How to Look Fashionable on a Budget
Heyyyy there fabulous females! As women, we strive to look our best at all times…whatever the occasion! With that notion, that typically means having various options and versatility in our wardrobes. However, having “various options” can come with a hefty price tag, if we don’t shop with purpose. Most women don’t have unlimited budgets when it comes to shopping. Especially if you have little ones…or “big” little ones for that matter! However, just because we are Moms does not mean we have to put our fashion sense on the shelf for the sake of providing for our families. The process of looking stylish doesn’t have to rack up expenses, as long as you know what pieces to select and when and where to get them! I am going to give you 10 tips for staying fashionable on a budget:) :
1) Determine Your Desired Style
Narrowing down your desired style is a good starting point. What types of clothing attract your attention? If it were a perfect world, how would you dress? If you had a budget of say $200 a month to spend on clothing, would you buy five $20 tops and five $20 bottoms from Marshall’s or would you invest it all on a fabulous dress from Nordstrom?
Either decision is a personal preference. You have to decide which shopper you are. If you are the latter, then decide to establish a plan to buy the nicer things you desire. Since we are discussing shopping within our budget, you may consider establishing a monthly clothing budget…tuck a specific amount of funds away each month and strategically plan and purchase your desired wardrobe little by little.
2) Assess Your Closet
Set aside time to go through your wardrobe. Determine what you still wear and what you no longer wear. This is necessary because we tend to accumulate things that we rarely or sometimes never wear or use. Do you have an abundance of one color and none of another? Do you have 30 pairs of jeans, but only 5 optional tops? What about shoes…are the essential options represented? i.e. pumps, flats, sandals, boots… sneakers?
This is an important step. You have already determined how you want your wardrobe to look. Therefore, locate the items that fit your vision and remove the items that don’t. Also, if there are items that you are holding on to simply because you may need to lose some pounds before you can wear them again… really decide if you want to hold on to them and lose the weight or give them away. This is a whole nother animal!! LOL! Now back to the subject at hand :).
Lastly, try everything on. Create a keep pile, a donate pile and a sell pile. This will allow for you to see what you have, as well as know what items you don’t have and may want to invest in later.
3) Sell Or Donate
If you have nice clothing that you no longer wear, consider selling it. Nowadays, there are various ways you can sell merchandise. You can auction them off on Ebay. I personally have sold many items on Ebay and have been very successful. You also have other sites like Letgo or Facebook Marketplace. With these options, you have to make arrangements to meet those who buy your merchandise. You could also consider consigning your items. This option, however, could have a longer turn-a-round time on receipt of your funds, due to the fact that you have to wait for your items to sell. Nonetheless, at the end of it all, you will have some extra cash on hand to reinvest in new items. Any items that are not in the best condition to sell can be donated to Goodwill or the Salvation Army.
4) Establish A Budget
First let’s discuss the word “budget”. That word is relative to every individual. Most of us have a budget per say…even the wealthy. Believe it or not, they want to save money as well…after all, that is how to remain wealthy!
Setting a monthly budget is a smart idea because it allows for you not to overspend and stay within your means. So, after reviewing your monthly financial profile, establish a monthly clothing budget. At least each month, until your wardrobe is where you desire for it to be.
5) Shop For Classic Wardrobe Essentials
Owning a smaller wardrobe filled with quality garments that fit and compliment your body, makes a lot more sense than owning a substantial wardrobe filled with inexpensive, outdated and improper fitting garments. When the latter is the case, you will find yourself shopping all the time, thus overspending, because your wardrobe is not functional, nor is it making you look your best.
When confused about where to start, always focus on classic timeless pieces that never expire. You know, those staple pieces that you wear repeatedly and can be mixed and matched countless ways to create numerous ensembles. ( Classic Wardrobe Essentials ) Each of us may have a different preference when it comes to classic pieces, however, when it is all said and done, the result is the same…fashionable longevity!
6) Shop Online
I am an advocate for shopping online. You can definitely find a plethora of deals…more so than shopping at a local store. However, when shopping online be cautious. If you are anything like me…you have to try everything on. After paying to have something shipped…then try it on and realize it doesn’t fit…then pay to return the item…online shopping then is not so economical! Here’s a tip: When shopping online, try to purchase items that can be returned at local stores and look for items that offer free shipping.
Shopping online for brands that you know fit because you either own them or have worn them before; or for handbags and accessories would be to your benefit. That way, you are a lot less likely to have to return anything.
7) Make A List And Go Shopping!
Make a list of the essential items that are missing from your wardrobe. These items will be your focus when you go shopping. A list keeps you focused on what you need to make your wardrobe more functional, thus resulting in less money being spent on frivolous items.
For your basics like simple tops, blouses and casuals, check discounted department stores like TJ Maxx or Marshalls. You have to check weekly because there is always tons of merchandise coming in. If you are looking for specialty items shop big sales events. Your total focus should be creating your dream wardrobe!
8) Get Creative With Coordinates
Making something old look new again is all about coordinating! Mixing and matching classic garments interchangeably with accessories. This is why it makes sense to have classic pieces in your wardrobe. Establish a sizable collection of accessories…i.e. belts, jewelry, cardigans and shoes. Interchanging blazers with sweaters or changing pumps to flats can allow for one outfit to cater to numerous events. Coordinating an outfit is an opportunity to explore your creativity. Interchange different tops, bottoms and accessories and determine what is visually appealing to you. Each item you swap in or out creates a new-look.
Therefore, when shopping, think of pieces you have that you like, that are either missing coordinates or need a new optional coordinate. For me, this marks fun…like a scavenger hunt! 🙂 So get innovative with your wardrobe building to create the look you desire…on a budget!
9) Visit Consignment Shops
Consignment shops can be gold mines. You never know what goodies you may stumble across while on your shopping excursions. I personally love to visit consignment shops for this very reason. Oftentimes, you can find brand new merchandise with the store tags still attached, for a fraction of the original cost. Not only do I shop consignment shops, I am also a consignor… I sell gently worn or used items of my own in a popular consignment shop here in my home town.
Consignment shops are very meticulous about the items they accept. Most of them only accept certain brands of merchandise; items that are less than two years old; and garments have to be clean, ironed and brought in on hangers. Not to mention, most of them are organized by departments like stores that only sell new merchandise…and a lot of them allow lay-a-way options!
10) Shop Clearance, Sales and Off-Season
The last and certainly not the least tip is to make it a habit to shop the clearance racks first, always shop sales, and shop off-season. That is my strategy when shopping. Upon entering a store, I make a bee line to the clearance rack…after which, I search the venue for any sales or deals. Lastly, when seasons begin to transition, I shop off-season.
One of the best ways to stay within budget when shopping is to shop discount designer department stores or outlets. Discount designer department stores sell brand name products at prices that are lower than the typical market price found in department stores or boutiques. Examples of discount designer department stores are TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Ross. I love discount designer department stores…especially TJ Maxx… I am truly a “Maxxinista”! 🙂
Outlet stores similarly have prices that have been slashed for out-of-season clothing. This provides you the opportunity to stock up on high quality merchandise that may have once had triple-digit price tags. Nordstrom Rack and Saks Off Fifth are examples of great outlets that offer designer labels for a fraction of the original cost.
Shopping off-season is one of the smartest ways to stretch your resources. All retail items have an off-season…especially shoes and clothing. Regular department stores and boutiques have specific times each year when purchases will be extremely discounted. Towards the end of Winter – when Spring/Summer items start hitting the racks…shop for Winter clothing and shoes. Retailers will have these items on crazy clearance in an attempt to make room for merchandise for the upcoming season…oftentimes these markdowns are an additional 50% or more off clearance prices! Same rules apply when Summer is ending and Fall is around the corner…this is the time to shop clearance for Spring/Summer finds!
Obviously, there are numerous ways to save money on clothing. Off-season shopping happens to be one of my preferred ways to save. I hope this post was helpful to you! If so, please share in the comments section below. I would love to here from you! Until next time fashionistas… Stay Fabulous!