How to Dress Well and Look Great on a Budget

For as long as you can remember, you’ve had, as the saying goes, “Champagne taste on a beer budget.” This is definitely true with regard to how you choose to dress, as you want to wear designer duds and shop at fancy boutiques — but your bank account has other ideas.

No worries, o fashionista with limited funds. With some careful shopping and creativity described in the following tips, you can shop luxuriously and dress well, all without having to spend a fortune:

Focus on a Few Well-Made Essentials

One key way to dress well on a budget is to work on acquiring a capsule wardrobe. The essential pieces of clothing that make up this type of wardrobe should be high-quality, classic items that will never go out of style and can also be accessorized in a number of ways.

While you might spend a bit more on these building blocks of your wardrobe, it will be well worth it. Ultimately, you’ll save money in the long run by not having to replace cheaper, poorly made clothing that wears out quickly. And, since you’re styling these capsule wardrobe pieces in fun ways, you can wear them over and over again.

Examples of capsule pieces are button-up cotton shirts that you can pair with shorts, jeans, or khakis. Or, you can go with a bodysuit that’s uber versatile between occasions and seasons, which means you can wear it year-round, no matter what you’re doing.

Avoid Patterns

Another way to look sophisticated on a budget is to stay away from patterns. Indeed, most of this style of clothing doesn’t always scream sophistication and can make an outfit look cheap, which is not your goal. It can also be difficult to mix and match patterns, and loud clothing is so noticeable that it becomes challenging to re-wear, meaning you won’t get as much bang for your buck. As you choose different pieces of clothing, stick with more neutral colors and textures, and if you really want a splash of color, go with accessories.

Embrace Accessorizing

To keep your classic, capsule wardrobe looking fresh and new from season to season, treat yourself to a variety of accessories. Check fashion blogs to see what’s currently trending, and look for inexpensive jewelry, scarves, purses and other accessories that will complement your clothing while helping you to stay within budget.

Big-box stores are a great place to find these inexpensive accessories. Along the way, if you fall in love with a spendier item, like a belt that you can wear with a number of your clothes, that’s perfectly okay. But, for the most part, focus on finding inexpensive ways to accent your classic clothes.

Shop at Consignment Stores

If you’re comfortable shopping in-person right now, you may be able to find some amazing designer duds at thrift stores and consignment shops. Since the turnover on clothing can be fast at these stores, try to visit them fairly regularly to look for new “treasures.” You can also be on the lookout for end-of-season sales at designer stores at nearby malls. For instance, this can be a great way to nab new pants, shirts and jackets that are no longer in-season but will be ready to go next year.

Finally, Take Care of What You Own

As you collect your capsule clothing items, fun accessories and gently-used designer items, remember to take good care of what you own. After all, it can sometimes be difficult to dress on a budget if you’re having to replace clothing too quickly due to improper care. Read labels, and if something says, “dry clean only,” either make the commitment to do this or leave it on the rack. By keeping these tips in mind, you will find that it’s more than possible to look like you have champagne taste and a champagne budget as well!

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