Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dear Penniless,

Glamour Puss thanks you for waiting a week to get the rest of her advice on looking smashing on a shoestring budget. I hope in the meantime you haven’t been out spilling your moola at the mall. The Puss is here to tell you, you can do so much better.

So, to pick up where we left off:

Know yourself. The Puss has a friend, bless her heart, who can’t resist a good estate sale. She will pick up anything that is remotely intriguing and just might fit. As a result, some days she’s a Twiggy look-alike with geometric prints and A-line cuts. Other days she plays the femme fatale with 1950s wiggle dresses. Her closets are full to bursting with clothing ranging from 1930s bias-cut gowns to Kennedy-era suits to 1980s blazers David Byrne might covet, with no central theme. She could save a lot of money and closet space by honing in on a single style that suited her. 
Some girls are meant to wear piles of Bakelite bracelets. Others are better in rhinestones, and still others in Navaho turquoise. Some girls thrill in red lips and lace-edged robes, while other girls rock 1970s caftans and chunky bracelets.
Go to the Xtabay and try a few pieces. How do you feel? Does your heart race? Do you pose in front of the mirror, hand on hip? Or do you think, Sure, this is all right, I guess. Wait for the dress that rushes at you with a whoosh of fantasy. Wearing the right dress (or suit or skirt or blouse or whatever) you see yourself in a new way—or maybe I should say, a “true” way. You feel like yourself, only a bit better. 

Invest in a few signature pieces. To crystallize your style, it helps to own a few signature pieces. It’s economical, too. The Puss, no millionaire herself, dropped a bundle on a necklace in Paris—that’s Paris, France, darlings—and an Italian bronze ring. She wears both nearly every day. The necklace dips and forms a faux “vee” over jewel neck sweaters, the better to flatter her curvy poitrine. The ring simply stuns. Set off by the occasional vintage Miriam Haskell brooch, the Puss doesn’t need to decimate her paycheck with piles of costume jewelry. 
A coat is a good place to spend your limited dollars, as well. As the Puss heard one acquaintance say, a coat is your entrance and your exit. Plus, the most beautiful coats—vintage, naturally—were made to last and are easily found in knockout colors and lush fabrics, all at a good price.

Follow the 8 to 10 rule. Hold up that dress you’re considering purchasing. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being knee-weakening gorgeous, where does it fall? The Puss says if it isn’t at least an 8, put it back on the rack. Someone else will love it more. On a tight budget you don’t have the leeway to purchase a mere 6. On the other hand, if you find a 10, even if it challenges your bank account, do what you have to so that it goes home with you.

Keep your wit sharp. No matter what finery you toss on your bones, if you’re dull and fearful, you’ll come off a drudge. Sparkle, honeycake, sparkle! I know how delightful, how insightful, how intriguing you are! Let us have it. You, my love, are the jewel. Your clothes are mere setting.

Next week, the Puss will advise on what to wear on a first date. See you soon!

 Kiss kiss,

Glamour Puss

(Angela Sanders is a guest blogger for Xtabay and moonlights as "Glamour Puss",  feel free to ask her any questions you might have,  she would love to offer her advice and wisdom.) 

Here are a few of Xtabay owner Liz's signature pieces.....

Stacks of bakelite bangles...

A dramatic wizard sleeved coat by Bonnie Cashin---favorite kind of thing to throw over a t-shirt and leggings! Easy way to appear chic while basically wearing your pajamas:)

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