As a poor, disaffected high school student, I tried very hard to balance a desire to fit in and a desire to be my own person. I knew that I couldnt afford (in both senses) to look like the perfect rich girls at my school, in their Express outfits and Dooney & Bourke purses.
My sister and I pooled our money (ok, mainly it was her money) and started in early on the Gap clearance bins. Gap was not really on the radar of coolness then, and bargains could be found for $3.99, $7.99, and the real splurge of $9.99 and $12.99. I'm sure things cost more there, but I would never have seen them, being so laser-focused on the final sale items. This led to some ridiculous items in our closets, like garish table cloth prints on pants, button-downs, backpacks. I pray I never wore them at the same time, but I cant be certain. Army green denim suits (matching jean jacket, jeans, and jorts). Picture lots of braided leather belts. I never said I was cool, just different - at least at that moment in time and location.
For shoes and special occasion dresses, I scoured the clearance bins of Pier One. That sounds ludicrous, but in the early 90s, they had a nice selection of "ethnic" clothing. I lived in their $4 espadrilles - black, hot pink, yellow. When I could splurge, I'd snag the $10 huaraches. Always white, as the natural leather never looked right to me. For especially nice things, I loved Sam and Libby black ballet slippers with the big leather bow, never the more authentic string bow.
Lately, in need of more simple shoe options - the kinds that dont require pre-planning and gauging distances to be walked, whether rain is likely, how much standing involved, etc. - I'm dreaming of my tried and true silhouettes. I just came across the perfect little white huarache at Urban Outfitters (of all places). I just cant decide if it's best to move forward to new styles, new looks, or if it's possible to re-adopt an old look.
But no denim suits, I swear.