Spring break is just around the corner, and what better reason to prepare the fashion arsenals for fun, sun, and freedom? Whether or not you'll be heading to a beachy destination, Spring Break represents the beginning of an era: it's a time when the weather warms up, the end of school is near, flirtatious vibes abound, and puppies seem to appear on every street corner. Many people fall in love during this impeccable season of bloom and delight.

In this post, I've put together a short guide to getting the clothes you need to make the most of this spring break while still saving some of your money for things that matter most, like food and fun with friends. As important as clothing is, what's more important is being able to love yourself just as you are and to afford the freedoms that make you happy.

A really great way to approach spring break is to rejuvenate what you already have. I encourage people to do this often and always. We usually have a lot of stuff sitting around our closets and it seems stale over time, but with careful maneuvering and clever tactics, we can make a phoenix rise from the ashes. There are a few ways to do this. First, you have to clean out your closet. I could get deep into the details of this, but I'll save that for another post. Just get rid of a few things and clean it up. This is your blank canvas. Now look through what you already have and be creative: try new pairings of various items, and match different accessories with different outfits. From this process alone, you'll start to generate new outfits.

Next, you can reconstruct some shit. I am a compulsive clothing reconstruction fanatic, and it's resulted in some epic wins and epic fails. You have to be prepared for both. Here's where you should start: find some old shirts that you aren't that into anymore, and get a pair of scissors. Then GO TO TOWN. Cut off sleeves, cut necklines out, cut the bottom of the shirt into fringe. Cut the sleeves into fringe. Cut large armholes on the sides so your bandeau will show through. Cut the sleeves into fringe, cut the back into strips and tie them up. You can get amazing new shirts without so much as even threading a needle. Here is a Pinboard with a few ideas, and I'll leave the searching up to you.

Cutoffs at  Sadiedeluxe

Cutoffs at Sadiedeluxe

Other reconstruction ideas include cutting jeans into shorts (because duh, spring break) and altering dresses by making them shorter or removing sleeves. You can find a kind of wacky dress at the thrift store for around $6 and turn it into a killer beach sheath. Jeans are a dime a dozen at the thrift store and you can make all kinds of cut-offs. Make sure to wash them after you cut so the hems fray nicely.

Getting stylie on a budget means getting creative. Looking for alternative channels of commerce is always a good way to start finding deals. One of my all-time vintage heroines who has created several successful brands over the past several years recently launched an Instagram shop with her man called 20somethingvtg. Here they post sweet vintage scores and nothing is over $30. I recommend following them to keep your eye out for mega-scores that will see you through spring break and beyond. For instance, this outfit is pretty sweet:

photos via  20somethingvtg

photos via 20somethingvtg

Okay, next let's talk about accessories. Accessories are a powerful thing. You can transform entire wardrobes with accessories alone. If you want to really work within your budget, focus on gathering a few new accessories that will spruce up your existing outfits. Jewelry, hats, scarves, shoes, and bags are all excellent ways to get that bohemian flare without doing a major overhaul. For jewelry, seek out long flowy necklaces that can be dressed up or down. Scarves are cheap and lightweight and can be worn around your neck, on your head, or even tied as a bandeau top. Keep your eye out for lovely scarves at thrift stores, boutiques, or any fashion retailer at the mall. Scarves are also great for traveling. Earrings are essential, IMO. For me, earrings make or break. I could be in the most boring outfit in the universe, but if my earrings are killing it, all is well.

NorCal local Claire Fong makes a line of epic, all-leather earrings that are designed for the woman who feels the radiance of cosmic bohemian rainbows in her heart. Claire Fong's collection is versatile and affordable and unique, and you will blow people's minds with these. They're a good way to just buy one thing and not really worry about the rest of your outfit. Plus if you pair them with a bikini and a sunhat, you'll pretty much be ready for anything.

Claire Fong earrings are available through her  Etsy shop , where you can also contact her to custom order particular styles. (Photo: Melanie MacTavish)

Claire Fong earrings are available through her Etsy shop, where you can also contact her to custom order particular styles. (Photo: Melanie MacTavish)

Claire Fong, the designer in her own earrings in Concow, California. Photo by Melanie MacTavish.

Claire Fong, the designer in her own earrings in Concow, California. Photo by Melanie MacTavish.

Finally, we should discuss swimsuits and sandals. Both of these seem like epic essentials for spring break. For sandals, I recommend hitting up stores like Marshall's or Ross to find cute sandals for a lower price. Usually you can find something of decent quality for under $30. If you don't have one of these stores, surely there is something similar. Also, do you live where there is a Buffalo Exchange? If so, start there. Buffalo Exchange always has an extremely high volume of inventory and they price things well. Go there, or somewhere similar, to look for shoes, dresses, and accessories. You can of course also turn to massive retailers like Forever 21, etc., but I'm really trying to steer us away from that for this post. That should be a last resort. Creative brilliance can keep you away from there for a while, at least.

In terms of swimsuits, to stay in your budget you might want to hit up Target, or the aforementioned Forever 21. Target has a really excellent selection of bikinis ranging from Americana dream girl to bohemian beach babe to classic Cape Cod beauty. Pick your poison. If you want to invest in something more special and handmade, I personally love KaiKini (for the booty extremists!) -- it's an all female run and owned operation based in Kauai. It's not really a budget kind of place, but it is high-quality handmade and you get what you pay for. 

via KaiKini

via KaiKini

To recap: go through what you already have and see what you can use. Reconstruct some clothing and make fabulous fringed things with scissors. Accessorize. Buy a pair of bangin' earrings and some big sunglasses and let yourself feel fabulous. Be a smart shopper. Go to high-quality consignment stores to find some unique dresses or sweaters and look for quality over quantity. Budget shopping is an art of finding the best textile for the best buck. Look on Instagram for shops that are beginning to pop-up everywhere. Swap clothes with friends. Buy a bikini you love and that makes you feel like a million bucks. Remember you are beautiful and fashionable and shove the rest of that cash in your purse and use it to buy experiences and delicious food over which you laugh with your favorite friends.

All the love,

Sadie Rose

Sadie Rose is a writer, designer, and shop owner who lives in Paradise, California. Learn more about her here and follow her on Instagram here.

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