Prada. Armani. Hermes. Barney’s. Chanel. The Gold Coast is just that â€” gold. You are sauntering atop its glory while kicking up its sprinkling of diamonds bestowed by Tiffany’s and Cartier. But something makes you stop. Behind one of those crystal windows, there they are â€” the new Rene Caovilla open-toe gold appliquÃ© sandals. And then, there you are. You zoom in. You swear there is music playing in the background, rising to an effervescent crescendo as you walk toward the display. And before you know it, the music hushes to a melodic love-song as you are sitting gazing at the glistening bejeweled wine red strap caressing the top of your arched foot, and then gently hugging round your ankles. Your foot never looked so good.
STOP! This is your reality check. Put your previously-owned sandals back on and set the credit card down.
Yes, your pedicure looks very nice in those $935 dollar shoes, but didn’t you see another pair of jeweled sandals that caused you whiplash in the Stuart Weitzman window? And weren’t those on sale for $129? Now I love sparkles just like the next girl, and I really love my shoes. And for those of you who can afford the wonders of Rene Caovilla footwear, strut on before my foundation fades from the envious green emanating from my face. But for those of you who would feel ill as soon as the Caovilla credit card bill appears in your mailbox, allow me to introduce myself.
My name is Rachel Yeomans. I am in my young 20s and moved to the glorious streets of Chicago full of ambition, excitement and the love of fashion with a scant savings compiled from summertime fish fry restaurant tips. It has since been five years, the first few involving the disappearance of my savings (I still own that pair of George Mang lavender pumps) and the somersault into credit card debt. Those first few years were fraught with fashion and then the harsh and horrid fear that I probably would never be able to afford to go shoppingâ€¦everâ€¦again. And then over the course of living in this fear and serious discussions with friends and those more financially savvy than I, I realized something: I could learn how to budget. And even better, I could shop on a budget.
I have since learned the wonders of discount fashion websites, resale and vintage stores and the fun finds from the racks of H&M and Forever 21. I am proud to say I am successfully on my way to being debt-free, but the harsh lessons I learned these past few years taught me well. And the fear of my Bloomingdale’s Visa balance yanking me away from that one special splurge is enough to keep me in check. So within these weekly write-ups of mine to follow, I will bring to you my bargain finds along with some learned tips I have acquired on how to handle having couture taste sans the couture wallet.
So now, that leads me back to this balmy summer of 2006. A summer so hot, I’m dreaming of Diane von Furstenberg wrap dresses and Via Spiga slides. But amidst that thought, I stumbled across the cutest Beau Bois white tiered cotton gauze strap dress for almost $250 less than DV can offer, and you wouldn’t believe the deal I got on these Kimel “Paley” Metallic Low Wedges. They may not be Rene Caovilla, but my pedicure still looks fabulous!