Dear aspiring (teen) Fashionista, this article is for you and was inspired by my thirteen year old cousin who made a comment to me the other night. It was something along the lines of “I would have to spend thousands of dollars to dress well.” NOT TRUE and here’s an outfit to prove it. My dress and booties are from Forever21 which cost about $40. Both of them have since sold out but I included similar ones below. My Quay sunglasses glasses were $50 from Nordstrom, and the only really expensive thing about this look is my handbag which could easily be swapped with a more affordable option.
Case in point, you don’t have to be rich to look good. Toss out the “brand name” mentality and look for quality pieces that fit your personal budget. First, explore and find your style, and be open to mixing fast fashion with higher end designer pieces. Note: the designer part is optional. The point is to feel comfortable in your own skin and never feel like you have to shell out boatloads of cash to look like the girls in the magazines. Someone’s ability to put killer outfits together is way more important than the designer tags hiding inside their clothes.

Here’s how I would break it down.

When it comes to your basics, dresses, skincare and makeup, opt for fast fashion and drug store brands. This is your chance to explore different looks and find your staple style, so rather than putting all your eggs in one basket, put them in as many as you can.  This way you’re not stuck with things you’ll never wear again. About makeup and skincare, wait for your twenties before you invest in the good stuff.  Hold back on the anti-aging stuff until your twenties. With t-shirts and camis, hoodies, dresses, shoes, go for stores like Forever 21, H&M, Foreign Exchange, Target, Asos, Uniqlo and Express.

You can find jeans, outerwear, accessories, and handbags and less expensive stores too. But if you have the option to splurge, it’s a good idea to spend a little extra on these items to get better quality fabrics. Mainly because these items are used more frequently and their styles don’t change as often. I would recommend going to stores like Nordstrom, Macy’s, Zara, RevolveClothing, Hautelook, and Urban Outfitters.

For all you awesome teens out there that follow bloggers, celebrities, and style icons that are convinced you have to be rich and famous to dress like they do. You definitely don’t. There are far more important things to spend your money on. Like traveling to see and expand your cultural knowledge of the world, college (but who wants to think about that!), buying thoughtful gifts for your friends, learning a new skill, hobbies and unforgettable experiences.