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How Going Broke Changed My Wardrobe

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    Photographed by Pheobe Chuason.

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    Three years ago, I was on top of the world. I had just paid off — in full — the balance of my student loans, my first novel was about to be published, and I had a thriving freelance career that allowed me enough of an income to not only support myself, but my live-in boyfriend, who I helped put through school as well.

    Then everything came crashing down. The aforementioned boyfriend left me in a loft that I couldn't afford on my own (there should be a special place in hell for New Yorkers who ghost their S.O.s in matters of real estate), my book deal didn't pay out as expected, and my emotional stress was so consuming I couldn't cultivate freelance gigs the way I had in the past.

    Living in denial, I tapped my savings to buy unnecessary luxuries. For me, shopping had always been more than a pick-me-up: Cultivating style was part of my creative expression. At a time when I was feeling so bad, I at least wanted to look good. The problem was, I made some emotionally charged purchases that were not only foolish, but also depleted my already dwindling account balance. But, while I may have lost my money, picking myself up after so many unexpected disappointments taught me invaluable lessons — six, to be exact — along the way.

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  2. Photographed by Atisha Paulson.

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  3. Photographed by Pheobe Chuason.

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  4. Photographed by Claire Pepper.

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  5. Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.

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  6. Photographed by Ingalls Photo.

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