How to be Stylish on a Budget
I am by no means an expert at saving money, I am a self-proclaimed shopaholic. As I've been planning for this baby that is coming in just a mere four months, I've realized that I may need to start budgeting myself a little bit better when it comes to buying things for myself, but since I work in fashion I still need to remain somewhat on top of the trends and keep my look as fresh as possible. How does one achieve this, you ask? Well, that's where this list of tips comes in! I spent some time going through my closet today and asking myself about each item. I realized I had a lot in there that I didn't love or hadn't worn in a long time, and then I noticed the pieces that I gravitate towards on a weekly basis... and I noticed a trend. Keep reading through these tips that I put together to create a functional wardrobe, to stay stylish and put together, without breaking the bank!
1. SHOP YOUR CLOSET
Before you go shopping, go through your closet and see what you're missing. I like to make mental notes (and even notes on my phone) when I'm getting ready in the morning. If I'm putting together an outfit and multiple times I'm without a key piece, this may be something that I need to buy. This mentality allows you to be intentional when you go to the mall or open up an online shopping site. Always go with a goal in mind of a piece that you know you are missing from your collection and that you NEED, stick to the list, don't stray!
2. NEUTRALS ARE KEY
Neutrals are so important! It is so easy to be drawn to that beautiful floral dress, or that pink sweater, but when you're getting dressed, there is nothing easier than an all black ensemble! Think about it, this is my go-to look: black skinnies, white t-shirt, leather jacket, and black booties or nikes, so effortless and so chic! Also, all neutrals go together, believe me, any combo of grey, black, white, cream, tan, or brown can be mixed and matched endlessly. Some trendy colors that can be used similarly to neutrals include: olive, blush, and of course navy.
3. STICK TO A THEME
This could mean anything really, it's all about how you interpret style. If you have all neutrals like me, that could be your theme. If you can't get on with the neutrals and you feel great wearing a particular color, stick with that color palette when you shop and it will be just as easy for you to mix and match and create looks within your theme. A theme could also mean any genre of style, you could buy classic tailored pieces, or more girly pieces, grungy, etc.
4. THREE OUTFITS RULE
Every once and a while there will be a piece that you fall in love with and can't imagine life without. This happens to me basically on a daily basis (like I said, shopaholic). What I like to do when this happens to me, is think about three different ways that I can wear the piece. How many different items do I already own that I can create different looks with this piece? If I can only think of one outfit, I won't buy it.
5. SAVE ON CLOSET BASICS
This is a big one for me, I went through a phase where I thought it was so important to trade out all my Target tees for Alexander Wang tees. I really thought it would elevate my t-shirt collection and something magical would happen, when in fact, I still ended up wearing my trusty Target tees because the fit was better and they were more comfortable. Moral of the story: when it comes to basics, stick with the inexpensive brands, you'll be wearing them a ton and as long as you take care of them, the label at the top of the collar means nothing. From brand to brand they're often the same materials anyway, you're not even paying for superior quality, you're paying for a label.
PS. no one will know or care if your basic white tee is from Forever 21 or Rag and Bone.
6. SPLURGE ON CLOSET STAPLES
Where you'll want to save money on your basics, on the other hand, you'll want to invest in some quality closet staples. I love wearing denim and leather jackets so the two items I invest in are premium denim and third pieces (jackets, vests, etc). When you spend a little bit more on quality pieces that you wear a lot, you'll be able to tell the difference in how they feel on your body, and how you look wearing them. Splurge on these items because you'll have them for a long time. Make sure you're paying for the quality and not just the label, look at the care instructions and the materials that the item is made out of, but most importantly make sure you feel amazing in it! Splurge on timeless accessories as well. If you want THAT particular designer bag, save up for it instead of settling for the knock-off or for one you aren't as stoked about. You'll be happier with the item, you'll feel so accomplished for saving up your own money for it, and it will be much higher quality than any other knock-off! Price per wear it will pay off in the long run!
7. DON'T SPEND ON TREND
Trends are tricky. You'll see bloggers all over Instagram wearing the newest, trendiest pieces, and it's hard not to want them when you're bombarded with a million girls wearing the same new trend. My tip does not include avoid trends all together, just make sure that you are shopping at the right places for these trendy pieces. You won't be happy about dropping $200 on the new fad for it to suddenly go out of style next season (trust me, I've made this mistake before). Shop at discount stores/off price retailers such as Nordstrom Rack, or Saks off Fifth, Forever 21 and H&M are both great for affordable trendy pieces, Zara is also a personal favorite of mine.
8. WHEN IN DOUBT, DONATE
Clean out your closet as often as you can! I usually go through my closet once a month and get rid of things that I'm unsure about. If it has been 6 months since I've worn an item, bye bye! If the piece is ripped, stained, or damaged beyond repair, toss it. If you don't reach for something because you don't feel confident in it, or don't like how it looks on you, sayonara! Only keep items in your wardrobe that make you excited to get dressed, everything should fit well and make you feel great, no exceptions! Once you start to regularly clean out your closet, you will notice yourself feeling less overwhelmed when getting dressed and more excited about the process. It will also take much less time when you love every piece that you own! You can even make money on items you don't want that are only gently worn. I use Poshmark to sell things that I don't wear anymore, and then I can use that money to budget into buying new pieces that I need!
9. TAKE CARE OF YOUR CLOTHES
Final and most important tip! Take care of your clothes! Lint roll when necessary, iron or steam out the wrinkles every time! Wash and hang dry to extend the life of your clothes (I hang dry everything). Store your clothes correctly, hang them when you can, and stuff your bags with paper to maintain shape. Expensive items can easily look cheap and bad when they aren't cared for correctly. Your Forever 21 top can look just as amazing as your top from Nordstrom as long as you make sure it is clean, and wrinkle free!
Overall, just be super conscious of what you own, what you love, and what makes you feel amazing! None of these tips are set in stone, they are just what I like to follow as a general guideline, and have worked for me as I curate the perfect wardrobe for my lifestyle and budget!
Here are a few of my favorite basics and current wardrobe staples: