5
Ways to Express Your Indie Style

Unique clothes are a great way to indulge your own tastes and express your own creativity.

iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Are you stuck in a fashion rut? Tired of looking like everyone else? Have you spent 95 percent of your clothing budget at the same old stores at the mall? Do you have a lot of khaki in your wardrobe? Is there a repressed design diva lurking inside of you that's just screaming to come out?

If you can answer in the affirmative to any of these questions, it's probably time to start breaking the mold a little bit. You've been an obedient sheep for too long. It's time to go indie.

What does "indie" mean, you ask? Well, it's short for "independent," which basically means independent, alternative non-corporate design. It means indulging your own tastes and expressing your own creativity instead of following trends. Going indie means supporting local artists, incorporating vintage and second-hand products into your home and wardrobe, and thinking outside the box a little in terms of where you spend your money.

It might take a little time and effort to cultivate your indie style. You're not going to find many indie products at the mall or any big-box store. Keeping it small and local is a big part of the whole deal, so you have to do some digging, either online or in local stores. Of course, there's no shortage of expensive ways to go indie -- it'd be pretty easy to empty your wallet on handmade clothes and accessories. But part of the fun of buying independent goods is scoring great deals, finding buried treasure and discovering new designers.

If you need some help getting started, here are five easy jumping-off points into the world of indie style. Enjoy!

 

5: Go Vintage

Unless you're made of money, you probably won't be buying hot-off-the-runway looks from the hippest new indie fashion designers. So, if you want to go indie in the cheapest sense of the word, the first step is to hit up your local thrift stores. For the price of one brand-new handcrafted dress, you could score three vintage dresses, five necklaces and three pairs of stylish second-hand heels -- none of which you'll see on anyone else in town.

 

    4: DIY!

    If you're handy with a needle and thread, there's no better indie designer than you.

    iStockphoto/Thinkstock

    There's absolutely no better indie designer than yourself -- and no more perfect way to ensure that you'll be sporting completely one-of-a-kind items. So, if you're handy with a needle and thread (or have ever wanted to give jewelry-making a try), get cracking! Who knows, you might be able to start your very own indie craft business.

     

    3: Buy Handmade

    Thinking Big

    Etsy was founded in 2005 and by 2010 had yearly revenues of $40 million.

    If you're not the crafty type, don't worry -- there are scores of independent designers and crafters out there who are just dying to help you jazz up your style. Etsy.com is the online mecca for all things handmade: Shoes, pillows, jewelry, candles, T-shirts, prints, ceramics, sweaters ... you name it, someone is selling it on Etsy. Many of the sellers are just one-person operations, so they really appreciate your business.

     

    2: Decorate Your Home

    As you're shopping for your new wardrobe, you'll probably stumble across an astounding array of indie home décor. If you think of your home as a showcase for your creative expression (and who doesn't?), you've just hit pay dirt. Whether it's a pair of old lamps at the second-hand store or a painting by a local artist, you're sure to find something that's perfect for your home -- and doesn't scream "Pottery Barn" or "Bed Bath & Beyond."

     

      1: Branch Out

      Fab Flicks

      These days, you can have independent cinema at your fingertips, any time of day. The Independent Film Channel (if you have it) is a great place to get started, or you could subscribe to a service like Netflix and watch indie films for months on end.

      Once you've dipped a toe into the indie waters, you'll find so many other ways to bring independent creations into your life. Why stop with your clothes and home décor? The Internet (and good old-fashioned word of mouth) can introduce you to an entire new world of independently produced and distributed books and music. And instead of hitting a movie megaplex for the newest blockbuster, head to a small art-house theater and take in an indie release.

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