Are you a frugal fashionista too? I love you already. I love connecting with soul sisters who value frugal living as much as I do. We can swap fashion hot spots and insights for all things beautiful that never break the bank and keep us anchored in our values. How awesome is that?!
Living a frugal lifestyle has always been so grounding for me. Finding meaningful ways to keep myself rooted in a modest budget has brought me stability, peace, and joy throughout my entire life. As you ladies have probably experienced, frugality isn't a concept most people can understand. They usually would perceive my modest spending choices as a money-worry or inability to have fun and live life to the fullest (as though money could possibly buy happiness lol). Cue the giggles!
I’ve cherished my frugal lifestyle my whole life. It was important to me. I loved glitz and glam, leather jackets, boots with the fur, sequins that made your eyes dance, and anything HOT RED, but in all honesty, anything TOO high end and pricey that would break the bank or lure me away from being prudent (which I greatly valued) was my immediate signal to do a morality check and dig into my own conscience for my compass.
I personally didn't want to be seduced into a glamorized materialistic world where brands, price tags, and latest trends define a person. The type of lifestyle where luxury says more about a woman’s value than her own soul does, where all that’s remembered of a woman is her exterior, where money and status speak for self-worth, where a woman searches for who she is in passing seasons of fads, where one’s appetite is never satisfied, and one slowly loses sense of the greatness of gratitude, the gift of simplicity, and making do.
The type of living where one loses sight of virtue, where one loses themselves in their overindulgence, where one loses touch with their raw beauty and begins believing her decorated self is all that she is. The type of life that influences identity theft, where a woman attaches who she is to possessions, money, clothes, makeup, and what’s the hottest and newest thing on the market. Without these things, she feels as though she is nothing, hasn’t anything valuable to offer, and isn’t as admired or loved as someone with a bed of roses.
I did not desire to be apart of the type of disillusioned world where a woman’s definition of herself becomes rooted in the opinions of others and she is persuaded that her wardrobe, her paycheck, her car, the grandness of her house, prestige, and superficial beauty makes her worthy, worthwhile, successful, desirable, attractive, and powerful. I did not admire a woman who viewed herself above other women and who believed this glamorized self-glorifying way of life trumps fruits of poverty. The kind of life where one becomes addicted to materialistic wealth and what people think. By becoming more and more attached to the artificial and placing more and more importance on the unimportant, the illusion that this way of life is fulfilling leads one to idolize materialistic wealth, to which they slowly lose their soul.
This shallow lifestyle was a turnoff for me. I did not desire it nor was attracted to it, and definitely knew with every bit of me that I did not need it. I did not need to spend my life savings in order to live life to the fullest, in order to enjoy life, in order to laugh, sing, dance, look and feel beautiful, and have a memorable time. My quality of life was not enhanced through a wallet, but through my own perspective on living. Finding that my identity is God's Beloved, my worth is deeply rooted in His unconditional love, and my beauty is the radiance of God is richly life-changing. (I'll write another article on how this revelation changed my direction in life once my heart found acceptance in this truth). I could have only holes in my pocket and still be as happy as a lark because of what I placed value on and because of who I so confidently knew I was.
Others would think I had expensive taste when they’d see me checking out high end stores and trying on the most luxurious quality brands, but in all honesty, I was on a hunt for inspiration. I never allowed myself to make such a purchase and spend my whole bank account on one scarf or one-fourth of a dress from one of these stunning stores. I loved the designs, but I loved growing ideas for my own fashion designing even more. This caught my heart.
Frankly, I would rather spend my money on something meaningful that kept me deeply-rooted, dignified, and well with my soul. So I always tried to do that. No shame in this girl's thrifting game! I was always on the hunt for goldmine sales or unusual pieces in the back corner of thrift stores. I’d bring these gems home and let my wild creative juices flow! I’d get to work designing my own fashion from my own kitchen table. Not only did this passion give me freedom to create something I loved, but something that spoke for my personality even more than any of the outfits in magazines ever could. I made it fun finding experimental ways around spending more than I thought was good for me by spicing up my wardrobe with a twist of talent and imagination!
I loved to design, create, break rules, and ingeniously bust out of boxes people tried to put me in. It never was an act of rebellion, but an untamed self-expression of art. I was a leader, daredevil, free spirit, fearlessly refused to follow the crowd or anything popular, and blazed my own trail of individuality and innovation. My madness was magic.
I considered style a beautiful and fun way of revealing who you were as a person. I loved stepping out in anything that felt like ME, spoke for myself, and that hardly cost me a dime, but was worth a million bucks in confidence. If people didn't like it, they could go jump in a cold lake with their opinions for all I cared. (Still trying to work on booting the attitude lol It can lead you astray... Baby steps!) If I personally liked it, and it was a frugal spend or something I spruced up from old clothes of mine, I was good to go baby!
5 facts you may not have known about me:
1. I only buy makeup once a year
2. ThredUp is my happy place
3. I've never spent over $20 on heels
4. I wear workout shorts underneath all my dresses
5. 99% of my swimsuits I re-created
Prom dresses, Sunday Mass dresses, bathing suits, business suits, pants, skirts, shorts, jackets, PJS, you name it, I changed what I considered horrific or boring, into something spicy and so my style. I’d turn an XL into an XS. A dress 3ft too long would be chopped and given an elegant slit. If it was too short I'd add a layer or rock some leggings with it. Rhinestones was of course added to EVERYTHING! Creating fashion statements was a powerful outlet for me and still is. I was not only crazy about designing my own, but designing and dressing my friends too. When they felt like I nailed their personality and mood, I knew I had championed them. Their smiles said it all.
Fashion is beautiful. I love how women can speak how we feel to the world by how we adorn ourselves. It’s an insightful way to learn about the interior life of someone. It’s also how we can develop our empathy so as not to judge another woman's heart and to lovingly strive to listen to her speaking her story so as to come to know and understand her from a gentle spirit. I never want to be one who will ever look down my nose at another woman for what she wears, but will always empathetically peer into her heart, soul, and cry for love because there we will find her whole life story of truth, authenticity, and beauty.
Fashion, modesty, and what to wear is absolutely a controversial topic, but I don’t believe it should influence us to condemn or reject another woman. Women have battle scars from sexual, physical, verbal, psychological, and emotional abuse, or very painful pasts that we may know nothing about that can really do a number on one’s psyche and outlook on life. How often do we think about what has happened TO a woman? I think we need to become more gentle toward each other as women and think deeper than one’s outer appearance. Value their soul and recognize that we all have experienced brokenness and hurt in different ways. Compassion transforms enemies into friends, wounds into healing, and condemnation into acceptance. This love could change the world. This love is what the world needs more of.
I personally strive to live frugally because it keeps me anchored in my personal values and the type of fulfilling life that is well with my soul. No, it does not mean I will never ever treat myself to something expensive. I don't see any harm in a splurge now and then to treat yo self! I'm also not the type of woman who will judge another woman's decision to make a large purchase or where she shops. I believe numbers and titles do not measure a woman’s heart, therefore a woman’s heart should never be judged by them. I will never turn a woman away from my heart whose way of life does not align with my own. I cherish her just as much as women who live even more frugally than I do. We can all inspire each other, learn from each other, and grow as a sisterhood, and not with judgment dividing us and isolating us from one another. Women need community, rest, encouragement, and acceptance. We need to look past differences and recognize that we have incredible gifts within us that could crush the temptations to come against each other that we must strive to make friends with. These gifts of service, love, empathy, relationship, and being sensitive to the needs of others before they are even told to us are BEAUTIFUL and such a powerful force.
If we begin viewing each woman as a gift, as a blessing, as a human being to love, serve, and pour life into, regardless of how she dresses, then women can begin coming together without an agenda, without competition, and without cynical responses to one another's greatness, genius, and beauty. Let us champion one another. Let us give and encourage one another. Let us be a resting place for another woman. Let us be full of grace, full of hope, full of faith, full of love, and life-giving. This could change the world. This could powerfully detach us from the unfruitful life patterns our fallen human nature conforms us to.
In my own heart, I find frugal living a healthy source of detachment from falling into the empty promises of the world, becoming materialistic, selfish, prideful, self-absorbed, self-glorifying, and pompous, where I may be tempted to lose sight of God and begin worshiping myself. I yearn to grow in the virtues of wisdom, humility, prudence, temperance, and love, which draw me into intimacy with Him. Striving to be frugal helps me grow in these areas and to intentionally put these virtues into practice. I believe even the wealthiest of queens can grow in these virtues and live frugally within her means. Just because one has been blessed with great wealth does not mean they are a lost cause and will become self-glorifying. Through intentionally growing in virtue, through prayer, and through devoting one’s heart to God, one’s wealth can be an abundant source of blessings that can be used for tremendous good! Some of the richest of women have lead deeply holy lives because they do not glorify their money, but God through their wealth. These women, along with the poorest of the poor, have so much of my heart, admiration, and respect. It is our holiness that God measures and not the numbers in and out of our bank account.
So ladies, what are some ways that help me grow while I am out shopping and in need of some divine intervention through my decision-making? I keep little questions in mind that help me discern. Is what I am considering on buying necessary? Is it going to pull me away from God? Does it give me glory or God glory? Is it going to feed a vice or a virtue? What is my reason for buying it? Is it worth it? Is it going to lure me away from the woman I want to be? These little reminders help me develop virtuous judgment and evaluate my motives so that I can stay true to my values and what is important to me. It can be a journey, a learning process, and something to think on, but always fruitful when done in the desire to grow in virtue.
Anything can look gorgeous with creativity and good virtuous judgment. Since I love challenges, I enjoy transforming anything into something stunning that reveals a woman’s confidence, grace, dignity, strength, individuality, authenticity, virtue, and neck snapping beauty! This lights me up. I understand not everyone loves to alter their purchases and design something from scratch. Some of us got places to be, people to meet, things to do, and don’t get energized from personal design. I’m a creative and a fashion designer at heart, so of course creativity helps me live frugally. I can’t always spend as much time as I would like investing in my wardrobe designs though, so I can relate to the fast movers and the ones who’d love a fairy godmother to bippity-boppity-boo their outfits into place. When I’m having these moments I go to my fashion hot spots, which is paradise for frugality.
Here’s a list of some of my go-to’s, which always grows whenever I’m chatting fashion with a frugal soul sister. If you’re a romantic for vintage, some of these will definitely resonate with you as well!
I always look up steals on ebay or amazon too!
What’s your sweet spot? I love exploring new outlets and trying different styles. Dress up has always had a special place in my heart. I’m always on the lookout for a little play and a little fun, so let’s get chatty!