Fashion Tips for Broke Girls – Ginny Leise


Us broke girls take a certain pride in being low-maintenance. Go all winter gaff taping your boots together? No big deal. Pairing a mealy t-shirt with a mini you outgrew years ago? That’s Saturday. Then spring comes along and quite literally sheds new light on your ragged sweaters. Want to freshen your wardrobe without forking over grocery money? Here are some tricks for keeping yourself consistently presentable and occasionally great.

1. Host a Swap. Invite over a big group of girls and their unwanted yet wearable clothes. Hold up each piece one at time and describe it (size, label, etc.) and interested parties take turns trying on. Things can get a little cutthroat so make sure to only invite your more civilized acquaintances. Pick out a charity for the leftovers. Viola, new clothes plus a little good karma—that never happens when you shop at Target. Speaking of which…

2. Accessorize at big box stores, but that’s it. Ah the allure of Forever 21, that slinky minx with her sparkly tops and floral dresses. She seduces you with the $11.99 price tags even though you know it will shrink/fade/disintegrate upon the first wash. Those clothes are too cheap to be economical. The accessories, however, are more likely to last, or least be easier to glue back together. Enjoy the cheap purses, earrings and sunglasses and don’t waste your time with the rest.

3. Purge. You’re not doing yourself any favors by holding onto your torn, pit stained and shrunken clothes. Donate stuff that’s still wearable and toss the rest. Sure, you will have less options but you’ll look less more presentable.

4. Force Yourself to Mix & Match. No matter how adventurous a dresser you are, you probably pair the same pieces together again and again. Challenge yourself to come up with new configurations.  It’s actually really fun. Like fashion Tetris.

5. Student Haircut. The Aveda Institiute, Paul Mitchell Academy etc. offer low rates on cuts and colors with their students. In New York, you can pay $30 for a cut and blow out. It’s risky because the stylists are inexperienced, but compared to your shaky attempts to give yourself a trim, they’re geniuses.

6. Buffalo Exchange. Bring in your unwanted clothes and trade for cash or store credit. Most major cities have one or its equivalent. However, they seem to be getting pickier (and snider) all the time. Even if they reject you, ahem, your clothes, stick around and browse—their selection is the perfect combination of trendy, vintage and costume.

7. Use Internet Ads To Your Advantage. By now you know advertisers monitor everything you do online in order to tailor fit the ads you see. Evil corporations, right? No! Well, yes, but you can put those greedy bastards to work for you. Put items into your shopping cart and abandon them there. By the next day, you will be barraged with ads for those items at sale prices, guaranteed.

Freshen yourself up. You won’t look like a million bucks. How could you? You only spent $65. But you will have a few new, and better, options. Enjoy.


Ginny LeiseGinny Leise grew up in Jersey, earned a delightfully useless degree in Colorado and currently resides in Brooklyn. She spends her days writing, filming sketch videos with ThreeGForce and improvising at PIT. Oh, and rewatching episodes of 30 Rock.

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