Now including tips on how to dress up your wardrobe!!

I hate to say it. But you can’t be a true fashionista in this economy. And by “true fashionista” (I use this term loosely), I mean heavily-affluent or heavily-debted consumer who has an impeccable taste for clothes and fashion.

A once obsessive, compulsive shopper, I am the said “heavily-debted consumer.” My taste in clothes is not necessarily impeccable, however quite impressive. I do care for some high-end, quality brands, but as a middle-class fashion lover, I am far from being a label whore. Still, I do have a problem. Had. Had a problem. A shopping problem (that’s gonna take some getting used to). And as a result of this problem, I now have a mound of debt.

With only having a part time job, being a new graduate in a slow California economy/job market, paying off debt, and recently quitting an inauspicious internship at a crappy PR company, it’s easy to see why the funds in my bank account are ridiculously low. Which is why I have decided to reprioritize and pay off debt before I buy any new clothes. It may take a while before I can purchase that hot blazer from ASOS or those hot nude leather boots from Steve Madden, but this is a personal choice and it needs to be done.

With all the disorder in this world, the Revolution in Egypt, the turmoil in Libya, and the devastating Quake/Tsunami in Japan, all of which are effecting our economy, I would feel guilty for wasting a money on a new blazer when thousands of people are dead and many more have lost their belongings.

We must be grateful for what we have and perhaps spend the money we so diligently worked for towards donating to a less selfish cause, instead of purchasing that hot pair of shoes that we really don’t need.

Still, with all the conflicts in life, and this may sound completely narcissistic, I won’t allow for my wardrobe and style to be limited. I mean, fashion is an avenue of art for me, and it is something that ultimately makes me feel good and is a major element of who I am.

How will I be a fashionista without breaking the bank, do you ask? Well, I just want to remind you that me refusing to purchase unnecessary clothing is a personal choice. I am in debt (including student loans) and it is important to me to be responsible, even if it means having to put-off buying a snazzy outfit for a while.

And I’ve realized that there are tons of ways one can update a wardrobe without sinking deeper into the debt-hole. Shopping at yard sales, going to flea markets and trading items with friends are great ways to find new-to-you clothes.

Sales are also great. Target and Old Navy always have great deals with pretty decent casual threads. Companies like Forever 21 and H&M are also wallet-friendly. By the way, Forever 21 recently had a massive sale and 100% of the proceeds went to Japan. Kudos Forever! Way to mend your ways after that whole sweat shop debacle.

To me, one of the best ways to update your wardrobe is to shop in your own closet. Channel your inner Martha Stewart and turn your clothes into craft corner. Try cutting that old jean jacket into a fitted open vest or dye that stained white-T into a different color. There are tons of ways to edit and re-make clothes.

And with a little extra work (maybe turned to new hobby), you can recycle your clothes and have hip new pieces. For more ideas on making and recycling cool clothes, read 5 Ways to Revamp Your Wardrobe on a Dime.

To conclude, by no means am I trying to convince you not to buy fabulous things. Fashion is one of my loves and I don’t know who I would be in a world without trend. But I always think it’s great to reflect on how blessed most of us are. There are people in our world that don’t even have shoes, let alone the luxury of choosing a fabulous pair to don everyday.

So, as I take measures to adjust my financial woes and having learned such an important lesson, I remind you to be happy for what you have. Prioritize and learn to make new things from old ones. Purchase to reward yourself for hard work, but appreciate sustainability and try to reuse and recycle. In the long run, it will be better for us as a whole.