If you want to constantly be seen in the latest, greatest fashions, then you’re going to run through your budget quicker than a kid in a candy store. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be stylish on a tight budget. You simply have to be smart with what you buy, where you buy it, and how you wear it.
4 Tips for Affordable Fashion
The ease of shopping in today’s marketplace is beneficial in a variety of ways, but it also creates some distinct challenges.
For example, online shopping has increased accessibility, which means you can now buy anything, any time you want. And with two-day, next-day, and same-day shipping now the norm, the delay between purchase and gratification is minimal. This leads many consumers – particularly those who would consider themselves fashionable – to overspend.
Even if you only buy one or two items per week, it’s easy to blow your budget out of whack. If we say the average purchase size is $75 (and that’s pretty conservative), that means two purchases a week could run you as much as $600 per month ($7,200 per year).
While there’s nothing wrong with occasionally buying a nice designer piece for your wardrobe, most people don’t have the discretionary income to afford regular purchases like these. However, even if you fall into this camp, you can still look good on a budget.
Here are some practical ways you can make this happen:
Buy Out of Season
It’s not always easy to do – since styles come and go so quickly – but buying out of season (or at least at the end of the season) can allow you to take advantage of discounts and sales. Most stores are looking to clear out inventory to make room for in-season styles, so they’ll be willing to part with the older items at a fraction of the price.
Pro Tip: If there’s a locally owned boutique in your area, find out when they switch over inventory. Visit a day or two before it happens and make an offer on items that haven’t sold. They may cut you a deal just so they don’t have to absorb the entire cost of the item.
Know Where to Shop
The smarter you are with where you shop, the better deals you’ll get (on average). Let’s check out two of the best places to look – one online and the other offline.
Chinese fashion websites. Many Chinese fashion companies have e-commerce websites tailored to American consumers. Because of their location and resources, they’re able to offer prices at just a fraction of the cost designers typically charge. A site like ROMWE is a great example – and you can even find coupons that make already low prices even cheaper.
Secondhand stores. When shopping offline, consider browsing thrift stores and other retail shops that sell secondhand clothing. While their inventory may be hit or miss, you can often find some “steals.” There are even websites that now cater to this market, such as Postmark.
It’s also worth noting that some deals aren’t as good as they may seem. While you can occasionally find a nice outlet store, we’re not including them on this list for the sheer fact that their prices are often artificially discounted. (Though outlet stores often claim you can save 50 to 75 percent off regular prices, these items are sometimes cheaply made exclusively for the store and have never been retailed. This means the regular price never existed in the first place – it’s merely a sales positioning tactic
Find a Tailor
Have you ever wondered why some people – such as celebrities – always look good in whatever they wear? It’s not necessarily the clothing they buy. The real secret is that it fits them perfectly.
“Instead of buying pricey denim and dresses, you can buy cheaper threads and then head to the tailor,” style expert Jacqueline Curtis writes. “Getting a pair of pants tailored costs about $15, but it can make you look like a million bucks. Find a tailor in your area and make nice. You’ll have a way to make sure that even the cheapest clothes look amazing on your body. No one will even notice that you’ve spent less.