Ladies, Ramp Up Your Style Without Breaking the Bank Using These 5 Essentials

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This is a guest post by Alexa.

Let’s face it – most of us want to look good regardless of our budget. Even if we aren’t the most fashion-forward dressers we all deserve to wear clothes that fit and don’t appear to be falling apart at the seams or full of holes. How can we attain this on a budget? It’s possible! With a few tricks and some patience you can dress well without buying expensive clothes. In fact, buying expensive clothes might not even look good. We talked with some Share Some Style personal stylists to find out exactly what their secrets are when it comes to dressing well while on a budget. When you’re trying to get out of debt it’s important to ensure you have the essentials so that you can resist the urge to impulse buy or overpay for an item when you realize you need a blazer for that important interview coming up. We put together some tips to help keep you style in check while being budget conscious.

Stock Up On The Essentials

These are the timeless items – they will always be in style and are versatile pieces that can be worn again and again in a variety of ways. Having these in your closet will go a long way when dressing well on a budget.

1. A black blazer/suit pant or pencil skirt

You can wear this combo in so many different ways – as a suit, just the blazer over any top and jeans, or a pencil skirt worn with a sweater and tall boots. A great pair of “slacks” can be dressed up or down in many ways as well. These items should be good quality as they can be worn over and over and in a variety of situations.

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2. A pair of dark wash straight leg jeans

A dark wash of straight leg cut jeans is really very flattering on most shapes. The importance here is that they are a good enough quality to wear for a night out or on a date, but also ones you’d be comfortable wearing to a business casual meeting.

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3. A little black dress

A little black dress, little white dress, and a little multi-colored dress can go a very, very long way. Stylists tell us again and again how many times they’ve been saved because of a few dresses. Dresses are super simple to wear and require little additional effort. If you are not a serial dress lover, getting a classic color like black that can be dressed up and down and all over town is best.

4. A denim jacket

A denim jacket can be used to create 3-5 different outfits with things that already exist in most women’s closets. This is different from the denim jacket you may or may not have worn in high school. The modern denim jacket comes in a myriad of choices: motorcycle, shrunken, white, black, you name it! Worn over a pencil skirt with a t-shirt can make for an instantly casual chic look.

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5. A pair of pumps or flats

A good solid pair of “win-win” shoes. You want them to be good quality, timeless and classic. The cost per wear on these will be worth the money. Don’t get anything too high of a heel or too trendy, the key here is to have a pair you can wear in almost any occasion, a casual saunter at the mall, work, or a night out on the town. And if you aren’t into heels, that’s okay. Get a versatile flat, such as a leopard print pointed shoe makes a great staple to any wardrobe.

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Flaunt What You Got

So often many of us buy items, wear them once and let them rot away in our closets. Many times we have pieces in our closet just dying to be paired together without realizing it. This is where a bit of time can really pay off. Taking inventory of your entire wardrobe, purging the things you don’t need, and sorting the things that could still be useful will not only clear up some space in your closet, it’s a fun exercise that can help you realize new outfits that you already have. You can do this exercise with a friend or these days, there are very affordable personal stylists that will come and help you do this!

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Know Where To Shop

Okay, so you’ve got the essentials down and you’ve done your closet audit and realized you still need a few things. Where do you go? We’ve all sporadically seen that item we just had to have – perhaps it was window-shopping on our walk home from work or at the mall. We see that perfect shirt that’s around $50 more than we’re willing to spend. Chances are you can find something super similar for a lower price. Never buy the first one you see! It’s all about price checking and putting things on hold if you need to in order to make sure you’ve covered ground. This takes a bit of time and effort but if that means you’re getting a new wardrobe for $100 instead of $300, then it’s well worth it!

TJ MAXX or Marshalls are great for unique clothing at affordable prices. For jewelry, try Laila Rowe, or Francescas boutique for a great statement necklace or earrings.

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So many retailers are doing a phenomenal job at being very budget conscious while maintaining quality. Some of other stores with great prices are Zara, H&M, Old Navy, JC Penny and Kohl’s.

You need to feel good no matter what you wear and buying expensive designer clothing is not the answer. We are all trying to get more bang for our buck and ensure that we spend our hard earn dollars the best way possible. Treating yourself every now and again is perfectly acceptable if it is one of the ‘essential’ items we mentioned and if you budget for it. Being purposeful about what you need and using your clothes accordingly is a great way to dress with confidence while respecting your financial goals.

Alexa Meyer is a writer and style enthusiast at Share Some Style, the easiest and most affordable way to get one-on-one advice from an expert personal stylist.

Image 1: keepingtime_ca
Image 2: Jeana
Image 3: Maegan Tintari
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Image 5: Stacie

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  • dianeloviglio

    My favorite line was “In fact, buying expensive clothes might not even look good.” So true – I’ve bought expensive suits and jackets thinking that would solve my style problems, but of course they didn’t. I like to try different styles out in lower priced brands and then if I’m loving it then I can re-buy them in the more expensive brands.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      Great point, Diane! Often the lower-cost option can look just as good or better.

  • Joy Suzanne Hunt

    I’ve also found that Salvation Army, Goodwill, etc sometimes will have that great quality, designer such-and-such…for under $20 or even under $10. Goodwill right now has a 10% student discount. It’s hit and miss, of course, but sometimes you will find things barely worn, or even with the tags still on. I’ve definitely spent $4 on a formal before! Awesome shoes, barely worn, for under $10. Ross is another place to go “treasure hunting.”

    • Claire Murdough

      Yes!! I’ve found some really great designer pieces at a huge discount when I put the time into sorting through the racks. Great tip :)