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How to Convince People That You Are Fashionable, When You Really Look Like a Disaster

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As Countess LuAnn’s auto-tuned crooning on Real Housewives of New York taught us, “money can’t buy you class.”  I firmly believe this– look at all of the lavishly rich ladies out there who still look like tacky messes (again, see any Real Housewives for an example).  Less money to spend on clothes equals more restrictions, which in turn equal more resourcefulness and creativity when putting together an outfit.  I mean, I probably wouldn’t look like the 25 year old “slutty Grandma gone to Vegas” that I do if I had wads of cash to spend at Barneys, and I’m fine with that.  I enjoy being an individual!  However, since living in metropolises like NYC, I’ve often encountered people with a lot of money who wrinkle their rhinoplastied noses at my bargain threads.  Here are some things I say to distract from the fact that I rarely spend more than $20 on a piece of clothing:

1) “It’s vintage.”  Rule #1 in having a cheap, stylish wardrobe– vintage is always, always better than Forever 21.  No one respects someone who’s wearing a sequined tube dress manufactured by psycho Christian evangelists,  that some poor soul in Guatemala was paid 55 cents to sew.  Not only is vintage shopping socially responsible, it mesmerizes the upper class, who can’t fathom that we plebs sometimes spend hours sifting through bargain bins at the Goodwill for $2 pit-stained band tees.  Even if I’m wearing an ill-fitting polyester frock that makes me sweat bullets, the rich are continuously intrigued by the sheer effort I put into finding that one-of-a-kind treasure, which gains me some major fashion cred.

2) “It’s my “signature piece.” I may wear the same threadbare black jeans all of the time because they are the only pants that I own, but– shh!— fools don’t have to know this.  I just act like I love those worn out, buttless wonders so goddamn much that I can’t bear to let them leave my body.  They’re like a part of me– my “uniform.”  If any reetch beetches ask me why I’ve sported the same pair of stinky pants for the past 12 days, I just tell them that I am branding myself and that my odoriffic Levi’s are the foundation of my public identity.

3) “I’m a minimalist.”  I dabbled in sartorial minimalism when I realized that plain t-shirts were way cheaper than any other article of clothing.  A white t-shirt, denim cutoffs and sneakers may be what my mom used to make Child Me wear when I did chores like pick up dog poop in the backyard, but once I declared myself a minimalist this same outfit became “refreshing” and “edited.”  The best part about the minimalist look is that it usually includes a bare face, which is great because makeup is hella expensive and too much of it makes ladies look like they’re going to drag night at Marlena’s.

4) “I like to look… effortless.”  When I couldn’t afford to get my highlights redone (a.k.a. I moved to NYC and my hairstylist BFF couldn’t do my hair for free in his kitchen anymore), I just let them grow out.  Like a 57-year-old divorcee, it was a quick slide into the sad world of sweatpants and microwave dinners– soon I pretty much just stopped washing, combing, and maintaining my hair altogether.  One may think that people would mistake me for a bag lady, but all I had to do was drop the aforementioned line and I was praised for my “beachy waves,” “Olsen twin hair” and “sexy bedhead.”  Now, I’ve never met anyone in real life who thinks a matted-up grease ball is “sexy,” but what goes in the fashion world isn’t always what gets you laid.  Pick and choose your battles, ladies.

With a little self confidence, some sass and a few lies, you too can turn your tattered rags into utter fabulousness  (There’s a line from Cosmo for ya!).  Just fake it til you make it, girls!  I mean, it really doesn’t matter what the rich think anyway– and I’m pretty sure that I would still wear smelly polyester dresses even if I did have a swimming pool full of Ben Franklins– but it definitely helps to have a few taglines that keep people from treating me like a total Oliver Twist.  Just like wise ol’ Countess LuAnn said before she shittalked her best friend in the Hamptons, “Elegance is learned, my friends.”  Turn your broke-ass into some broke-class!

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Carrie Laven - Pretty Penniless

Carrie Laven - Pretty Penniless

Carrie Laven is a natural-born storyteller from California, but she
lives in New York now. She likes dogs, nail art, and Mexican food,
but mostly she likes scoring sweet deals at thrift stores. She tends
to have a flair for the dramatic.