Affordable and fashionable are words that do not often come hand-in-hand when it comes to clothing. Many fashion lovers feel the struggle of wanting to keep up with trends but find it nearly impossible in their budget to do so. I remember a time that I contemplated on whether or not I could survive off bananas for a week so that I could afford that perfect top, even though I knew in the back of my mind it would not hold the same value to me two days from then when I’m starving and sick of bananas!

So what to do when the prices of clothing seems to be growing larger and unfortunately, our bank accounts do not seem to mimic this growth? Fortunately (for you), I have made copious mistakes when it comes to buying clothes- and like all mistakes made, lessons are attached. And so, here are my tips for building a fashionable wardrobe while lacking a fashionable budget…

1.Make A Wish List Folder

This is something that has really helped me. Having an open mind is almost always a good thing however, I’ve learned when shopping for clothes it is always best to at least have an idea of the kinds of things you’re looking for.

Before I started doing this, I would go shopping with no ideas on what I would want. The only thing in my mind was the thrill of coming out with new clothes (if you are a clothing addict like myself, you know this thrill). Most of the time this does not work in your favor because you end up with random stuff that does not make sense with the rest of your wardrobe and is usually only worn once or twice.

Creating a Wish List folder on the home screen of my computer has suppressed this need to compulsively shop. Whenever I see something online that I like, I add it to my wish list. This does not mean I’m going straight to the mall to get it, but it does mean that when I’m at the mall I’ve at least contemplated a certain clothing item for longer than 30 seconds. This will almost always guarantee that you will wear your new clothes multiple times and in doing this, saves money and decreases your need to return to the vortex of the mall. I owe the majority of my saved money to this simple tip.

2.Know When To Invest And When To Be Cheap

I am a sucker for the statement pieces (as most fashion lovers are). Anything with fur, studs, fringe or any other added glamour always draws my attention. Because of this, I tend to spend more money on these pieces and less on basics- this drives my mom CRAZY. Practical people tend to do the opposite… They spend the majority of their clothing budget on basic pieces and little on fashion pieces (i.e., scarves, belts, party dresses). Because I cannot afford to not be practical, but at the same time can’t stand looking boring I tend to blend these principles together…

Things I Invest On: Jackets, Jeans, Shoes, And Everyday Jewelry

These tend to be the things that get worn more, and so it makes sense to spend more money if it means the quality is better and the items will last longer. I’ve learned that many of these items can be statement pieces even though they are necessary basics. (Thank you, mom)

Things I Save On: T-shirts, Workout Clothes, Skirts, Scarves, Bags, Costume Jewelry, Hats, And Dresses

These are the items that make your outfit original. However, because they are unique they tend to get worn less often than basics, so you can afford to spend less on these items and for them to be a bit lower in quality.

3.When In Doubt, Ask For Help

 Every girl’s tragedy- having a closet full of clothes but nothing to wear. We are almost all guilty of looking in our overflowing closets and feeling like we still need to go shopping for that upcoming event. Unfortunately, buying a new dress every time a social engagement arises is just not a possibility for most of us, so here is what I suggest…

Ask the Internet for help. Our online resources are so often underused when we need them the most. I personally like to turn to Pinterest or LookBook for help. Have a suede skirt that you don’t know how to wear? Search: “Outfits With Suede Skirt”. It is that easy! So many of my outfits are made from old pieces that I get re-inspired to wear because of seeing something similar on the internet. Not only will you look fantastic, but your wallet will too.

4.Quality Is The Key

 Something I have been guilty of in the past is picking something up, deciding I like it and going straight to the cash register before I have tried it on or thoroughly checked it out. Fast forward to when I get home and nine times out of ten, it doesn’t fit, there’s a tare in it, or it’s just not what I thought it was. Within ten seconds of that realization my new top or dress or whatever it is gets thrown to the back corner of my closet to be left to rot with all my other mistakes- how tragic.

I always used to make fun of my stepmom for being so resistant to buy something. Even after trying it on and liking it, she will normally find a reason as to why she shouldn’t buy it (reasons like she wont wear it enough, the fabric seems too thin, it’s not the right shade of blue). Although this seems silly, following her discretion has saved me a lot of money. Now what I tend to do is carry the item I want to buy around the store with me for a while, and if I can’t find a reason to not buy it then it’s a keeper. This normally results in a loss of clothes but that is better than a loss of money.

5.Be Inspired By People Like You

 Diversity in fashion is on the rise, however I still find it hard to relate to famous fashion icons, whose clothing comes from places I simply cannot afford. My suggestion for this problem is to find people like you to inspire your style. Many online accounts promote fashion for everyone including those with little money to spend. Some accounts I like are, Chic On The Cheap– a blog that inspires readers to look at their own closet differently as well Average Joes Average Clothes– which is my own Instagram account that I created that showcases mine and my roommates daily outfits and attaches narratives to each post. We chose to start this account to inspire readers to be comfortable in whatever style they choose.

Fashion is not exclusive to a certain body type, race, age, gender, or budget. Let those who embrace their style no matter how expensive their clothes are inspire you!

Author: Meg Leila Summers- REglam editor Instagram: @megleilasummers

Photo by: Rubbermaid Products

 

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