Just a few days ago my Fashion Club at school held a “Diversity in Fashion” discussion with people from different cultural organizations on campus. We focused on a few questions that were important to this group of people; one of them being “does your socioeconomic status affect the way you dress?”.
It was unanimously agreed upon within the group that the answer was an absolute yes. However, while this was especially the case 10 or 20 years ago, is the answer to this question beginning to change?
Ever since I was young my mom would give me a budget of a few hundred dollars each school year to spend on my seasonal wardrobe. I had to choose carefully which pieces I spent my money on. Did I want to splurge on a pair of jeans I would wear over and over again? Or did I want to head to the fast fashion stores for a few trendy items?
It really was a fun little game to me. Fun until I had spent my entire budget and later found a pair of shoes I loved but were no longer in the budget, that is. It is definitely hard to create a diverse wardrobe with endless outfit opportunities when you can’t afford to shell out the money for every item you love. However, new fashion trends and brands are making this easier and easier.
Macklemore made thrift shopping cool in 2012 and it has been a trendy thing to do ever since. I guess this is one positive thing we can thank modern-day rappers for. Thrift shopping gives us all an opportunity to find trendy, vintage pieces at an affordable price point. It even gives us a chance to find brands we wouldn’t otherwise be able to buy. Before 2012, thrift shopping was viewed as an activity for those who couldn’t afford new clothing. However, current trends in the industry have shaped it into an acceptable and fun way to shop.
Fast fashion stores are also trendier than ever. Stores have completely re-branded themselves to fit the latest styles showcased on the runways and by celebrities. Target is the perfect example of this. It is a store available to everyone all over the country, whether you are in the city or suburbs. Target has recently launched new brands that focus on trends prominent in the industry today. They have even launched a plus size fashion line with these same fashion-forward pieces.
I was able to find this jumpsuit for $18 on the sale rack at Target. Not only are the prices at these stores more affordable, but they also offer a vast selection of stylish pieces in the sale section. If you are smart about the way you shop, it is absolutely possible to be fashion-forward on a budget. Not to mention my shoes are also from Target! I have been on the hunt for a pair of white mules for awhile now and was able to find the perfect pair for less than $50.
However, anything becoming more affordable always come at some sort of price. In the case of fashion, that cost is ethics. As clothing becomes cheaper, unethical practices in the fashion industry become more prominent. Big corporations are stealing smaller artists’ designs, toxins are being released into the environment, and children are working long hours in factories in Third World countries. The issues are endless. Our struggles in America are causing greater struggles in countries halfway around the world.
So while we may be happier here that we can finally afford to be fashionable, others around the world are suffering because of it. There really is no way to win unless we can find a way to make fashion affordable and ethical.
Do you agree that it is becoming easier to be stylish on a budget? How do you feel about the hidden costs behind this? I would love to hear your thoughts below!