By: Anthony Hagan
Rising gas prices are just one of those things that I try not to think about. But it really infuriates me when my wardrobe is being drained right alongside my wallet. As back-to-school shopping time rolls around, I began to wonder if anyone else’s closets were feeling the impact of a gas-guzzling economy.
The Galleria was my target for some good old in-the-field trend tracking where I caught up with local shoppers who gave me their feedback on how tight times are effecting their school shopping. Here is a compilation of some consumer responses:
- Many people pointed out that next weekend is “Tax Free” weekend and that they were scoping out buys, but waiting until then to purchase.
- Quality is still a major consideration when choosing clothes, but, overall, shopping smarter was a consumer constant.
- One girl actually remarked that she was trying to drive less to save money for back-to-school shopping.
- Hitting the end of summer sale racks seemed to be a general theme. (Even if the clothing was originally marketed for summer, there are select items that can be easily converted to fall wear.)
- People who were searching for clothes that weren’t on sale mentioned Forever 21, H&M, Target, Heritage 1981 and Macy’s as popular venues for finding low-price fashions for fall.
- Very few said that high gas prices would not be inhibiting their need for a stylish school wardrobe, saying that this was one of the only times of the year they were allowed a spree like this to stock their closet.
After chatting about all of this cost-cutting, a little self-evaluation was in order. Are gas prices really slicing into my back-to-college attire? Well, it certainly isn’t helping matters.
In general, I’m a pretty thrifty shopper… who likes to use made up occasions like starting classes again to warrant a couple of frivolous new purchases. But since money is tight this year, there are a few things that I’m doing to cut costs and still feel like my closet is refreshed for a new term.
- Layering. It’s one of my favorite style tricks to merge items from my existing summer wardrobe with a few new fashion pieces for fall. Plain long sleeve tees make my short sleeved ones seasonally appropriate once again.
- Simply cleaning out my closet makes me realize that there are a lot more wearable items than I originally thought.
- When I do begin the hunt for a new school look, you won’t see me buying entire outfits. I prefer to invest my hard-earned summer dollars on fewer basics, such as jeans and tops, and save a majority for accessory items to enhance with my current clothes and, most importantly, a new messenger bag.
- Even though my brain says quantity, my common sense screams quality. I’ve been on those shopping trips when you buy every cheap thing in reach. Those clothes are usually the ones I wear the least and fall apart in the washer after two wears.
If you haven’t already guessed, this is a picture of me. It’s a good example of one of my more cost conscious ensembles. My sweet Members Only jacket was a reasonable $25 from Rag-O-Rama. I bought the jeans ($15), the bag ($10) and my Tom Ford knockoff shades ($5) with my employee discount at Jimmy’Z. The child’s size “Florida” t-shirt and braided belt I’m wearing were bought for 5 cents a pound at a vintage warehouse and my mustard colored Sperry Top-Siders were a birthday gift from my Mom (Nordstrom’s, $75).
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