Budget Babe: 8 Pro Tips for How to Dress Well on a Budget

Do you eat, sleep, and breathe fashion but find it’s tough to do on a budget?

With so many amazing designs and stunning fabrics and patterns, “dressing to the nines” can feel out of reach. You just need a little know-how to make it happen.

We’ll take a look at eight pro tips on how to dress well on a budget and establish yourself as a fashionista in your own right.

  1. Establish Your Basics

First things first. You need some basics. These are your plain solid t-shirts with simple necklines and in multiple colors. They’re also your form-fitting blue jeans that go with everything. Toss in some black pants, a pair of versatile flats, and a decent jacket in a dark hue.

Essentially, you’re working to pull together a collection of clothes that are easy to pair with other clothes. That way, you don’t need to run out and buy entire ensembles. You’ve already got a lot of the pieces right there in your wardrobe.

The above items are merely suggestions. If you’re more of a skirts, leggings, and blouses type gal, you’ll likely have a different set of basics.

  1. Change up Combinations

Once you’ve established your basics, you can start pairing them with other clothes to create different combination ensembles. Swap out small pieces or parts to keep your look fresh. For example, changing out your blazer for a cardigan and your heels for some flats can move you from the office to happy hour with your friends.

Start to consider different items you can add to your creations. Perhaps one outfit would really pop with a scarf or a belt. You might have a pair of shoes in mind for another.

Once you start developing these ideas, then you can begin the next step of procuring those needed items. This is where the fun begins.

  1. Accessorize 

One of the easiest ways to bring some fashionista flair to your outfit is to add certain accessories. You need to be careful with this though. It’s easy to overdo it and cross from fashionable to gaudy.

There are a couple of items that you may want to spend a little more on to achieve the ‘dressed well’ look. The first is a pair of sunglasses. They don’t need to be designer glasses. You just want something that has a classic look and doesn’t cover your face too much.

Another item of worth is a classic watch. Again, this doesn’t have to be a designer piece. But you may want to invest a little more to land a simple gold or silver model that will go with everything.

As for your other jewelry, you don’t have to dole out major bucks on real gold and silver. An awesome site like WholesaleSparkle.com has cheap wholesale jewelry that includes sterling silver and 14K gold items at truly affordable prices. They look great too.

  1. Look for Specific Items on Resale Sites

With all of your basics pulled together and your accessories lined up, it’s time to actually start the hunt.

Is there a designer whose clothes you adore, but it seems you can never afford them? Check out resale sites like eBay and Poshmark to see if anyone is selling theirs secondhand. You can even set alerts so that these sites can email you should an item show up on their platform.

If you can’t find what you want in your size, you could consider having it altered. Even if you have to pay for the alterations, you’ll still be saving money buying it used. Do the math and see if you still come out on top.

  1. Swap With friends

Set up a swap party!

Have your friends come over for a night of cocktails and rummaging through one another’s clothes. You may be shocked to find out that your bestie has been coveting the pink sweater you never really liked. Meanwhile, she may be ready to swap it for that hat you’ve always wanted.

This a cool way to give new life to unloved pieces and help everyone walk away with a refreshed wardrobe at no cost!

  1. Stick With Neutral Colors

Similar to the shelling out a little bit more to buy a classic watch or some cool sunglasses, you may find it worthwhile to invest in a designer piece of clothing. However, be sure to go with a natural and neutral color that will match with other items so you get the most use out of it.

Also, when you want to look good on a budget, stick with more straightforward cut trousers or a pencil skirt rather than anything with a flowy silhouette. Complete this classic look with costume pearl or diamond studs for the ultimate in elegance.

  1. Hit the Thrift Stores

The sales and clearance racks at your favorite stores aren’t the only places you’ll find great deals.

If you have no qualms about thrift stores such as the Salvation Army or Goodwill, you can score some major finds at a fraction of the price. There are also upscale resale shops that cost a bit more. And just because these items landed there doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with them.

That’s good news for you. The main caveat here though is that you’ll have to spend more time looking than you would at a regular store. And you may not get the size you want.

But once again, if it’s an article you’ve wanted forever, you can always have it altered.

  1. Check out the Menswear Department

Did you know that Gucci’s logo plain white t-shirts are cheaper in the men’s department than in the women’s? Up to 50% cheaper! And while the men’s cut varies from the women’s, if you’re wearing them under a cardigan or a blazer, it hardly matters.

So when shopping for absolute basics, be sure to take a gander at menswear before heading to the sales racks.

Now You Know How to Dress Well on a Budget

You don’t have to have a lot of money to look great and enjoy high fashion while on a budget. The above eight tips will set you well on that path.

So get out there and strut your stuff.

And for more tips and advice on style, keep checking back with all the great articles on our fashion blog!