The endurance of Free People

The August Free People catalog has been sitting in my room for a while. I tend to sort of ignore their catalogs because their stuff is notoriously the same from season to season and I can never afford it even though it is meant to look like worldly and ethnic stuff collected while backpacking through third-world countries.

The formula works, though, and I decided to flip through this catalog and pick out new and old trends that work and that I can easily rock without shelling out hundreds of bucks toward corporate clothing.

1. Random-ass braids.

This is an old FP standby, which is also pervasive right now. I can get behind this super trendy hair situation because I'm lazy. As long as you have a braid here or there--but not a perfect one, mind you, it must look like it was formed accidentally by the swishing of your locks--your hair can be a fucking rat's nest. I'm off to a good start!

2. Piles of bracelets belonging to other cultures

Basic tee from Walmart? American Eagle jeans? NO PROBLEM. Even your most boring outfit is Free People-worthy if you put on at least 25 ethnic bracelets--those ones we all have from when Aunt Sarah went to Jamaica.

3. Maxi skirt and sweater

Am I the only one who bought an amazing maxi skirt this summer but found it was too fucking hot to wear it? Didn't think so. Thank goodness Fashion decided to cut us a break.

4. Summer dress = Fall dress

In the same vein ... this is actually probably what I love most about Free People. I'm not exactly rolling in dough over here, and the clothes that I own, which include Springy and Summery dresses, never get a break. But they showed me that if you add socks and a sweater, IT'S OKAY to be poor and only own little dresses! Free People is about, well, excess, for one thing, but also quick fixes: neglected hair? Add braids! Bam! Boring outfit? Add every bracelet you own! Bam! Little dresses? Underused maxi skirts? Add sweaters! Bam!

5. The "ethnic" bag

Oh, the ethnic bag. What is there to say? Everyone loves the eclecticism, the cheap chicness, the worldliness, of a bag made by someone brown. People compete with these things. Look at MY ethnic bag that I got in Nevada. Look at MY ethnic bag; it's Tibetan. Why I like them: well, god damnit if they aren't really pretty. And, any street fair. No, really. ANY street fair. You will find one, and it will be twenty bucks. And you will feel as if you have won.

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