Red-hot designer Alexander Wang, this year’s winner of the CFDA Swarovski award for womenswear, is the reigning prince of ’80s punk chic. However, unlike the actual CBGBs denizens we all remember (or at least our older siblings do), his women are rocking $80 t-shirts and $700 boots. So we decided to do a little experiment and try to recreate his look for a few hundred less. While we’re not about to tell you that you can walk out of any one of Brooklyn’s fab secondhand clothing stores looking like you just stumbled off of his runway, in one Saturday afternoon, I did manage to pull together an Alexander Wang-inspired look for under 50 bucks, head to toe. Here’s how.
It all started with my weekly Saturday morning stoop-sale patrol, when I stumbled upon a box of free shoes, two doors down from my building in Fort Greene. In this box I found a great pair of charcoal suede open-toe cut out booties with a stacked heel from Zara, in my size!
Psyched about my sweet score, I set off to 10 ft Single by Stella Dallas in Williamsburg to find the perfect punk-rock chic ensemble to complement the shoes. This place is a wonderland of affordable secondhand clothing. Here I found rack after rack of well-organized vintage from every decade. At first I figured I’d go for the classic Alexander Wang oversized men’s vest, and soon discovered that they have an entire large standing rack dedicated to just that. Out of the corner of my eye though, I saw a pair of black and gold lurex leggings that I think more evoke the designer’s mood of late. Clearly from the ’80s, these bad girls only cost 20 bucks and fit like a glove. With the perfect shoes and shiny leggings taken care of, I decide that the best way to complete the look is with a slouchy tee.
A few blocks away is the Artists and Fleas market, where I find a great booth called Blank NY, which is run by a super-cute Asian girl (the designer), and her two friends. Their merchandise consists of a black, grey and white color scheme with cool, deconstructed details—perfect for the look I’m going for. Here I find a great t-shirt dress with oversized, roll up short sleeves and a zippered, faux chest pocket, very similar to one from Wang’s pre-fall collection. I decide that this dress, belted, would be the perfect complement to my leggings. Originally priced at $48, the top is marked down twice to $25, but super-cute Asian girl’s friend gives it to me for $20.
Now it’s time to accessorize. In need of a belt and possibly a piece of jewelry, I check out J. Love Gift Shop at 485 Myrtle Ave. This is your standard Brooklyn discount odds-and-ends shop, in here you can find everything from leather fanny packs to electronics. Keeping with the punk rock theme, I grab a chunky metal chain (a dog chain?) for 5 bucks that I plan to use as a belt. Inspired by this find, I head to the hardware store down the street for chain links sold by the foot. With 3 feet of black chain and a handy little metal connector, I finish off my outfit with a brand-new bracelet for only $4.47.
Total cost for this look? $49.47. There you have it, proof that you needn’t have a rock star’s income to dress like one.