Keeping up with the ever-changing trends in fashion can be an expensive affair. Every year, it seems, clothing tastes change so much that last season’s clothes feel dated and frumpy. Complicate that with different clothing needs as the seasons change, and staying fashionable can seem like an insurmountable task.
Luckily, fashionistas know how to put together hot outfits for any season on a budget. The process of looking stylish and seasonal doesn’t have to rack up expenses, as long as you know what pieces to select and when and where to get them. Here are five tips for staying fashionable on a budget.
1. Look for staples first
The first tip to building your wardrobe is to make sure you have enough basics to serve a variety of different outfits. This means looking for clothes that are neutral, free of complicated patterns and easy to pair with other clothes. These staples should include plain t-shirts with simple necklines in multiple colors (but you’ll want neutral colors like white, beige and black most of all), a pair of form-fitting blue jeans in your favorite cut, simple ballet flat shoes, a decent jacket or blazer in a dark color and a pair of black plants.
This list is not exhaustive, of course, and your location can also determine what’s necessary in your collection. These staples should be items that you can interchangeably mix in to fill out your daily outfits.
2. Sell or swap with friends
Rather than giving away unwanted clothes to Goodwill or throwing them away, see if your friends are interested – then ask if there’s anything in their wardrobe they don’t want anymore. Swapping clothes with your friends can give new life to unloved pieces and help everyone pick out new pieces to freshen up their wardrobe.
Maybe your friend picked up something nice and in season, but found that it just didn’t flatter her the way she expected. These can be an excellent resource for fun and creative additions to your wardrobe you may not normally look at in a store.
3. Look for sales and clearance items
The best way to keep budgets low is to get your clothes from resale or outlet stores, rather than straight off the rack. Many fantastic pieces end up in these stores due to an inability to move product, or sometimes because a store simply needed to make space for new goods, meaning you’ll find great pieces at low prices in these stores.
Many outlet stores like Nordstrom Rack, Marshall’s or Ross also let you shop for cheap dresses online, where prices have been slashed for out-of-season clothing, and gives you a chance to stock up on especially well-priced goods that may have once had triple-digit price tags.
4. Browse thrift stores
Along with looking for sales and clearances, your clothes can also come from thrift stores, including Goodwill, the Salvation Army and and your local thrift shop. These places hold an eclectic mix of clothes donated by those who lost interest in them for a variety of reasons.
Perfectly good clothing will end up here for outrageously low prices. I once purchased an elegant prom dress easily worth $150 for no more than $20 from a thrift store. Thrifting, although more frustrating and difficult than shopping in a regular store, can turn up absolute gems to add to your collection for rock-bottom prices.
5. Get creative with combinations
The best way to keep your outfits fresh is to swap out small pieces or parts. This is why you want staples, and why you should build up a generous collection of accessories such as cardigans, scarves, belts and jewelry that can add flair and a sense of change to your outfits. Changing your blazer to a cardigan and your heels to some sneakers can take an outfit from work-friendly to weekend-outing. Think of outfits as entire combinations, and each item you swap in or out can make a new look.
Staying fashionable doesn’t have to break the bank. Watching for sales, monitoring your local outlets and thrift stores and letting friends breathe new life into your wardrobe can keep you well-dressed without racking up a debt. Get creative with your wardrobe building to live the fashionista life on a budget.
Featured photo credit: Susan Sermoneta via flic.kr