Image is Everything

Well, not everything. But there's something to be said by the power of glossy images.

I love playing around with StyleDiary. It's a great way to keep track of things I'm wearing. Since I have the tendency to be stuck in, say, a particular color scheme for days at a time without conscious awareness, a picture diary helps me spot these trends so that I can get out of a rut. I also love looking at other people's diaries. One of my favorites is by a woman with great tastes--a mix of vintage and designer brands. Recently I saw her wearing a very cool jacket. The jacket was a bit big and deconstructed, like some of the expensive avant-garde pieces I've seen. Imagine my surprise when I saw that not only was the jacket from Target, but so was something else she was wearing. I've always believed that it's not how much you've spent--it's how you wear it. Yet, I was blown away by how well she wore it. I think that her style is awesome, and it's enhanced by her excellent photography skills and poses.

That brings me back to today's topic: glossy images. We all know that things look better in fashion magazines than they do in real life, but that's not the point. The point is that you can put together a polished look with inexpensive clothes, but it's all in the way you present it:

-To make up for what cheap clothes lack in quality, it's important to for the clothes to fit. Something may be cheap, but if it doesn't fit, you're getting the double whammy--suboptimal quality + bad fit = not something you'll wear a whole lot.

-After the fitness issue is resolved, make sure the clothes are clean and not wrinkled. For bags and shoes, keep them clean and shiny/streak-free, if necessary. Streaks can be a problem for fake leather goods.

-Next is how you wear it. Look sharp by thinking about what layers you want to add, what accessories you want to adorn yourself with, what colors match. If something needs to be tucked in, tuck it in. If something should be buttoned up, keep it buttoned up.

-Last but not least, wear your clothes with confidence. Stand up straight, smile. Look like you're comfortable in your own skin. I think attitude is what really makes and breaks an outfit. Some people can wear outrageous things that I wouldn't think of wearing, but the outfits look right on them. I think they're the ones who pull it off because their positive attitude makes that style/outfit all their own.

To wrap up, here are my sorry attempts to do artsy photography for my latest purchases. I wanted to illustrate that through (sometimes) clever styling and trick photography, cheapy items can instantly become glamorous. It's really all a matter of presentation.

I think I did pretty well with the sunglasses, but not so much with the shoes--the lighting is just off and my shoes are bit dirty. In the case of Payless, I think they've really improved their image. It's probably the same quality (more like lack thereof) as before, and there are some rare cute gems just as before, but the way they present the shoes in ads nowadays gets me to think, "Hmmm, I think I'd like to wear that. Payless has some pretty cool stuff!"

Issac Mizrahi for Target sunglasses--about $5 from clearance bin:

Sunglasses break or get lost easily, so there's no point in spending that much for a pair unless they're really unique.

Payless peeptoe wedges, $6 on clearance:

I snagged them while running an errand. I rarely shop for shoes at Payless, but once in a while I'd go in to see if there are stellar deals. This pair fits the bill. I know that white is a summer color for shoes, but I never did like pure white. It's a bit blinding, and just not for me. These cream/off-white shoes are perfect! I've been wanting the green version of these, which is a Spring style, but this cream color is even better. Spring, summer, whatever. Close enough for me.

These aren't glamour shots by any means, but just to show how the shoes look like when they're on. They're so versatile--I can dress them up or down:


The Cheap Chica said...

i have those shoes, lol. i agree with your post 1000%. it shouldn't matter how much a piece of clothing costs, it's how well you wear it. great post.

ambika said...

Love the shoes--an amazing deal. And the tie jacket is pretty fab as well.

Totally agreed about sunglasses. I think if I was good about keeping them in a case and always having a pocket for them somewhere, I'd splurge. But given my ability to lose the last five pair I've had, there's no way I'd pay more than 10 bucks.

Bernie said...

Those shoes are too cute, and I think your philosophy is spot on. Of course it doesn't hurt that you're mixing pieces with those adorable Mike + Chris hoodies!

Sales Rack Raider said...

Thanks, everyone!

Cheap Chica--aren't the shoes great? I find myself wearing them almost every day.

Ambika--I hear ya on the sunglasses. I used to spend $15 on a pair of sporty sunglasses, thinking they'd be sturdier. They weren't, and I lost them. I realized that the cheapy ones at Target actually work pretty well. I'd go for those on clearance...they're sturdier than the $5 retail ones at Forever 21 or its mall counterparts.

Bernie--I definitely love my Mike & Chris hoodies. I can't stop wearing them either (with the exception of my orange vest, which is cute but slightly difficult to work with). Thank goodness for their sample sales.

ThatBeeGirl said...

beautifully captured! i went into payless a couple of weekends ago after not having been there in years. i was surprised to see they carried airwalk shoes -- i remember they were all the rage in elementary school! i contemplated getting a pair, as they were vans-esque, but passed. long story short (too late) their selection has improved. way to score some deals!

Candid Cool said...

your 1st outfit is quite chic