The Cut Back

The Cut Back

I shouldn’t have crticised but like most people I was frankly appalled at Sarah Palin having spend $150,000 from campaign funds on her wardrobe.  Appalled mainly because that is an extortionate amount of money on ensembles that aren’t breathtaking and of course appalled because that is an extortionate amount of money period.  Who am I to preach as I’m certainly not one to talk about being budget conscious.  If I have it in my pockets, I’ll spend it like there’s no tomorrow.  As I’ve discussed before, I’ve also never been really tight of money, in the way that apparently a lot of people will be come next year when unemployment will shoot up and houses are reposessed.

Yet I can’t help but have the rammings of recession digest in my fashion gut.  I’m not a complete escapist and as much as fashion fairy land is lovely, ignorance is unbecoming on someone like me who is actually pretty practical in real life (even if I do wear straw hats and crochet gloves).  So the break in San Francisco has given me the opportunity to set myself a fairly unoriginal challenge that most people can partake in and it just happens to be something I should be doing more.  The ¬£10 outfit challenge is nothing new yet I personally don’t do it enough due to time and the habit of spending as though there was a bottomless bank account.  People have told me wonderful things about SF’s thrifting opportunities and so I will be setting myself $20 challenges for an outfit.  Shoes will probably not be included but one can try… yes, it’s cheating a little since it is 20 as opposed to 10 but I’ll go by my own currency and gauge it that way – $20 still isn’t a great deal of mullah, especially when converted back to pounds.  I still revel in my ¬£0.01 puffy dress (lucky eBay score) or my ¬£3 swirly yellow/purple buy so I relish seeing what I will find.  Progress will of course be tracked here.




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  1. WendyB

    2008-10-24 at 12:22 AM

    People are stupid. If Palin didn’t look presentable, they would rant and rave. If she spends the money to look presentable, they rant and rave. I don’t like her at all but face it, in this day and age of high-res and body-snarking, she can’t afford to take time off to go pick up remainders at Burlington Coat Factory.

  2. KYM

    2008-10-24 at 12:40 AM

    how fun. i love being frugal on a regular day-to-day basis, but i’m actually excited by the challenge of going to the “extreme” in light of what is going on all around us, and to us.
    in a strange way, i love and perhaps even thrive on creating something out of limitations. it’s amazing how far your imagination and luck can stretch within boundaries.

  3. KYM

    2008-10-24 at 12:43 AM

    i just realized something ! the quote on your header is the english translation to my blog name. i can’t believe i didn’t notice that until now ! but maybe that’s because this is only my 2nd time commenting here. haha.

  4. enc

    2008-10-24 at 12:46 AM

    I can’t wait to see what you get with your twenty bucks.

  5. hek

    2008-10-24 at 12:58 AM

    My boyfriend makes fun of me everytime I say it (I say it quite often I think..), “Money can’t buy style” 🙂

  6. Natalie

    2008-10-24 at 1:34 AM

    It’s a good idea, I think you’d be surprised how much you get out of it! I self imposed a shopping ban for a month, its a long story, I blogged about it
    But I definitely shop differently now

  7. KD

    2008-10-24 at 1:35 AM

    oooh, I can’t wait! The outfits posted here are fabulous, of course.

  8. michelle

    2008-10-24 at 2:04 AM

    I love shopping at second hand stores, I once got three outfits for $20
    another day I found a red suede jacket for $14 and a new leather Jacket for $19

  9. estelle

    2008-10-24 at 3:08 AM

    yes, i was appalled about the Palin clothing spend too. A definite disconnect in the Republicans’ strategy of targeting the ‘average Joe’. I get that the stakes are high, but it’s a bit of a public relations disaster! There’s a cute article at about how difficult it is to spend that kind of money, especially when you’re not allowed to buy any party dresses. it is a fun read!

  10. Yuko Kanai

    2008-10-24 at 3:17 AM

    SF?!?!?! I live in the suburbs of SF! if it isn’t too creepery, you should set up some sort of cafe meet-up so we can tell you how much we love you in person…and I was appalled as well about the palin spending…apparently it is quite legal but it could have been put to better use. besides, i heard palin’s daughter uses fake LV bags mahaha.

  11. Brigadeiro

    2008-10-24 at 4:11 AM

    Wow, if Kym (above) from hadn’t pointed out, I wouldn’t have read your header (shows how observant I am), it’s funny, as I used that quote in my blog too! 🙂
    Great post! Wow $20! Will be v. interesting to see what outfits you come up with! I’m sure it’ll be amazing 🙂 Luckily San Fran will have amazing op/vintage-shopping!

  12. Anonymous

    2008-10-24 at 4:41 AM

    Well said Susie, inasmuch as I seriously disliked Sarah Palin and still loath the idea of her in office, I feel sort of sad that she was dragged into the race by the filty rich and connected to corruption McCain. I mean what on earth was he doing choosing her? I agree with you that for the money that was spent on those clothes you sure can’t tell by looking. I hate that all she wears is black and brown. I used to complain about Hillarys pantsuits OMG I love the pantsuits by comparison. I LOVE Hillary
    Thank god the polls show Obama winning.
    Your $20 challenge in SF sounds like it will be very interesting. If anyone can do it well you can:) Can’t wait to see pics.
    Love your site always so artistic and good writing and funny too
    the crafty cameleon in california

  13. arline Jernigan

    2008-10-24 at 4:53 AM

    Egregious is the word that comes to mind. I am trying to quell my visceral disgust about that amount of money dropped on her pre election wardrobe. urgh, yuck and…. she takes a deep breath.
    We all love clothes, and appreciate the messages and power that can be conveyed through creative styling, but give me a break. In this economy, and the state of affairs in the US, I can not help but be appalled. I too love to spend money on clothes, but there is a difference, I am not trying to manipulate a situation via the way I look, and I doubt you or any of your other readers are either. Also, I agree that none of her outfits were stunners.
    Anyway, enough said on that…
    Your outfits are adorable! I like the challenge. I have been thrifting more lately too, and working with what I have.
    It does not have to be a hardship to cutback, in fact, it can open the potential for more creativity, which is always a great thing.
    Thank you
    (sorry about the rant)

  14. Cammila

    2008-10-24 at 5:35 AM

    You’re just killing me with that adorable tutu skirt. And I love the premise in general. Part of the (bogglingly complicated) credit crunch is the result of a culture of spending, where people have been putting themselves into awful debt with no concept of what that negative net value will mean to their longterm future. And I know, believe me! I’m a 27 year old gainfully employed adult and I don’t have a credit card — not even for emergencies — because I just cannot. be. trusted. I’d be declaring bankruptcy in 10 minutes. Even as it is, my boyfriend is always rolling his eyes at how much I spend on clothes.
    So anyway, what this rambling comment is getting at is that you’ve kicked major ass at this challenge. It’s good to practice restraint every once in a great while.
    Also: I promise I would agree that Sarah Palin dresses like a Midwestern schoolteacher even if I didn’t hate everything else about her.

  15. Songy

    2008-10-24 at 8:58 AM

    That Palin woman doesn’t do a thing right for me. There she is preaching small town values and average Joes. I hope these small town people find out how un-small townish she is. Then again these people think she is some sort of holy God so …
    Love the idea of your $20 challenge. Shouldn’t be too hard I reckon. With your keen sense you will find some really interesting stuff no doubt. Have a good one. Can’t wait to see your SF adventure. I’ve been writing about Seoul Fashion Week for the past few days and I wonder if you’d still think whether to partake next time around? ;P

  16. tommy

    2008-10-24 at 9:23 AM

    I feel a bit guilty now as I’m having some ventresca tuna for breakfast while catching up on your posts. Anyway have a good time in SF!

  17. ashmaffick

    2008-10-24 at 10:42 AM

    those tights worn with the tutu skirt are amazing! where are they from?
    (to be totally supificial and diregard awful palin)

  18. rollergirl

    2008-10-24 at 1:27 PM

    The thing is Susie, although you don’t deny yourself anything, I do think you only buy things you love and you wear them to death so for me that is different from just frittering money away pointlessly.

  19. nycgal

    2008-10-24 at 3:41 PM

    sarah palin pales in comparison to the campaign money obama is spending–so far he’s spent over $420 million dollars. now that could buy you a lot of clothes.

  20. Anonymous

    2008-10-24 at 3:54 PM

    Whatever, Susie. I guess Barack Obama’s fleet of Burberry suits and mansion in Hyde Park and Michelle Obama’s 439 dollar lobster/caviar/champagne room service “snack” at the Waldorf Astoria don’t interest you. And that’s fine, because I have no idea what Gordon Brown nor your Royals are wearing lately and I really don’t care because it’s none of my business, being an American, not a Brit.

  21. miss woo

    2008-10-24 at 5:52 PM

    The 20 dollars challenge sounds fantastic, I’m looking forward to what gems you will unearth!

  22. lady coveted

    2008-10-24 at 5:58 PM

    i love being an expat during a presidential election. 😉
    since i’ve been out of work, i’ve totally gone down the budget route for putting outfits together… it really hasn’t stopped me any, except i’d really like to buy a new pair of shoes… like new ones, not vintage, and a couple of pairs of tights.
    i’d like to…
    in reality, i have a million pairs of shoes, and tights…. i dont NEED new ones.
    cant wait to see what you come up with!
    dont’ forget to go to painted bird… seriously…
    they have tons of great finds under $20…

  23. Helen-LG

    2008-10-24 at 6:01 PM

    Echoing rollergirl on this one – if it’s something you love and wear to death it’s an investment. Having said that I’ve never lost my student-ish habits of being stringent with my spending (some would say my wardrobe reflects this I’m sure!) but I do occasionally splurge on something knowing it’s worth it.
    Good luck on your $20 challenge. I’ve occasionally pulled off the ¬£10 outfit (once inc. shoes! …Although the wearing to death of those didn’t take very long!) and it’s always immensely satisfying if you manage it. Good luck & I look forward to the show of your results!

  24. Charlotte

    2008-10-24 at 7:10 PM

    I’ve read the article…and I’m just asking myself, why did they spend 150,000 for Palin’s clothes? They don’t look like beeing worth 150,000 Dollar! (I’m not sure, if there are clothes outside, looking like this amount…)

  25. Make Do Style

    2008-10-24 at 8:15 PM

    good luck will be v interested in outcome!

  26. Janavi

    2008-10-24 at 8:21 PM

    The whole Palin thing is soooo offensive, especially since they have been trying to portray her as a soccor Mom. I can’t wait for this whole thing to be OVER!!! She will probably end up with a talk show. Really like the idea of your $20 challenge- that’s pretty much the way I live.

  27. Fajr

    2008-10-24 at 8:32 PM

    Palin in herself is offensive and i think it’s good every once in awhile to budget just for the heck of it. Great ensembles!

  28. emm

    2008-10-24 at 8:56 PM

    To nycgirl and the one after, I believe Susie’s point is Palin spent an awful lot of money on clothes and STILL looks like hell. Did you see the horrific ensemble of above the knee skirt with black leather boots?? Also, why is a Brit not allowed to comment on US affairs? I mean, Americans have something to say about the ways every other country functions.

  29. Anonymous

    2008-10-24 at 9:01 PM

    I don’t agree with Palin as a VP choice; however, I don’t judge her according to how stylish she is. Also, I agree with someone else on the board who said that Obama has spent a lot of money as well. In terms in fashion, I would wager that Obama’s suits aren’t cheap as well.

  30. floraposte

    2008-10-24 at 9:19 PM

    Good luck with your challenge. Yes now is the time to budget unfortunately though I have never been one of those who let rip without thought during the so-called boom. It just makes shopping a more interesting challenge!
    On the topic of the appalling Palin check this out if you get the chance:

  31. Anonymous

    2008-10-24 at 9:34 PM

    emm: Who said a Brit is not allowed to comment? I just said I don’t care about the Royals’ excesses, just as Susie doesn’t seem to care about anyone’s excesses unless they are Republicans. Maybe there will be another post critiquing the excesses and style missteps of various Democrats forthcoming? Nancy Pelosi, perhaps? You see, that is where the hypocrisy lies.

  32. wana s

    2008-10-24 at 11:17 PM

    loove your color combinations and the way you make them work.. veree young and out there… smiles…

  33. Nicole

    2008-10-25 at 12:41 AM

    If you only want to make 20$ outfits, don’t go near Haight street, because you will be tempted to make 200$+ outfits!!(if you decide to make 200$+ outfits then go to decades of fashion which is the best vintage clothing store on the ENTIRE earth, and Ive been to quite a few wonderful vintage stores all over!!! This place actually has walls of each decade, the prices aren’t steals, but they are fair. I got this coat there on Monday
    I would say to stick to the mission 18th and mission hat thrift town (I found a full length fur coat there for 1$, but this place is really about timing) and Id say by the pound which is on the corner of 16th and Valencia, which by the name means weighted. You would just have to make a light outfit at that store hahah.

  34. susie_bubble

    2008-10-25 at 12:42 AM

    Ok ok… head is still reeling a little as I’ve just landed in San Fran and am slowly catching up with comments… I’m normally very hesitant about talking about politics and just to note, the POINT of the post was about recession/credit crunching and my own personal demons about such a situation…
    BUT…. if I must, I will divulge and explain… I am an Obama supporter and I’m making no bones about it…. if that offends some people because of differing opinions, then so be it… divides do have to be made.
    So yes, I’m not ashamed to say that I don’t think much of Sarah Palin… her spending $150,000 doesn’t particularly offend me…her entire persona and reasoning, rhetoric however just doesn’t sit well with me… but that’s a whole other kettle of fish…
    Her spending $150,000 on her wardrobe and her family’s clothes was just a point used here to go with the theme of the post. It’s a not a heinous crime to spend so much for her campaign… but it is particularly hypocritical in her case considering the way she has handled the campaign.
    Obama spending MORE on his campaign is also a well known fact but since I am a supporter, he can go right ahead if it means getting to the White House – I’m sorry, I’m not sitting on the fence about this one… that is my own personal opinion and I of course welcome others who don’t feel the same way and why should we all sit here and agree with each other and stroke each other’s imaginary beards. Let’s get it out in the open and agree to disagree…. this is the CRUCIAL time to be opinionated and divided….
    I only apologise for having brought political stances into a fashion blog…. but then I’ve never posted in a way that all posts EXCLUSIVELY revolve around fashion. It is only me writing this blog and I am a rounded person, being interested in a plethora of things other than fashion so it is hard not to let these things slip in once in a while.
    I am BLATANTLY biased towards one candidate over the other and I’m not going to lie about it… what’s the point?
    Though if we are going to be particular and specific… the $150,000 was a headliner and it sticks out ONLY because I’m baffled as to WHAT she bought to incur such a figure… purely from the perspective of a regular shopper. It’s a numbers game… just trying to figure it out as I’m confident than Jaeger/Jigsaw etc would probably buy the exact same things for far less…
    Re: Brits commenting on American politics – it affects everyone globally, it’s an open forum blah blah blah…we’re ALl talking about it…. it is a poignant issue for everyone to get involved in…
    The leggings are KTZ….

  35. MichelleB

    2008-10-25 at 12:48 AM

    Even with cutting back on the budget though, you can find good deals. Me and my boyfriend attended the opera and I had to look good for the event without going over my budget. So I found a gorgeous diamond necklace from to go with my outfit and it was really glamorous and I felt really chic that night and stayed within my budget.

  36. Anonymous

    2008-10-25 at 1:12 AM

    It’s totally anyone’s right if they want to offend a huge portion of the public and write them off as stupid and backwards, but the fact is, there are a lot of conservatives/Republicans “out there.” It is well known that the fashion industry is almost 100 per cent liberal, but the buying public IS NOT, and the fashion industry, among others, is ticking off potential customers. Because contrary to popular belief, we do not all shop at Sears or Walmart, otherwise, why would I read fashion blogs? In the last two US elections about fifty per cent of the votes were for the Republican candidate, and women cast many of those votes. It’s just a bit immature and short-sighted, in my opinion, to parrot the latest DNC talking points, when there is so much at stake. Disposable income is going to take a sharp dive if Obama gets his way with the tax code, as the stock market is already signalling. It is going to be tight times for the fashion industry, because when the wealth is “spread around,” there won’t be any wealth. Period. Unless you’re a government elite; they’ll always get theirs.

  37. Janavi

    2008-10-25 at 1:22 AM

    I totally disagree with you- you don’t even make sense!!!!!

  38. Janavi

    2008-10-25 at 1:26 AM

    I am referring to previous, unsigned comment.

  39. susie_bubble

    2008-10-25 at 2:11 AM

    To anon: When did I EVER accuse Republicans as backwards or stupid…. or say you guys all shop at Sears/Walmart (I don’t even know what the connontations are with those stores anyway seeing as I’m British…) I acknowledged a difference of opinion, that is all….

  40. Janavi

    2008-10-25 at 2:32 AM

    Sears & Walmart are very cheap stores, probably on the level of Primark { I think that’s the name] A lot of people do shop at these stores.

  41. Anonymous

    2008-10-25 at 2:41 AM

    Well, I’m a little mad, obviously, because I think the criticism has been extremely one-sided in the media and elsewhere. So, really, if you aren’t up on Sears and Walmart, two of the most stalwart retail icons of the United States, then do you really have enough knowledge of our culture to be piling on Governor Palin? Obviously not.

  42. michelle

    2008-10-25 at 2:52 AM

    Sears is actually a bit more higher end, offering clothing lines from Liz Claiborn and Nygard. But they do make a store brand that is cheaper. But not as cheap as walmart.
    Alot of people shop at walmart, so much that Sears stocks are down. People are finding it too expenisive. But $200 dollars for a Ralph Lauren Jacket is not that bad to me. But people [where I am from] want the designer names at walmart prices.

  43. Janavi

    2008-10-25 at 4:02 AM

    Walmart, which is extremely profitable [the family has billions] doesn’t give health insurance to it’s employees, so they have to go to clinics paid for by taxpayers. I also think there was something about employing illegals to clean at below minimum wage. Stalwart retail icon???? Are you for real????
    The whole Palin thing is extremely disturbing to anyone with half a brain, including even some Republicans.

  44. Aja

    2008-10-25 at 8:12 AM

    Blank you are a coward and a half. I love when you republicans come out here on fashion blogs and try and throw your weight around. Guess what? No one in the fashion world cares what you think. The rest of the world DOES NOT look to middle America as a pillar of fashion forwardness and trend making. As a matter of fact, about 50% of America (and I am American) is generally late to the fashion party, if they bother to come and all! And that’s not a generalization coming from someone who’s lived of both sides of the pond. If one more effin’ person in the US tries to rant on and on to me about how cool topshop is, I’m going to scream (that ship has sailed, people). Once upon a time, we were the laughing stock of the rest of world for dressing outdated. . . but with our last eight years of political debauchery, who has time to look at our clothes!
    Back to the original point. I like what Susie is saying here. One of my problems with Sarah Palin (one of MANY) is that she tries sooooooooooo hard to pretend like she’s you and me. Do you or I have $150,000 to blow on clothes? Don’t think so! And guess what? Obama may blow that same amount on clothes but he doesn’t go around tooting his own horn playing the humble, middle america card. In his last debate when he talked about health insurance, he said “I want you to be able to have the same health insurance that Senator McCain and I have access to”. He’s acknowledging the differences in America instead of trying to sweep it under the rug. Tyra Banks should have Sarah Palin on her show. They can take turns trying to see who can be the most relateable.

  45. Chic Looks

    2008-10-25 at 10:59 AM

    I love the outfit with the gold leggings, cant wait to see what you come up with for $20…

  46. Janavi

    2008-10-25 at 1:38 PM

    And this is the first time a campaign has paid for a candidate’s clothing!
    Brava Aja!!!!

  47. Ana

    2008-10-25 at 3:40 PM

    Where are the amazing tights from?

  48. violetville

    2008-10-25 at 4:55 PM

    the $20 outfit idea is fabulous, you should have others participate and email pics, i would love to see what everyone come ups with. it’s like street style + economy crunch. $10 including shoes is like extra credit, that seems really tough!
    (p.s. – $0.01 ebay dress?! nice.)

  49. Nicole

    2008-10-25 at 4:57 PM

    Aja you said it better than I ever could have said it, and Susie, you are right, this election (or anything in our country that happens for that matter) directly effects everyone in the world! Thats what Americans have trouble with (most likely Republicans), they don’t think they are part of a greater whole, Americans are very selfish (and yes I am unfortunately American, so I can speak on behalf of others)

  50. Leah Holden

    2008-10-25 at 6:41 PM

    how do you get so cheap things on ebay!????
    0.01p i am amazed, please email me the secret

  51. lady coveted

    2008-10-25 at 7:45 PM

    wow.. the comments are really heated here…
    it’s all interesting to read, what the fashion conscious are thinking about sarah palin, who’s said to be a style icon this year. as for knee high boots with above the knee skirts with pantyhose? yikes, it wasn’t a good look in the 90’s and it’s not a good look now.
    on a more political note…it really saddens me to know that there are americans who don’t think our politics have any effect on the entire world. i mean, watch the news for 5 seconds, and anyone can see that.
    aannnnd on a cheekier note, and why i came back to this post, was i just found this article about the highest paid person of the mccain camp… none other than sarah palin’s makeup artist
    heheh how can someone spend $22,500 on makeup in 2 weeks? oh lord….

  52. Janavi

    2008-10-25 at 8:18 PM

    These people make a fortune!!!!!

  53. Sister Wolf

    2008-10-25 at 8:20 PM

    1. Fashion is political, like it or not.
    2. Mrs. Palin had demonstrated her hypocricy by accepting the $150,000 wardrobe. Then, she compounds the insult by pretending they had always planned to “send it back” or give it to charity.
    This blunder, both style-wise and politically, is a HUGE deal here in the US. Kudos to Susie for picking up on it.
    If you’re looking for a blogger with no point of view, there is no shortage of them out there.
    Carry on, Susie B!

  54. Huh?

    2008-10-25 at 10:48 PM

    Are you kidding? They ALL try to play the humble middle America card. That’s why Palin is trying to be the soccer mom and Obama kept having to explain his background and assure people he is just like them. Regarding the 150,000, Palin is damned if she looks good and damned if she doesn’t. I don’t think she can win either way. Nevertheless, I don’t think I would trust her as our VP.

  55. Aja

    2008-10-26 at 1:37 AM

    Huh, Obama may play the humble middle America card with his background but he doesn’t act like he’s still right there with us. Palin plays that ALL THE TIME. It’s super lame and really old.

  56. person

    2008-10-28 at 5:35 PM

    hate to say it, but:
    i’m sure john mccain has a similar clothing budget.

  57. HelOnWheels

    2008-10-28 at 8:37 PM

    Fashion IS political. Spending $150,000 that’s NOT YOUR OWN on a wardrobe that still makes you look like trailer trash, while insisting that you’re thrifty and one of the “common people”, makes me want to puke. How can any of you Americans argue for these hypocrites when Palin spends $150,000 on clothes and Cindy McCain shows up at the RNC in a $300,000 outfit??? Who’s the elitist: Those two witches or Michele Obama who went on The View wearing a $200 off-the-rack dress??!!! It’s disgusting! Neither Michele nor Obama himself have spent anywhere near that amount on clothes. And they sure as hell didn’t spend the money from the campaign!! I haven’t heard the Obamas spending $22,000 in two weeks on a makeup artist. What, Palin is thrifty only when she’s spending $150,000 of taxpayer money? For about 1/15th of that Trinny & Susannah (Stacey and Clinton for us in the USA) could have made her look better, in a mainstream way.

  58. Aja

    2008-10-29 at 3:14 PM

    Palin’s only thrifty when she’s spending her own money. “I mean who cares about those silly taxpayers and their $35k a year salaries. I need my $3,000 a day make up artist”. 🙂

  59. ziggy91

    2008-12-05 at 4:32 AM

    You are amazingly beautiful!!!

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