Street style stars and fashion bloggers alike possess the uncanny knack for appearing well turned out at all times, but such a feat is simple with an unlimited budget and a closet full of designer wares. Armed with a Chloe Drew crossbody bag, Mother denim flares and Tom Ford sunglasses, one would have to try incredibly hard not to look worthy of a Vogue editorial spread. Moreover, it is a well-publicized fact that street style photographers are drawn to subjects sporting designer labels, especially if said duds are from a future collection not yet released to the general public. If you happen to possess a connection that hooks you up with Spring 2016 wares in September 2015, you can guarantee a certain amount of interest from the Fashion Week paparazzi. However, styling an ensemble that elicits such interest on a budget is quite another story.
Scooping up trending items from Zara, H&M, or & Other Stories to create the ideal autumnal ensemble for Fashion Week is relatively simple, but a closer look at the price tags of said retailers reveals that much of the clothing on the racks retails for $50 or more. So what of the consumers who wish to recreate their favorite runway looks without spending what amounts to $200 or more per ensemble? In pursuit of answers, I attempted the impossible: street styling an ensemble made entirely of items priced at $10 or less.
The endeavor was eye-opening. After failed attempts to find under $10 items at retailers such as Banana Republic, Zara, and Armani Exchange, I made my way to the ever-helpful Forever21 and H&M, where I succeeded in fashioning a budget-friendly ensemble that, dare I say, might have garnered the attention of at least one street style photographer.
Whilst perusing the sale racks at H&M, I happened upon an on-trend cropped lace top with a sultry dipped back and a gilded necklace, each for under $10.
A jaunt to Forever 21 metamorphosed from fruitless to triumphant when I discovered the holy grail of sartorial finds: skinny jeans for under $10.
Forever21 Low Rise Ankle Skinny Jeans, $7.90, forever21.com
Further scouring of the racks produced a delicate cream scarf and '70s-inspired suede belt to lend the ensemble polish and interest.
After playing with the ensemble, I was delighted to discover that the outfit had come together in a beautiful array of neutral shades, offset by the Art Deco gold necklace. Rummaging through my own closet produced a Hat Attack hat which I had discovered on sale years prior, and a pair of Schutz peep toe booties purchased on Gilt.
Through my perusal of various stores from high street to high end, I found that an under $10 budget is exponentially more difficult to maintain than under $50, or even under $20. Hats, shoes, and leather goods were nearly all priced well above the $20 mark, while dresses and skirts not of the spandex variety were priced at a premium.
My conclusion, therefore, is that fashion mavens can create a street style-ready ensemble out of pieces under $10 — but not without significant sartorial effort. Invest in luxe accessories, but know that you can in fact find figure-flattering denim and other duds at a bargain if you invest the proper time and energy.
Images: Tyler Atwood