where i am + what i can afford

ever since i was a kid, i have been reading fashion magazines (even late copies of U.S. seventeen magazines) and just absorb all the fashion in it. i’d take in all the details in editorials and try to emulate them in real life. i was not born rich and did not grow up rich so we always had to make do with what we have. i am not saying that we couldn’t afford good shoes or clothes too as special occasions do call for special clothes but growing up, we always had the ‘i can do that’ attitude. we’d admire a piece of accessory and if it’s too expensive, we’d tend to say, ‘well, i can make my own anyway.’ it may not be apparent now that i know how to make my own accessories but i’ve had far too many DIY projects while in school to save me. my mom and aunts have introduced us to ukay-ukay (thrifting) and scouring our lola’s old closets at a very young age that we learned to admire quality clothing and materials over synthetic ones found at the malls or retail shops. my dad has also instilled in us the value of saving up for what we want so we have grown to pay in cash and not by plastic.

i am writing this after reading my favorite Philippine fashion magazine, Preview. although they occasionally do features on outfits that cost less than a thousand or have recently done a feature on department store buys, most of the items and products they print all cost above P1000. they have bags or shoes that cost P10,000 – P500,000 and i always am at awe at how people in a third-world country can afford this. i say i am lucky for having had sufficient values on money growing up, but i fear for the other girls like me (yes, the ones in the middle class) who desperately want to attain such luxurious items. i believe credit cards were created for the middle class only so we can ‘seemingly’ afford what we really can’t by having the ‘virtual’ purchasing power even when we don’t have the actual money for it. 
oh no, i am not against those Filipinos who can afford Louis Vuitton, Hermes or Chanel. if they can afford it and can easily shell hundreds of thousands without fearing for their lives and worrying about not being able to eat or afford fare to work, then i am happy for them. i will not deny that i dream of being in that state one day. i will also not stop subscribing to Preview just because they print uber-expensive items because i have learned to use my envy and channel it the best way i know how, to use these items as inspiration. all i am saying is if we can’t afford it, let’s make do with what we have. i am perfectly happy conquering ukay-ukay (thrift) shops for all my clothes all for less than P300, buying my ballet flats and flat sandals in SM department store for only P500 and accessories at the shops downtown and i will continue to save up for the P2000 high-heeled platforms that i spotted at CMG (until i can afford it!). 

mixed-print dress – thrifted
purple blazer – linea italia (borrowed from charm)
tan cut-out heels – le donne (gifted from harry)
white braided double belt – pratunam, bangkok

Follow vanilla ice cream


  1. Ann says:

    right on sister!=)


  2. DaMnViXeN says:

    being in style doesnt need to have the right tags, just the right attitude and timing will suffice ^^

    The ViXeN's LaiR


  3. aizkim says:

    so true. I am also never the one to splurge on clothes worthy of a thousand meals for the poor. If I happen to own branded clothes or accesories, that would be gifts from richer relatives! Carrying hundreds of thousands worth of LV wallet causes me too much anxiety. Fashion should never be about the price, but how one expresses his or her individuality. Go girl…you're an inspiration. And for that, you've got all my love. Mwah!


  4. Having good taste and an awesome style does not require loads of credit cards and a stash of cash. I love your style and I love how you grew up in a humble manner 😀 I too grew up the same way like you, saving up and feeling secure instead of blowing paychecks on designer items. Recently, I started to notice how celebs like “vintage” things and they go to malls to buy these synthetic “vintage” clothing.

    But, go you! 😀


  5. Roan says:

    I saw a 1M-something LV bag in Preview once (the issue w/ Georgina Wilson on the cover, I think) and I died. I was like “This is effin' ridiculous!” Hahaha. Then Radioactive Sago Project's album named 'P*******a Maraming Nagugutom sa Mundo Fashionista Ka Pa Rin' came to mind. XD

    I saw a vintage Jean-Paul Gaultier shoulder bag at a local thrift shop. It's sold for around 400php, I think. I wonder why I didn't buy it. Ah, I went beyond my 500php budget on ukay-ukay that day haha.

    Have a good day!


  6. mario jr says:

    sometimes I really get frustrated or have a WTF (Forgive me ha..c:) screaming moment whenever i see uber- expensive items that is featured in the magazines. Sometimes it really frustrates me na muingun ko na di nako ganahan mupalit ug Preview or any mags oi..haha. But I learned slowly that being fashionable doesnt have to equate big price. Im not very much obsessed with fashion (I only enjoy it) and all those so- called “investments”. Im not angry to those who can afford either. In fact, it motivates me further..hehe

    and oh, I love ukay ukays cuz they're the best. I snagged a vintage Thierry Mugler blazer there..:D I seldom buy at malls now.. Great post Gizelle. Maka inspire kaayu..:)


  7. Gosh…probably this is the best post I've ever read.. I feel the same situation as you feel. I didnt born rich either but I thank God that my parents still can afford things for our life..
    Yeah, sometime I feel a bit jeaolous for those who can afford branded things, but I keep in my mind I can look as good as them by wearing my cheap and thrifted findings..hahahahaha
    but, maybe someday after I work of course, I can afford something branded and timeless… 🙂


  8. Gela says:

    exactly, Gizelle! altho, i still do wish i had the money to be able to splurge on whatever i wanted, but like you, i believe that looking good doesn't have to be downright expensive all the time. 😀

    boat ride through the sky


  9. Meream says:

    'tis why I never read them fashion magazines in the first place. 🙂

    And oh, what shoes are you saving for? I envy you and your heel-wearing skills. 🙂


  10. E says:

    I love the mix of colors and textures in this look – the bracelets, the dress – they all work wonderfully together.


  11. gillian says:

    I totally agree with you Gizelle! Sometimes it's not in the price-tag when it comes to clothing but how you re-invent a certain style to become your own! after-all a thousand dollar bag does not define your sense of style! 🙂 Although it does not hurt to have one of those dream bags someday! haha cheers!



  12. ching says:

    i remembered when I was a kid I only read comics and those Witch series. haha


  13. Sweet says:

    This is such a very inspiring post Gizelle…I am already through with plastics and it gave me a valuable lesson so now I am totally trying to limit my purchases, i am just glad that King is here to stop me.

    I am with you about thrifted finds…I love those especially now that I am in Bangkok even though I may admit I also buy stuff from big retail shops when they are on sale or if I really am in love with something. I guess that is the point of me, working my ass off.

    I saved up for my first luxury purchase and it feels rewarding and we have the same ideals in life as well. I can totally relate to this…



  14. Eunice says:

    great post! Its definitely not about the price of the clothes, its how you carry it off at whatever budget, be it high end designer or thrifts!
    love your dress!



  15. like your heels..


  16. Claud says:

    I feel you. There's nothing wrong with buying big brands especially if one can afford it but sometimes I think the whole thing can be too superficial, bordering on indifference. And it doesn't mean it's branded, it's good and worth the price. Nuh-uh. Plus, I refuse to be fooled by marketing strategies. Hihi.


  17. april says:

    true yapee.. when i think of “fashion”, i think of you.. im amazed on how u can carry an outfit and make it work…and i want to confess something..nyahah! about the preview mag, i bought 2 copies, and then i stopped.. coz it seems like theyr telling me that FASHION = EXPENSIVE.. nyahha! =) anywayz.. i love this blog so much..


  18. Kim says:

    I really love your outfit !! Great dress and those shoes look great on you!


  19. Niviarsiaq says:

    I love what you just wrote so much!!! I can totally indentify with that. I also grew up in a generally poor house. With 10 siblings the money definately had to go pretty far in our family!! But we've always tried our best to find good deals, be creative, and look nicer than our income would generally dictate. We are still not the richest house on the block (so-to-speak) but through years of hard work I think anyone will improve something about their life! And we have had some serious changes!
    Thanks for writing this! It reminds me to always stay grounded!! You are amazing and your blog is fabulous lady!!


  20. dred says:

    oh yeah amen to that dear! you couldn't have said it any better. cheers to ukay!

    and i'd die for that dress. i can totally see it in my closet. 🙂

    and your hair color is getting lovelier each day. xx



  21. Shibby says:

    Awesome post! I wish I could make more of my own stuff but I just dont have the time or patience and thankfully there are a lot of places to by things cheaply here 🙂


  22. Alex says:

    Well said Gizelle! It scares me how much people are happy to spend on clothes and accessories. I don't think I own anything that cost more than about £75 and even then I agonise over spending that much!


  23. Mode Junkie says:

    you always speak my mind. always.

    anyway, love your dress babe! i miss ukay ukay!!

    xoxo Mode Junkie


  24. Beautiful dress!


  25. Hannah says:

    You're living proof that it's possible to look good on a budget. This is a very cute outfit.


  26. well, you've said it all. I also don't understand why magazines choose expensive items to feature. Why are there readers all Jinky Pacquiao or ayalas and zobels? Lol.
    Maybe we could make our own magazine!!! haahha we could pay tribute to our favorite shop in the whole world–ukay!!!:)


  27. maggeygrace says:

    mmm I'm loving your dress. All the colors/patterns are SO crazily me 🙂 I love it. And your blazer! Bah! I need a neutral one so badly!


  28. elle says:

    First of all; love the outfit, and the affordable means you created your ensemble makes it even more fabulous!
    Though at times I crave a bit of these expensive brands, it's definitely wise to spend according to how much you earn, and to acquire a good saving habits. I'm perfectly content browsing through thrift shops; and believe it or not, I'm excited to hit the ukay ukay shops when I finally go back to the Phil. more than the shopping centers 🙂 I feel like it's so much more of an adventure!


  29. Lisa says:

    I totally agree with your view on credit cards. Too many people get themselves in trouble by living outside of their means!

    I love fashion but it's really nothing more than inspiration for my own DIY projects. And in the end, I think making things on your own (or discovering a unique piece in a thrift shop!) is more satisfying 🙂


  30. Melai says:

    I love your message Gizelle. I'm totally one with you on this 🙂 I also do not spend on anything beyond 2k and I think it will stay that way even though the time comes that i am able to afford chanel or lv. Hahaha. Mwuah! Always love your outfit posts and your entry 🙂

    Melai of Style and Soul


  31. cherie says:

    i love this post and agree that style doesnt need to be expensive 😉 sometimes i do get greeneyed though when i see luxury items on magazines but ukay ukay beats out the rest of 'em everytime.


  32. vdcouture says:

    awesome!! that blazer is super cool!!



  33. Lee says:

    Very well said, I LOVE this post <3

    Lee [spunkandglam.blogspot.com]


  34. Ella says:

    The blazer and the big chunky ring, hello georgeous!


  35. sharonlei says:

    What a great post Gizelle. I think you definitely don't need to spend a lot to look fabulous. It's all about the fit of a garment, so even it only cost a few dollars and you look great it in, you'll feel like a millon bucks! 😀

    The one thing I don't mind splurging on though (and by splurge, I mean between $100 – $200) is a great pair of shoes. I'm obsessed with them.

    Hope you're having a wonderful day sweetie. Not sure if you saw my current giveaway, but come enter if you haven't already!!

    xx Love & Aloha


  36. thank you so much for visiting!
    i'm so sorry for the late reply >.< I love your heels!
    and your lavender blazer is lovely
    I want one!
    not to mention that awesome red ring
    you look amazing



  37. AMEN to that,guapa. ^^
    BTW superhighway! nalain ko sa mga sapatos nga imo gi TAG nako. ;(
    huhuhuhu naay clog gwaps? wa nako nata.aw tarong kay nag dali2 ko gabii ^^

    have a fantabulous tuesday!



  38. Lovelyyy dress, hon! ❤


  39. This comment has been removed by the author.


  40. My dear, we are in the same boat. I wonder the same things as well. Then again, it all boils down to the all essential INCOME. Haha 🙂

    <3 from your fellow Cebuana,


  41. Mara says:

    you look so great! I love all your accessories and those shoes are amazing. very pretty!


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