At Free People’s whopping prices, it’s no wonder the average American woman must deem everything in the store splurge-worthy. As unique and beautiful as many of their pieces are, I’m always disheartened to learn that mere tank tops sometimes cost nearly $70 and their jeans generally run for a couple hundred dollars. Even their hoodies will go for almost $150. But, after experimenting with my own wardrobe, I’ve discovered that you can capture Free People’s artsy, whimsical look for virtually no price at all. Here’s how to pull off their style without spending a cent at their store; in fact, all it takes is a trip to your local thrift shop or even to your own closet:
*Go for vintage: Okay, it doesn’t have to be REAL vintage but it should have the same look. Think distressed jeans, hippie tops, lady-like skirts, knit sweaters, faded tees, and antique-y jewelry—the sort of stuff you would find in Free People’s store. Basically, if it appears like a find from another era, that’s a good thing. Just don’t make the mistake of coming off like you stepped out of a period movie. My own wardrobe boasts influences from multiple eras that I wed in my own way for modern appeal.
*Mix it up: Free People specializes in a thrown-together-last-minute look that’s coolly casual and low-maintenance but not frazzled and totally ignorant of fashion Do’s and Don’ts. Of course, each and every outfit on their mannequins or in their catalogue has been carefully calculated. They layer a mix of different camisoles, tees, long-sleeves, and sweaters with pants and skirts that kind of go together but not quite. To achieve this look, your tops and bottoms should not perfectly match but you should combine colors and textures with an aesthetic sense in mind. I pay particular attention to my profile and overall silhouette. If you’re not careful, all of those layers can “frumpify” you!
*Embrace color: Free People thrives on unusual color schemes. Steer clear of the monochromatic look. Free People doesn’t do all black, for instance, without any colored accessories to break it up. Instead, mix it up but stay within the same color family. For instance, pair dark greens with burgundy or black and gray; try a beige blouse with a turquoise necklace and dark brown pants. But don’t throw together baby pink, royal blue, cardinal red, and mustard yellow all in one outfit or you’ll be embarrassed looking back at photos of yourself five or ten years from now. Trust me.
*Remember to accessorize: A scarf and/or jewelry is a must for the Free People look. With a stack of bangles, a colorful bandana, or a stand-out necklace, you can transform a simple tee with jeans into a groovy outfit. Just don’t go overboard! I tend to let just one eye-popper speak for my style. I wouldn’t pair a giant, colorful scarf with massive hoop earrings and a funky necklace, for instance. I would choose just one of those and tone the rest of the outfit down by wearing more subtle clothes (of course, if I had on really catchy clothes, I would keep the accessories low-key).
For visual examples directly from Free People, visit their website at: http://www.freepeople.com/ You can also subscribe to their catalogue and newsletter online for free. I use their photos just for inspiration!