My Instagram feed is ruled by beautiful and stylish people. And most of the time, it’s inspiring — I see looks I’d love to try and places I’d love to go.
But we all have those other days. The days when you feel like the only girl in the world who sometimes forgets deodorant and spends the day hiding sweat stains. Or, who sometimes ventures outside without—gasp!—a perfect blush of color on the lips. On those days, your amazingly beautiful IG feed starts to feel, well, condescending and oppressive.
For those other days, a good dose of reality is in order. Because no one is forever photo-ready. In that spirit, here are 10 confessions from this low-maintenance fashionista. And, consider yourself warned: Number 9 is kinda embarrassing.
1. Wearing the Same Thing Thrice
I buy clothes, shoes and accessories based on value. And in fashion, value has a very simple definition: what does it cost me and how many times will I wear it?
This “cost per wear” approach clashes with that old idea that women shouldn’t be seen wearing the same piece twice. I don’t know where that idea came from, but can we please do away with it? I like wearing my clothes repeatedly — this is how I maximize their value.
Plus, finding new ways to mix and match what’s in my closet to create new outfits is fun. Where’s the challenge in continually restocking with new stuff?
2. This is Yesterday’s Hair
I have fine, thin hair and I’m paranoid about breakage and hair loss. So, I try to get as many days out of a single blow-dry (or flatiron) as possible.
And yes, there’s a shower cap and dry shampoo involved in this strategy. Nordstrom sells fancy shower caps for $16, but I’m currently using one that I got for free in a hotel. Glamorous, right?
3. Jeans Rut Pride
In the cooler months, you might say I fall into the jeans rut. Skinny jeans, to be exact. But you know what? I don’t care. I like wearing denim. It goes with everything and it’s generally flattering. And, think of the value I’m getting out of those jeans!
It’s only a rut if you want to get out of it, right?
4. Joggers, without Jogging
I wear my Fabletics joggers outside the house, when I’m not jogging. To be clear, I don’t usually wear them like a Kardashian, with pumps and a cardigan. I wear them with a t-shirt and Nike Frees.
What I wear on a given day is mostly about what I’m doing that day. If it’s a sporty, active kind of day, then yeah, I’ll put on something that’s not stylish in the conventional sense. I am likely to add a fantastic pair of sunglasses to the mix — but I’ll leave the pumps aside for another day.
5. Two Sweaty Hobbies
In my spare time, I run and I ride my horse. The horse-riding in particular is a dusty, sweaty hobby. As of right now, I’m writing this post in a pair of running shorts and a running top. My hair’s a mess. I think I have horse slobber stuck to my arm.
We all have our messier moments. These moments don’t define our sense of style or our rating on the beauty scale.
6. No Clothes Left Behind
Conventional wisdom tells us to toss stuff you haven’t worn in a year, but I just can’t do it. I don’t throw clothes away unless they’re ruined. I have a handful of dresses that I’ve had for years and years. Some years I wear them and some years I don’t.
My secret for getting lots of wear out of my clothes? I dabble in the season’s trends, but I mostly buy classic styles. Admittedly, this has gotten easier as I’ve gotten older. I’m more comfortable these days wearing what I want, instead of being a slave to what’s hot.
7. Hats all Day
If you see me wearing a hat, it’s probably because yesterday’s hair isn’t working out. I wear a painters cap pretty regularly (particularly if I just got off my horse and have helmet hair), but I’ve also got hats of the floppy, Panama, bucket and newsboy variety.
8. No Spas
I don’t go to the spa. I haven’t in years. The expense of it never really seems justified. As long as I can still see, I’ll be plucking my own eyebrows and giving myself at-home facials. I do enjoy a good mani/pedi, but that’s about as self-indulgent as I get.
9. Arm Hair
A manicurist once told me I have hairy arms and I should wax them. I declined to take her advice. Way too much maintenance for my taste. I’ll take hair on my arms over red bumps and stubble.
10. Love-Hate to Shop
Don’t tell any other style bloggers this, but I have a love/hate relationship with shopping. I love to shop when I know exactly what I want. I have a list, I head to the store, and I try things on. I find stuff that works, check for coupons on my phone, and complete the purchase. Mission accomplished.
I hate shopping to pass the time. Recreational, unfocused shopping always ends up being expensive. In the spirit of completing the excursion, you buy stuff you don’t need. It looks cute in the store and terrible in your closet.
There’s an easy solution though. Keep a mental list of garments and accessories that would fill gaps in your wardrobe. That way, when your mother-in-law invites you out shopping, you’re ready to be focused and disciplined about what you buy. It works for me!
If you’re still with me, you’re either wishing you had the last five minutes of your life back — or you’re feeling a little camaraderie for an imperfect and low-maintenance fashionista. I hope it’s the latter!
As a Southern California transplant now living in the Midwest, Catherine has turned layering into an art form and accepted that UGGs actually do have a place in the stylish lady's wardrobe. She's been featured in Woman's World Magazine, DrLaura.com, Refinery29, Wellness.com and has made appearances on ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis, KCAL9 Los Angeles, Fox19 Cincinnati, WGN TV Chicago and WCPO TV Cincinnati.
Thanks for stopping by! I'm Catherine, your Budget Fashionista style editor. I'm a bargain shopper at heart, as I love nice things but hate paying for them! I'm also a personal finance writer who's been featured on USA Today and MSN Money.
The Budget Fashionista® has been empowering fashion-minded women of all ages to look their best for less since 2003.
Catherine Brock and The Budget Fashionista have been featured on Fox2 St. Louis, ABC7 Chicago, CBS2 Los Angeles, WGN Chicago, WCPO Cincinnati and more.