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Break the Rules, Not the Bank: Poetic Thrift

In spite of having precious little culinary ability (or maybe because of that), I have an unfaltering loyalty to TV cooking shows. I don’t mean the instructive kind where Bobby Flay is at the grill or Paula Deen’s licking butter off her palms. I’m talking about those competitive reality shows where contestants cook within a set of rules or parameters—oftentimes given a box of seemingly unrelated ingredients—and create amazing recipes from there.

While my talents in the kitchen still haven’t kicked in, these TV programs had me ruminating on the importance of knowing how to work with what you've got.

Why not apply this same line of thought to how we transition our summer wardrobes into fall? With the temperature dipping chillier each day, many of us have started packing our warm-weather clothing into storage and heading to the store to purchase a batch of autumn clothes. But, who says we can't keep wearing our summer clothes year round?

While it feels counter-intuitive to reach for a sleeveless dress in 60 degree weather, layering creatively and confidently (and especially quirkily!) can open a wide array of unforeseen options. Layering is a haphazard, inexact science, and that's the fun of it.

We’ve all heard the hackneyed expression that “necessity is the mother of invention."  But, as usual, G.K. Chesterton says it even better: “Thrift is poetic because it is creative.”


Summer Staple white dress

Utilizing your off-season clothes does wonders to a bank account. Think of all the money you could save for school books, bike rentals for fall excursions, or, at least in my case, some badly-needed cooking classes.

chill out music

Courtney Kampa

the bachelor, reality show

Courtney Kampa is from Virginia, and has an MFA from Columbia University. Her poetry has received awards from

The Atlantic


Poets & Writers Magazine


North American Review

, and elsewhere. She has worked as a writer for

Seventeen Magazine

, lobbied at the United Nations, and modeled for Levis Jeans.