Dear Budget Babe,
I'm constantly amazed at how you can effortlessly find the knock-off of an original. Can you share some tips on how to find a budget version of desired objects?
God knows I wish there was a magic tool I could use, but finding fashions that look alike is just my strange ...hobby, you could say. I was always really good at that children's game Memory; love art history and recognizing works by a given artist; never forget a face - I'm that kind of person.
So I don't usually seek out something that looks like something else, I just browse magazines and stores (online and in person), and when I see two things that resemble one another, I make a mental note and feature it on my blog.
Obviously, certain stores have developed something of a reputation for taking their inspiration from top designers (Forever 21 and to a lesser extent, Topshop, H&M, Target, ASOS). Places like department stores, mall stores such as UrbanOutfitters, and then catalogs such as Newport-News, Spiegel, Victoria's Secret generally just carry some interpretation of the latest trends.
So it's largely a question of being observant and training your eye. Hone in on what you like about a particular item - is it the color? Shape? Texture? Same goes for celebrity styles you like - is it the fit, proportion, or juxtaposition of elements that appeals to you? Then, start clipping images of styles you like. I keep a three ring binder with clear plastic sleeves that I fill with anything and everything that inspires me.
While we're on the subject, I would add that "copying" need not be a dirty word - it's a great way to learn. Great painters copy the masters to hone their skills; great musicians learn to play other people's compositions before improvising and writing their own songs. Go ahead and copy the look of a friend whose style you particularly admire. In time, you'll be able to tweak the formula and develop a style that's all your own.
Got a question for The Budget Babe? E-mail me at info(at)thebudgetbabe.com