale at eBay. Be sure to read descriptions very closely; it’s all in the details. Set a spending limit and stick to it when you place your bids. Avoid raising your paddle too many times in this virtual Christie’s auction or your too-quick-to-click mindset will get the best of your last paycheck.

Toss a gentle nod to these sound tips and shy a smile to your bank account. Happy shopping, readers.