How to Look Good on a Budget


Let’s face it, many of us have been affected by austerity measures and the stagnation in salaries, and not everyone can spend vast amounts on the latest designer fashions. The good news is that you don’t need to flash the cash to look good if you’re a canny shopper who knows where to find some bargains.

You too can look as stylish as those celebrities you admire, even on a tight budget, if you follow some basic fashion rules and select your purchases carefully. Here are some ideas on where to shop and what to buy if you’re fashion-conscious but haven’t got much disposable income.

Explore the sales

The sales are the obvious place to begin, and it seems like most shops have sales on throughout the year these days. At the very least they’ll have a sale rail you can take a look through. There’s bound to be a lot of fashion duds, clothes that aren’t your size, and styles that make you cringe, but amongst all the dross you could find some hidden gems.

Explore outlet shopping centres

These are the places designers send their overstocks and end of ranges, and you can find some of the most desirable brands in the world at far more reasonable prices than you would on the high street. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be all that cheap, but buying one or two high-quality items gives you a couple of special pieces around which you can base your outfits.

Don’t forget the outlet shops on the high street

One of the leaders in this field is TK Maxx, who stock the same end of line items as outlet centres, but all in one store. Shopping in a store like theirs requires time and patience, as there are seemingly endless rails of clothes to look through of all different styles and labels. It’s been likened to a jumble sale, but just like jumble sales, you’ve got a good chance of finding some hidden treasure for a very reasonable price.

Hunt throughout the charity shops

Before you turn your nose up at the idea of wearing someone else’s cast-offs, have you been to a good quality charity shop lately? Most charities understand that quality and ambienceare essential to a successful retail enterprise, so you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised if you take a look inside your local British Heart Foundation shop, for example. Charity shops are favouritehaunts for a fair few celebrities too, who knowhow good they can be.

The thing about charity shops is that the good ones weed out all the lower end items that people donate, and only put the best quality goods out on display. Because items are donated by people from all walks of life, you can often pick up designer label clothes that have hardly, or often never, been worn, for a very modest sum.

Larger charities are also setting up online shopping sites where the best items are listed, so it’s worth having a browse through their listings to see what’s available – and of course, the range changes all the time as items are sold and new ones come in. Plus, you have the added benefit of knowing your money is being spent on a good cause.

Visit pawn shops

Now you’ve found out that charity shops aren’t what you imagined they would be, are you willing to reconsider pawn shops? If you’ve ever watched the Pawn Stars programme, you’ll know that modern pawn shops are bright, welcoming shopping hubs full of unusual treasures and high-quality goods.

They’re especially good for items like jewellery and watches, both modern and vintage. It’s well worth taking the time to read more about the kinds of items you can buy at a modern pawnbroker, because they are likely to have a wide range of quality jewellery at far lower prices than if you were to buy new or from an antique shop.

Ask your Mum and Gran

If you’ve got older relatives that you know well, you can always ask them if they have anything they don’t want anymore. When you get into your middle and older years, it’s easy to be unaware that itemsyou bought years ago could now be highly desirable amongst the younger generation. Even trends from fairly recent decades like the 1990s are finding favour amongst younger people now.

Your mum, aunties, even granny, could all be sitting on items they’ve forgotten about but that would be perfect for your wardrobe. They might well have clothes that are worth a fair amount of money these days!

Create your outfits

If you’ve been selecting bits and pieces from all these different sources, you could well have quite an eclectic mixture of clothing and accessories. The quality items should always form the base of an outfit, around which you build your completed look. For example, if you’re planning to wear trousers and a blouse, at least one of them needs to be from the high-quality side of your wardrobe. However, one designer piece can be teamed with a cheaper partner and still look great. So if you’ve got a pair of J Brand jeans, they can happily be matched with a Primark top.

Accessories also add class to an outfit, so a high-quality piece of jewellery will stand out and show you’ve got taste, and no-one will notice your shirt came from H&M. Mixing and matching your high-end purchases with cheaper clothing is a great way to ensure your money goes further while still making a stylish statement.

Fast fashion has been grabbing a lot of attention, with young women feeling they can only wear an item of clothing once in case they get posted on Instagram in an outfit they’ve worn before. That’s led to a cheap, disposable clothing trend, but this is one trend that has little relevance to anyone with a true sense of style. You’ll make a far better impression with your outfits if you’ve mastered the art of reusing clothes and accessories to create different looks, and having better quality clothes is always going to make you stand out.

Be a happy bargain hunter, and see what treasures you can find for your wardrobe.

Naomi Isted
Editor in Chief, Naomi Isted is known as The Ultimate Lifestylist to her readers and viewers. She is a TV Presenter and Columnist. Ranked in the Top 100 LFW Social Media Influencers AW14 & SS15, Brand Ambassador for Pears Soap UK. Her Celebrity beauty TV Series currently airs to 27million homes on Physique TV in UAE, previously on Wedding TV in the UK. She brings fashion and beauty advice to her readers and viewers on a daily basis. She is Fashion and Beauty Columnist for Herald Scotland and has a Fashion and Beauty Bridal Blog for HELLO. She can usually be found attending celebrity fashion and beauty events in and around London and sharing the latest fashion and beauty trends with her readers.

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