Dressing in Style, On a Budget

The tenants of yesteryear will be shocked to discover that fashion has changed – to some for the better, and others, the worse. While many will undoubtedly berate the transcendental rise of street fashion and its wider connotations, for now at least, it is here to stay.

So, here’s the rundown.

Gone are the times when nightclubs were populated with white-shirts, oxfords, dresses and heels. Nowadays, more often than not, you’ll find swaths of young ’uns undulating to the abrasive sounds of EDM and hip-hop, and they’ll have the clothes to match. Graphic tees, crop-tops, miniskirts, ripped up jeans, and a crisp pair of sneakers can be found on the majority of party-goers these days.

Showing off in casual dress

For many, formal dress is no longer the de-facto outlet for stylistic expression; showing off has now been passed on to casual wear, something that streetwear brands such as Supreme, BAPE, and Palace have taken full advantage of, building empires that have established themselves at the forefront of urban style.

On one hand, this is great; outdated tradition is being broken, and “dressing well” is no longer a luxury reserved for those draped in designer opulence; but on the other hand, there lies a problem. Brands such as Supreme and Palace, despite retailing their products for somewhat reasonable prices, quickly sell out of stock, leaving most with no option but to pay resellers to get their hands on the latest streetwear at audacious markups that often rival even designer clothing.

One solution to this issue would be saving up for such items, but therein lies the problem that by the time you’ve saved up for something so expensive, it’s no longer in style, and although you could just go ahead and spend that money on something else equally as expensive that happens to be in style at the time, that too will soon be resigned to the darkest recesses of Pinterest.

The better solution

There is, however, an attractive alternative to this that has seen its popularity skyrocket in recent years, and that is fast fashion. Dominated by brands such as H&M, Zara, Boohoo, Primark, ASOS, and Topshop, fast fashion presents consumers with an affordable take on the latest in clothing trends. Almost any style you see coming out of a shop like Abercrombie and Fitch, Hollister, or Ralph Lauren, you can find at a fast fashion retailer for just a fraction of the price.

While such brands provide a brilliant precursor to a complete, polished outfit, you might want to sprinkle in the odd branded item to bring the ensemble together. With this, it’s always best to start with the shoes. While donning unbranded clothing is something that most people do, the story is often different when it comes to shoes. Sure, in the workplace people couldn’t care less what brand of shoes you wear, provided that they adhere to the given dress code, however, in other social environments, especially those pertaining to younger people, this is far too often not the case.

As unfortunate as this may be for us H&M lovers, this issue is easily remedied. Due to their popularity, brands such as Adidas, Nike, Converse and Vans all have what might as well be an infinite selection of styles at a multitude of price points. Yes, a lot of these price points are eye watering, but dig a little deeper and you can almost always find a good-looking shoe for a reasonable price. Right now, if you go to the Converse website and look at shoes that are on sale, you’ll more than likely be able to find a pair for under US$30, which isn’t all that bad. Likewise, if you get the chance to hop over to the United States, popular department stores like JCPenney and Macy’s constantly have popular brands on sale.