6 Tips For Looking Fashionable On a Budget

Some of us love to shop and others not so much, but we‘ve all got to wear clothes. Why not look great while not breaking the bank? Here are six tips to getting the fashion wardrobe you want while staying on your budget. Think on it a minute and decide if all was a perfect world, how would I dress?

1. Review what you have

People tend to accumulate and accumulate and hold on to things that are never or rarely used. Take some time and face your closet. First, see the big picture.

  • Do you have a ton of blue things, but no red?
  • What about having 100 t-shirts but no date-worthy clothes?
  • What about shoes?
  • Are they all sandals?
  • Tennis shoes?
  • Do you have pants you never wear because they need ironing?

You’ve already decided how you want your wardrobe to look, so start going through and finding what fits your vision and what doesn’t. Take the pile of things you don’t wear or use and…

2. Sell, trade or toss

If you have nice things you don’t wear or use, consider selling them. Now that you’ve cleaned house and made a few bucks you can see what you are missing!

3.Go Shopping… But Don’t Buy Anything

The best way to define your style is to get clothes on your body. Whether this is spending a day at the mall or at Goodwill, this isn’t a shopping trip but a research trip. Try on trends, a variety of silhouettes, different concepts. Each time you try something on, think:

  • Does it work with my lifestyle?
  • Does it work with the rest of my closet?
  • Does it make me feel good?

Working with your lifestyle means exactly that. Can you wear it to your job? Is it the kind of thing you’d wear on the weekend? Does it have laundry instructions that are realistic for your life and budget? Does it work with the rest of your closet? If you buy these pants will you need to buy new shoes for them? Will that top work only if you buy a slip, a minimizer bra, and a pair of high waist trousers? Even if you hate your current wardrobe, there’s no way you can afford to replace all of it. Pieces you add to your closet should be able to work with what you have but still have the feel of your future wardrobe. A safe bet is to find base colors. For me, black is my base color and silver is my base hardware. I don’t own any brown or navy shoes, I only buy things that work with the shoe wardrobe I currently own. I don’t buy anything that doesn’t work with my current drawer of underpinnings. Little reminders like this will keep you on budget.  No matter your budget, new purchases unless they are bought in an emergency, should make you feel good. A color you like, a fabric that doesn’t make you itch, a style that makes you feel fun or cool or sexy or feminine or svelte, nothing that digs or gaps or feels awkward.

4. Shop the classics

Write down the fashion items that would make up your dream wardrobe. A small closet full of quality clothes that actually fit make you look so much better than a huge closet full of cheap, old, ill-fitting items ever will. Need help on what you want to buy? Stick to classic items and embellish with the trends. For example, for a woman, a classic might be a beautiful black dress, and the trend would be an infinity scarf and statement earrings. For a guy, a great fitting pair of pants and a no-wrinkle shirt matched with a vest or a bow tie embellishment. The classic look depends on your style. I mostly prefer to think of the classics as items that you wear all the time. Items that can last a thousand washings. Items that really pull a lot of your wardrobe together.  Find a base color, a base denim hue, one or two neutrals you like and one or two “signature” colors. Think black, white, dark denim, navy, hot pink, and coral. Brown, cream, grey denim, blush pink, and taupe. Of-course you can vary from this color story, but you’re always looking for items that will work with your signature color story. This isn’t boring, this is creating a signature style. Look at some of the style icons over the past century – they stuck to a core collection of colors, silhouettes, and general styles. Simplifying your style is increasing your budget and increasing your style quotient.

5. Step Outside a Mall… and Outside the Box

Malls encourage spending, malls make you feel that if you leave without a purchase you have failed.. Think because you’re on a budget you can only shop certain stores? Think the best deals are at big-box discount retailers like Marshall’s? Think again! Being stylish on a budget takes time, takes research, and takes ingenuity. And most of this needs to take place outside your standard shopping mall.

6. Buy Less

Stylish people repeat garments and repeat outfits. If you have a simple color palette and a defined personal style, people won’t know if those are the same black ankle pants you wore the other day or not. They won’t care, they will just notice they’re a great fit. You don’t need more than one or two pairs of jeans, one or two pairs of pants. Buy carefully, take care of them, and you can easily wear the same thing multiple times in one week and look stylish every time.

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