How to Be a Recessionista

My five tips on staying stylish within budget in an uncertain time



Living in a time of economic uncertainty doesn’t mean we can’t buy new clothes, we just have to be smart about it.


Like most women, I experience a rush of excitement when I walk out of a clothing store with my new purchases, but with the economy going the way of the dodo, that excitement has turned into guilt.


If you’ve been feeling the crunch lately then may I suggest a couple tips to guilt-free shopping:


1)  Take advantage of sample sales – Skip the mall and head straight to the warehouse. Many clothing stores and local designers hold samples sales to sell overstock inventory, fabrics they don’t need anymore and heavily discounted items to the public. You can often find seasonal products at a fraction of the retail price. This is a great place to start if you are interested in brand names but don’t want to pay a fortune for quality made clothing. Try to find an event in your area.


2)  Become a thrift store diva – The over-looked thrift store is a bargain hunters’ paradise. If you have the patience and time, you can spend hours going through the racks of used clothing, which may be good on their own or may need to be altered so it is tailored to your taste. Plan to make a few trips to a variety of thrift stores. You will need to make multiple trips if you are to find that hidden gem because new items arrive daily. Since the selection of clothing depends on the area where it comes from, you are more likely to find up-scale clothing in ritzier neighbourhoods. Try Extoggery ( or a consignment shop where your chances of finding a Diane Von Furstenberg dress are greater than your local Goodwill.


3) Hold a clothing swap party – Often the most fun and cheapest way of getting new clothes, your friends and their closets are a valuable resource. Invite your friends over one afternoon; make some cocktails and snacks and layout their clothing on tables so everyone can have a look at the pickings. Trade clothing, jewelry, shoes, purses and whatever else you don’t want anymore. Negotiations are at your own discretion, so here is to hoping you get something you like. 


4) Navigate through online sales – Getting your hands on designer clothing is only a mouse click away. Fashion sites like are a one-stop shop for info on all your favourite Canadian designers. Here you can find links to House of Spy, Juma, Allison Wonderland and all of their online discounts.


5) Make what’s old new again – Pick a few trendy items to go with your existing wardrobe. If you buy only a few new pieces you can completely reinvent your wardrobe by mixing and matching the old with the new. Try buying a trendy belt to cinch in the waist of an old shirt so it creates a brand new look.


Now that you’ve been informed, challenge yourself to avoid the mall this holiday season and let the bargain hunting and coupon clipping begin!


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