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How to Look Fashionable On a Budget


Keeping up-to-date on fashion trends can be time-consuming, not to mention expensive. Fashion magazines feature spreads full of expensive clothing, and suggest “must-haves” of the season that frequently cost more than what most of us earn in a week. Here are some quick ways to stay fashionable when working with a tight budget.

Make a budget

Deciding how much you are willing to spend on your wardrobe is a first step to being both fashion-forward and money-conscious. Make a spreadsheet in Excel to keep track of your income and expenses, and decide whether you can give up a month of Starbucks coffees in order to buy an $80 dress.

Remember that a fashion budget can come from unexpected places—your outdated wardrobe, for example. Cleaning out all your last-season clothes means that you have space for newer clothes and, in some cases, money for them. Sites like musicmagpie trade you money for your old clothes, not to mention old CDs, DVDs, and games.

Save where you can…

This season’s clothes will come and go. Remember that you don’t need Prada’s newest skyscraper heels to look fashionable—retailers like H&M and Forever 21 will sell fashionable ones for a percentage of the cost. Because you don’t spend an overwhelming amount of money, you won’t feel guilty when they go out of fashion and you can’t wear them anymore.

Also keep in mind that what you see on the runway soon trickles down to low-cost brands that adopt it for much more practical prices. Be patient, and wait until you can get high fashion for affordable prices.

Spend where you need to

Budget retailers have great prices, but these prices can sometimes come with notoriously bad quality. Cheap jewelry will fall apart, sweaters will unravel, and dresses will fray almost as soon as you wear them. Many of the clothes, in fact, don’t seem to be intended for more than a season.

Some clothes, however, you want to last for a long time, and it makes sense for you to spend more money on wardrobe staples like the little black dress, Oxford shirts, a purse, a winter coat and boots. Though the prices may seem steep, designer clothing is high-quality and made to last. It’s worth investing money in clothing you can keep for multiple seasons and years, especially with items to wear regularly.

And finally…befriend the sales rack

With so many sales going on, it’s hard to find an excuse to buy something full-price. If something you want is out of your price range, simply wait it out until it goes on sale, and then grab it.

Designers often have sample sales that attract huge crowds for both their high-fashion items and more budget-friendly prices. Check online for designer sales near you, and get there early when the day comes.

Finding sales and prioritizing what to splurge on are just some ways to stay fashionable while keeping your spending to a minimum, but they will work wonders for both your wardrobe and your wallet.


AUTHOR Derek Sall

Derek has a Bachelor's degree in Finance and a Master's in Business. As a finance manager in the corporate world, he regularly identified and solved problems at the C-suite level. Today, Derek isn't interested in helping big companies. Instead, he's helping individuals win financially--one email, one article, one person at a time.

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