Money: How to look like you have it when you don’t

Money: How to look like you have it when you don’t
*Photo by Justin Patterson

Money: How to look like you have it when you don't

(Or how to actually have Champagne taste on a Beer budget)

I, like most people, like nice things. I like my house to look like a Pinterest board, and my clothes to look like I have the money to fly off to a private island. Honey, I DON’T. I’m usually seeing if I can afford to buy a monthly subway card, and I’ve eaten a lot eggs or beans for dinner. Sometimes…I pay in change. (Pre-counted of course! Don’t be that person.) Alas, there is a way to do this, and being the showgirl I am, and the child of two very resourceful immigrants, I’ve got some hacks that might be useful.

(By the way, this is all external…pretty on the inside is a whole different chapter!)

Clothes. We all know that you can go outlet shopping and to stores of the TJMaxx/Marshalls/Ross variety. I’ve found really great stuff there, and not just me. A Chinese millionare, who I have deep respect for (self made, started from nothing in communist China,) LOVES TJMaxx. She loves not spending her hard earned coins on ultimately disposable things. Neither do I. But, she knows where to invest those coins, like art, good furniture, etc., things that last.

Part one: Clothes (or the visual public representation of how you spend your money)

Every once in a while there are items that are investment pieces, things you will wear forever and never go out of style. Classic pumps, Little Black Dress, crisp white button down…you get the picture. So I’m going to divide it up into two groups, things that should last you forever (or at least a very long time) and are worth finding a quality item, and things you will probably throw away within a year and should bargain hunt.

Things that should be quality classics:

·      Little black dress: should fit you perfectly, be modest enough for religious events, but stunning enough to make you feel great whenever you put it on.

·      Black about 3” pumps: If they are higher than 3” you may not be able to walk in them in ten years and they may go out of style, (this is an investment and should last) especially if they are platforms (a trend that is dying), if they are lower than 3”…it’s cheating. (Unless you are very tall, or enough years old that you’ll do as you please!)

·      Perfect skirt that hits you in just the right spot: somewhere around the knee. Mini skirts are a trend, so are maxi skirts.

·      Jeans. You’ll be replacing these more often, but I firmly believe every woman needs a pair of well fitting dark blue and/or black jeans. They go with EVERYTHING.

·      Crisp white button down shirt, without too many details. Clean and classic, made of a good fabric that breathes and extra points if it doesn’t have to be dry-cleaned. (Why? Do you want to spend more money you don’t have?)

·     Great walking shoes/boots.

·     For my ladies, the right fitting bra. It makes or breaks the end result.

When you are looking for these quality classics, look at how and where they are made. Look at the stitching, if the shoes are glued or stitched, and what material it’s made out of. Natural fibers are going to be a bit healthier for your skin than man made.

Things that you can save on:

·      Tee shirts

·      Socks

·      Trendy items

·      Hats

·      Gloves (not work gloves that are a safety requirement, same for work shoes)

·      Maxi/mini dresses that aren’t daily use

·      Bathing suits

Even when you are bargain hunting, I'd still never recommend buying anything that looks like it will fall apart with the first wear and wash. Because that's just a waste of money and the time it took you to find it.

If you have limited closet space, and you have events to go to, Rent the Runway has become one of my go to resources for finding something beautiful while not spending too much, and not having to house something that might go out of style. They also sell some of their clothes at the end of the season that may be able to last a good while longer. 

You know whats also good? A clothing swap with a good friend. 

Stay tuned for next weeks installment about how to put all that new swag together, and the following installment  about Bette's hacks for your home!

Bulletproof Bette shares her wisdom in the first ever Showgirl’s Guide to surviving and thriving in a city and industry that wants to eat you for lunch. Get exclusive content when you sign up below!