I’ve received about 16 hillion jillion requests for ways to look awesome on a tight budget, and I hear ya, friends. I mean times are tight, for one thing … but shopping smart is a best practice no matter what the economy is up to. So here are a few guidelines that can help you keep your look fresh, fun, and affordable even if you’re hurting for cash.
TIPS FOR LOOKING LIKE A BIG SPENDER
Buy Muted Colors: Blaring brights are super fun but muted tones look more expensive. When you’re trolling Target for tees, pick out raspberry red instead of fire engine red, steel blue instead of superman blue … anything with a little less saturation. You’ll be amazed how much classier those tones will play when paired with your neutrals.
Buy Brushed Metals: I love the shiny. LOVE the sparkly. But when I want to give off a chic, cultured-lady vibe, I reach for my brushed, matte jewelry every time. None of it was particularly costly, but it all looks sleek and mod and … well, spendy.
Buy Gray Instead of Black: Black is ubiquitous and it fades after a few washes. Gray is less common, gives off an upper-crust vibe, and is more fade-proof. Even if you’re not ready to delve into alternate neutrals, go for some gray to instantly up your chic quotient.
TIPS FOR LOOKING LIKE A TREND-HOUND
Buy Trendy Accessories, Not Clothes: Even if you can’t afford to buy this season’s hottest leather bomber or fabulous frilly frock at full price, you can probably find a way to work an of-the-moment accessory. Whether it’s a particular handbag shape, style of necklace, or type of shoe, chances are you can snap it up at a mall or thrift store for pennies on the dollar. Trendy clothes may be easy to procure, but they’re often shoddily made … and they show it. Trendy accessories are easy to get for cheap and generally don’t APPEAR to be cheap unless inspected closely.
Make a Trend Wishlist, and Thrift it: The three ladies pictured above are wearing plaid, harem pants, and florals. ALL thrifted. Nothing is new, my dears. Thrift for trends.
Check Your Closet for “In” Colors: Unless you live in a black and white world, you likely have some lurking items that qualify as super-stylin’ merely due to their hue. For fall? Amethyst purple, teal, and magenta. Got anything in those tones? Does your roomie/sister/boyfriend/girlfriend/mom?
TIPS FOR MAKING DO
Learn to Sew/Alter: Yeah, it’s a bit of an undertaking. But how fab would it be to do your own hemming? Add trim to boring old blouses and dresses? Even cook up your very own designs from re-purposed duds?
Polish Your Shoes: Artfully destroyed or worn-in shoes may look chic and rocker-ish, but scuffed and faded shoes just look dreadful. Colored shoe polish works wonders if you can match tone, and an oil sponge is positively miraculous on tanned leathers.
Dye Stained Garments: Waste not, want not! Want a fuchsia dress, and hate your old, pit-stained gray one? Pick up a pack of RIT and go to. A few words of warning, though: Only dye something you’re totally willing to throw away if the dye job gets botched, and don’t expect it to actually BE the color on the box.
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