I love clothes. They’re one of my weaknesses, which is why I do my best to buy my clothes for free or as next to free as possible. But, fashion trends change all the time so how can you can remain stylish on a budget?
First, it’s important to know what your budget is. If you’re on a super tight budget and cannot afford to purchase new clothes that’s perfectly okay. You just have to work with what you’ve got. So, if you haven’t already figured out your clothing budget, now is the time to do that.
Here are eight ways to stretch your clothing budget all while remaining stylish:
Okay, so this one is obvious – avoid trends because they come and go so fast that you can end up wasting a ton of money on clothing that is outdated before the year-end. But, I also get that sometimes, it’s stylish and fashionable to be trendy – so how do you be trendy without going broke?
Instead of purchasing trendy clothes, purchase trendy accessories like jewelry, scarves, and hats. Unless you can purchase trendy shoes for super cheap, I don’t recommend purchasing shoes that are too trendy.
This way, when the trend is over you’re not having to go out and purchase a whole new wardrobe, you can instead swap out the trendy jewelry or accessories for something else.
I’m a firm believer that all women need to own three basic classic pieces – a strand of pearls, black heels, and of course, a little black dress. But these don’t have to cost a fortune either. You can get a strand of cheap (i.e. fake) pearls that look exactly like the real deal. And black heels are so versatile that you can find them even at Goodwill.
When it comes to the little black dress, I suggest you find a dress that works well with your body figure and to try to keep it simple (no patterns or trendy style). This is one dress that may be worth spending a little extra on since most of us girls can own a black dress for years or even decades. This is why you don’t want the dress to have a pattern or to be trendy so you can wear it to multiple occasions like funerals, weddings, business events, parties, Christenings, etc. and not look out of place.
Classy is always in style, which is why I suggest that you own these classic pieces and keep them for as long as possible.
Know Your Colors
I don’t know about you, but I know that there are certain colors that look terrible on me (I’m lookin’ at you light blue) and some that look amazing. By knowing what colors and patterns look best on you can save you not only a ton of time shopping but also a ton of money.
Instead of wasting your money on that gorgeous cardigan in light blue that looks amazing on your best friend, you’ll know that since light blue does not look as amazing on you as it does her that you should avoid purchasing that particular cardigan in light blue. This helps to keep your impulse shopping at bay.
Here’s another obvious one but bears repeating. Make sure you have some basics in basic colors in your closet. The basics are things like camis (work great as undershirts), jeans, cardigans, scarfs, and even shoes (heels and sandals).
Basic colors are white, black, beige, and gray. By having, a few camis in basic colors I’m able to still wear certain tops and dresses without worry. Since I’m a mom of three little kids, wearing flowy tops is a challenge without an undershirt since that puts me at risk of one of my children pulling on it and giving everyone around me a show.
Having heels that are only in basic colors – black and beige, I am always certain that I have the right heel for the right dress. This keeps your closet from becoming full of shoes that you have nothing to wear with them.
Invest in Quality
One of the mistakes that I made many years ago was thinking, “hey I can get 12 camis in different colors for less than $2 a shirt – that’s awesome!” The problem was that I failed to really look at the quality of those camis and ended up wasting my money on camis that fell apart only after a couple of washings.
Saving money is great but be careful to not waste money in the long run by purchasing poorly made items. Sometimes it is better to spend a little bit more on one better-made item than to spend less on many lesser-made items.
Honestly, this is how my brother and I got “new” clothes growing up – our mother purchased used clothing for us all the time. She would take us to Goodwill, thrift stores, consignment shops, and the like to shop for new-to-us clothes.
And this is actually how I still shop. Most of my own clothing is used stuff purchased from consignment sales. This is an amazing way to be able to afford name brand clothes without the hefty price tag. And it’s my go-to suggestion for anyone that is in need of quality clothes for work, prom, a business event, or special occasion because you’ll usually find high-quality clothes for the same prices (and sometimes lower) of lesser quality clothes.
If purchasing used freaks you out, I can understand because my husband is that way, which is why for him, I shop the sale and clearance racks for new stuff.
Shop Sales, Clearance, and Off Season
I know this is advice we’ve all heard countless times but it’s great advice and bears repeating – shop for clothes while they are on sale, on the clearance rack, or off season (which usually translates to being on a super awesome sale).
If you know which colors look best on you and which ones don’t, shopping the clearance racks become so much easier because you’ll know to not waste your time picking up that light blue shirt no matter how cute or marked down it is because it’s not going to look good on you.
Something that I’ve noticed with a lot of retailers (not just clothing ones) is that they will have the exact same items that you see in the physical store, online for a much cheaper price. So, before you head to the checkout line, grab your smartphone and look up online that same shirt to see if it’s a lower price online and if it is, ask the store to honor it.
Related Post: How I Stopped Overpaying for My Smartphone
Use What You’ve Got
This is the best and easiest way to stretch your clothing budget and as my friend Kalyn says in her book 31 Days to Radically Reduce Your Expenses, “It always surprises me how creative I can be with pieces I already have hanging in my closet or stuffed in the back of my dresser drawers. It takes just a little effort to put together, but I’ve found some new favorite outfits just by stepping outside my comfort zone and pairing items I never would have thought to pair before!”
One of my favorite ways to use what I’ve got and make a new outfit out of it is to take a top that I usually wear with jeans and pair with a skirt. So for example, I would take a cami and cardigan that I usually wear with jeans and instead of putting on jeans, I’d put on a skirt.
(Instead of wearing the striped dress in the below photo by itself, I decided to “update” the look by throwing on my favorite cardigan with it.)
If you need inspiration to help you along, look through Pinterest for new ideas or even look in magazines or fashion blogs.
Looking stylish doesn’t have to be expensive – it just takes a little bit of creativity and you can look amazing on any size budget! Oh and if you’re looking for more ways to save and stretch your budget, I highly recommend Kalyn’s book! It’ll help you learn amazing ways to reduce your expenses in order to stretch your budget and save more money! You can view her book on Amazon here.
What is your number one tip for looking great without spending a fortune?
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