Chain stores are one of the easiest ways to dress yourself on a budget as often they’ll incorporate lots of on trend pieces worked back with core basics in their collection. That said, you often get what you pay for when it comes to high street buys so it pays to know what to look for to ensure that what you’re getting still looks high end. Here are a few easy ways to ensure a luxe finish with any bargain buy.
Mix and match with pricier pieces
I’m all about embracing the high-low mix— so working cheaper pieces with more expensive things. Often you can get away with working a simple outfit sourced from your favourite chain store and work it back with some investment pieces from your wardrobe such as a great bag or shoes and end up with a look that just says high end. Essentially it’s luxury by association.
Look out for finishes
It’s best to keep things simple when it comes to any chain store purchases and avoid things like embellishments. One of the best ways you can tell a designer item apart from a cheaper alternative is in the finishes that they use. Luxe goods will use high quality metals for any chains, buckles and straps as generally that’s included in the price tag, whereas you might not be getting quite the same quality with a high street buy.
Keep it simple
If you’re looking for a showstopper of a dress incorporating lots of beading or sequins then you will most definitely get what you pay for. As this kind of finish is so intricate, often it won’t come at a cheap price tag. If you want your chain store finds to look expensive, it’s best to avoid anything too delicate. Think designs that are quite simple and straightforward.
Pay attention to how it’s made
There are some fantastic high street buys to be snapped up out there but it does pay to stop and inspect the quality. One way you can cheapen a garment is if the finish isn’t quite right. If there’s plenty of loose threads or the stitching’s a bit imprecise then you might want to consider searching for other alternatives. Also don’t forget to be choosy with fabrics. Natural fabrics like cotton and linen will always present well, whereas anything that’s man made may come across as a bit shiny.
Add the right accessories
It’s amazing what the right accessories can do for a look. Pairing your fave high street outfit with a few standout pieces can instantly elevate it. Think a gorgeous pair of statement earrings or a beautiful silk scarf. Both are good examples of the the kind of things that you can add to any look to give it an expensive feel.
If you’ve found yourself invited to a wedding (or weddings which isn’t uncommon) it can become quite an expensive exercise, particularly if you have to attend additional events such as a hens or kitchen tea, not to mention the cost of a wedding gift. Sometimes the expense of then having to buy an outfit for the actual wedding can leave you with a pretty hefty bill. So, what to do? Well it pays to be clever with how you approach your look…
Go for a simple design
If you have more than one wedding to attend then it pays to go for an outfit that’s quite simple and classic, this way you can easily wear it all over again. It’s much easier to rework an existing dress when it’s quite pared back in design as it’s pretty much a blank canvas.
Dial up the accessories
An existing look can be transformed by the right accessories. A great headpiece such as a statement headband for example can inject new energy into a dress you already own. While jewellery such as striking earrings or a beautiful pair of shoes in a vibrant shade can instantly change up the look and feel of a new outfit that you want to wear to more than one occasion. This is a great trick if you’ve got a few weddings to attend.
Recycle something you own
Do you have a dress in your wardrobe that you love but are sick of wearing? Consider having it altered or reworked into a different style. For example a midi dress could be taken up to be worn as a knee length dress, or a voluminous dress could be taken in to change the silhouette. Paying for alterations will often be much more cost effective than buying something new.
Think outside the box
You don’t always have to wear a dress to a wedding. The great thing with fashion right now is that there are so many event looks that can work for a wedding. You could opt to wear a beautiful midi skirt with a cami or crisp white shirt or you could rock a suit and make it more “evening” by teaming it with a cami or alternatively just wearing the jacket buttoned up. You may already have these pieces in your wardrobe which could save you a pretty penny.
Change your beauty look
If you’ve splurged on a wedding outfit that you really love then you can extend its wear beyond a single event by simply changing your beauty look. If you decide to wear it with your hair down and smoky eye, consider doing the opposite the next time you wear it and opt for an up-do with a bold lip. It’s a simple trick but oh-so effective.
As I have to attend so many events during the year it’s not cost effective for me to buy a new look every single time I have to go to something. I’d be spending a fortune on event looks that I might not really wear all that often which just doesn’t make sense to me. I’d rather spend most of my fashion budget on outfits that will get plenty of wear. So I’ve learnt a few ways to do occasion wear without having to spend a lot of money every time…
Have a little black dress in your wardrobe
It’s one of the most versatile things you can own and it’s also one of the best event wear items you can invest in. A simple, sleek black dress can easily be worn to multiple occasions and changed up by swapping key accessories and doing a new beauty look each time you wear it.
I’ve raided the cupboards of friends a time or two, or worked with a label when I’m going to an event so sourcing event clothing outside of my own wardrobe is a strategy I’m well aware of. If you can’t hit up your girlfriends’ wardrobes then consider a dress hire service. There are so many of them around now that it would be silly not to take advantage of them. Often you can hire a gorgeous designer dress for a standard rental fee that would otherwise require you to drop a few hundred (sometimes thousands) dollars on it. This makes sense from a cost per wear perspective and you can still get that special feeling that comes from wearing a brand that you love.
Buy at sale time
If you’ve got a dress that you’ve really got your heart set on buying then make the effort to stay on top of any sales that are happening with your fave labels and stores. An online store like The Outnet is also a good source for event wear as they’ll stock designer brands at a generally heavily reduced price. Sign up for newsletters and sale alerts so you can be first to take advantage of any discounts that might be offered.
Re-work existing occasion wear
It’s a good idea to rethink what you already have in your closet. Is there something that you can have taken up? Do you have a dress that you can alter the silhouette slightly? Often the answer to your event wear problems is already sitting in your closet but we all want that ‘new’ feeling so we tend to buy rather than shop our wardrobes. So get creative and see how you can re-purpose what you already own. All you need is a good tailor and you’re set.
Think beyond the dress
Event wear dresses will generally be quite expensive so it pays to get creative and think of other options that will still look dressy but might come at a fraction of the price. A great skirt teamed with a cami or a button down shirt is one way to get around the traditional dress option, and often skirts will be a little cheaper. Or you could sub in a pair of tailored pants for the skirt for a look with a similar vibe. Paired with great accessories and killer heels, you’re guaranteed to look amazing.
Change the small details
A simple change in beauty look can easily revamp existing occasion wear. I’ll often wear something again and just change my beauty look so if I wore my hair up the last time I wore something, I’ll wear my hair down or if I did a smoky eye I’ll do a dramatic lip. Also a change in shoes or bag can also make something feel fresh and new.
If you’re currently trying to navigate the tricky fashion terrain that is dressing while pregnant then you’ll know that it can become quite the style conundrum when you have no idea what to wear and a slowly diminishing wardrobe to boot. Having been through the experience twice, I totally get it!
The thing I found with pregnancy dressing was that I wanted to stay true to my style but I was faced with having to accomodate an ever changing body shape so all my usual go-tos weren’t all going to work. However it was such a finite amount of time that I didn’t want to spend a fortune buying an entirely new wardrobe. So here are a few ways that I managed to do it without spending a lot.
Use a pants extender
Investing in a pants extender or better yet just using a good ol’ fashion hair elastic if you’re wearing a long enough top can allow you to use a lot of your pants (or anything that has a button up waistband) well into your pregnancy. If you can use most of the bottoms you already own that’s half the battle right there.
Shop your closet
Check out what you already own that you can use to accomodate your growing belly. Look for anything with a bit of stretch such as a jersey dress or is a roomier fit like an oversized blouse — these can last you through various stages of your pregnancy.
Use men’s clothes
I borrowed a lot of Luke’s shirts and jumpers when I was pregnant as they were roomy enough and long enough to work with my new belly. If you’re able to grab a few pieces from the resident males in your life such as your partner, your brother or even your dad then make the most of it as these pieces work great during a pregnancy.
Buy cheap basics but size up
During both pregnancies I bought basic tees and tops from ASOS and these lasted me the entire time. As with your regular wardrobe, if you have staples like t-shirts, singlets and stretchy dresses you’ll be able to use these as the core part of your looks but elevate them with the right accessories. You don’t even have to buy maternity specific items, just buy a few sizes up to accomodate your bump.
Elevate looks with accessories
When you’re wearing pretty much the same things throughout a pregnancy it’s easy to get wardrobe fatigue. So enlist the help of some great accessories to inject a bit of new life into your looks. A beautiful scarf, statement earrings or fun sunglasses are all things that can instantly transform your look.
Layer, layer, layer
I would often wear things like vests, cardigans or blazers over what I was wearing as I felt it helped give me a little extra coverage, plus it just made everything feel a little more chic. I’m a fan of layering in my regular wardrobe so doing so throughout my pregnancies allowed me to feel that I was dressing like my usual self.
Whilst I’m all for investing in certain pieces in my wardrobe that I want to have longevity such as bags, shoes and coats, I tend to scrimp on trend items that I know may only last a season or two. It’s fun to update my look with a few key of-the-moment items but it doesn’t make sense to me to spend loads on them. Australia has a great selection of chain stores of local and overseas brands so I’ve learnt that you can easily snap up trendy pieces that won’t break the bank. Here are a few of my go-tos when I’m looking for an inexpensive fashion fix.
Who doesn’t love Zara? They’re great for runway inspired pieces so you can often find some really up-to-the-minute looks at a fraction of the price. I also like that their designs are often on trend, but interpreted in such a simple, unfussy way that they can easily be worked back with pieces you already own.
Whilst H&M is great for simple basics like tees and jeans, I also like the fact that they have some really contemporary designs that are fun. If I’m ever looking to dabble in a trend that I know won’t last beyond a season, I’ve found that snapping up something from H&M will often allow me to do so without breaking the bank.
Seed often stock a lot of really beautiful pieces that are classic and polished, which is exactly what draws me to this brand. They often feature most of the popular trends in their range, but you can also find dressy pieces for work and after dark at an accessible price point.
Witchery‘s great for classic pieces that are ultra wearable. They often have quite understated designs which makes most of their range quite versatile. Also they stock things such as blazers, slacks and jumpers which look upmarket and expensive but are at a far cheaper price point than taking the designer route.
I’ve got several pieces from Uniqlo in my closet that are still going strong. And I think it’s because they do simple really well. From t-shirts to knits, pants and dresses, everything is really understated which extends the wearability of anything from their range. I also like that they incorporate natural fabrics such as wool, cotton and even cashmere into their range but price it quite reasonably.
If the above scenario is on your radar this weekend then you’ll know that great lounge wear is a must. When it comes to clothes just made for relaxing, comfort is most definitely key but that doesn’t mean you can’t add some stylish touches here and there. There are so many gorgeous, comfortable pieces around now that you’ll most definitely find something that’s made for lazy days in bed, enjoying coffee — but is polished enough that you won’t hesitate to wear them out the door when you need to. If you’re in the market for great lounge wear, then here’s how to do it without spending a fortune.
Check out the chain stores
There are some brands that do luxe lounge wear but it also comes with the price tag to match. So make a beeline for your favourite chain store instead. Brands like Seed and Cotton On do great jogger pants with matching lightweight tops, comfy tees, and cute pyjamas that are just made for relaxing on the couch but don’t require a significant investment.
ASOS has a great range of lounge wear, the same with The Iconic and brands such as Marks and Spencer and Zara. You’ll find pieces at a reasonable price that are often discounted if you keep your eyes peeled for discounts. High end online retailers also offer gorgeous pieces that are made from beautiful fabrics such as cashmere, and if you wait at just the right time when they’re doing their big sales such as after Christmas or during Black Friday, you’re guaranteed to find something you’ll want to live in every weekend.
Raid the kids’ section
If you’re on the petite side it’s worth paying a visit to the kids’ or teens section of certain brands. They sell lounge wear basics such as t-shirts, pyjamas, comfy jogger pants and shorts and other comfy separates but at a fraction of the price of the adult range. If you look for the bigger sizes, you’ll find that they can easily fit grown ups too!
Visit the men’s department
The great thing about lounge wear is that it looks better when it’s slightly oversized and has a relaxed fit. Remember the aim is to be comfy so anything too tight or small won’t fit the bill. That’s why you should definitely swing by the men’s department. When it comes to finding separates you’ll often find that the men’s ranges whether it be tees or hoodies are great for meeting your lounge wear needs. As an added bonus you’ll find that the small sizes in the men’s range are often left behind and reduced at sale time making them ripe for the picking when you’re trying to stock up!
When you’re dressing with a bump, it can become quite an expensive exercise if you end up buying an entirely new wardrobe to accomodate your changing shape. Given that you’re pregnant for such a finite amount of time, it pays to be the quite strategic with what you purchase in order to save on costs, and also to avoid blowing your budget completely. After all wouldn’t you rather save your hard earned fashion dollars for clothes that you’ll be wearing for longer than 9 months? If you’re currently navigating pregnancy dressing but don’t want to spend a fortune, here are my tried and tested tips.
For both my pregnancies I borrowed clothes from my husband Luke’s closet. I wore his shirts and jumpers as they were oversized on me and could fit over my belly. Great for me, not so great for Luke! If raiding your partner’s wardrobe isn’t feasible then look to friends who have had a baby and see if there are pieces that they’re not using anymore that they wouldn’t mind you borrowing for a few months.
Go up a size
Maternity clothes have come a long way since the big tent dresses of days gone by and are quite on point but they can also be expensive. So eschew “pregnancy clothes” and instead look to your fave high street brands and go up a size instead. Look to places such as Cotton On, Target, Kmart, H&M and Zara which stock basics at a reasonable price and simply go bigger with the sizing.
I’ve not tried this myself but think it’s such a great concept! Clothing rental sites such as Glam Corner, Bump Style, and Your Closet hire out maternity clothes so you can keep new pieces in your wardrobe rotation without having to spend a fortune. This is particularly great if you’re going to an event and don’t want to buy a dress that you may only wear once.
Work with your existing wardrobe
You’ll be surprised at what pieces you have in your wardrobe can accomodate a growing bump. Anything stretchy is perfect for the later stages when your stomach is bigger — think jersey dresses, skirts and tops. You can also use oversized tees and utilise your existing pants by buying a pants extender which is quite cheap but will allow you to have use of things such as jeans and slacks further into your pregnancy. Also anything with a drawstring or elasticated waist will quickly become your best friend.
Denim. It’s a constant in my wardrobe and is something that I wear multiple times a week. Given I tend to live in jeans most days I like to have a few pairs on hand so I can mix things up a bit. Also I find wearing my fave pair constantly will inevitably result in it losing shape so its best to have a couple of different options to give each pair a break. Purchasing denim these days can be expensive, so I’ve found that there are a fews ways to ensure that you don’t blow your entire fashion budget on jeans, and here are some of them…
Stock up at sale time
The most obvious way to save money on denim is to wait till it has been reduced in price. But before sale time even hits, it pays to do a little research into what pairs you want to snap up. Go in store and try on a few different brands and styles. Once you’ve narrowed down what you want, take note and pounce once brands and retailers start slashing their prices. Be on the look out at specific times like the Black Friday sales, Click Frenzy, different brands’ spend and sale events, Afteryay and end of financial year and after Christmas time.
Hit up chain stores
Premium denim can cost upwards of $200 which is a pretty significant investment for jeans. If your budget doesn’t allow, you can find some great options at most chain stores. Brands like Country Road, Cotton On and Seed stock a number of styles that rival most of the cuts that you’d find from denim brands, but at a fraction of the price.
Finding the right jeans is no easy feat so once you do find them consider snapping up another pair. This allows you to have more than one in rotation, which can help with the longevity of your denim. If you’re able to alternate the days you wear a particular pair of jeans rather than wearing them regularly you can extend its shelf life, which in turn stretches out the time frame in which you might have to spend on another pair. To save even more money, wait till they go on sale so you can also get them at a reduced price.
Scour consignment sites
You can find gently worn designer jeans on sites such as The Real Real and Vestiaire Collective, which whilst not new are still in great condition. Away from consignment sites you could also hit up eBay which if you have a discerning eye and the time to devote to your search, has always been a reliable source for pre-owned clothes.
When it comes to exercise, sometimes just having a cute workout look can help motivate you to go to that gym class or pound the pavement and go for that run. And whilst nice exercise gear is great, there’s no doubt that sometimes activewear can end up costing a fortune once you start adding up everything from leggings to a sports bra and shoes. So if you’re not a Khloe Kardashian with enough cash to spare that you have your very own closet just for your sneakers, how can you still look great without spending a fortune? Here are some great ways to do it.
Stock up at sale time
As with most things in our wardrobes, sale time is probably the best time to replenish any items as you’ll often save a whole lot given most things are discounted. So it’s the ideal time to snap up any workout gear you might need. Hit the sale section of your fave sites for activewear and pay a visit in store to see what might be sitting on the sale racks. You should also take advantage of deals that offer an extra discount on sale items or spend and save deals where the more you buy the bigger the reduction.
Shop the chain stores
You don’t always have to buy activewear from an activewear brand. These days chain stores such as H&M, Seed and Cotton On, and even Target and K-Mart are now doing their own exercise gear from leggings to tees and socks, and the quality is arguably as good as what you’ll find from more expensive brands.
Shop the clearance section
Hit up your fave activewear brand’s clearance section online. For example Lululemon have a ‘We Made Too Much’ section on their site which sells surplus stock at heavily discounted prices. You’ll be able to snap up pieces from a top brand but with a smaller price tag.
Spend up but only on certain things
In an ideal world you’d have a matching top to toe workout look every time you hit the gym but your bank account may not agree. One way to get around this is to invest in the truly important things such as a sports bra which is crucial for giving support during a training session and quality sneakers which you’ll need if you’re regularly exercising. When it comes to other things such as tees, socks and even leggings however, you can afford to go with the cheaper option which can help extend your activewear dollars further.
You spend a huge chunk of your life working so it stands to reason that you should feel confident and amazing every time you head off to work. Whether you’re in an office or you’re constantly on the road or manage your own schedule being self-employed, it’s important to have a functional office capsule wardrobe that will take you from your desk to an important meeting without missing a beat. Having done a stint in both a full-time office environment and also the varied schedule of having my own business, these are some of the things I’ve learn about looking great on the job without having to spend a whole lot.
Invest in key pieces
Starting with the right building blocks of a work wardrobe will mean that you’re able to get dressed everyday with minimal drama and just dress it up with inexpensive accessories. Start with classics like a great black blazer, tailored pants, a white shirt, a versatile skirt and a simple dress in either a block colour or an unfussy print. These staples can easily be worked back with other items in your closet but are key in looking professional for work.
Alter existing items
If you’ve got a few things in your work wardrobe that have become a little tired consider taking them to a tailor to have them reworked. For example you could alter a midi skirt and have it changed to be knee length so it feels like an entirely new garment but at a fraction of the price.
Add inexpensive accessories
A pair of classic earrings or a chic scarf are accessories that you can easily pair with your work wardrobe to dress your outfits up but without having to spend a fortune.
Know when to buy
If you want to update your office wardrobe it pays to keep abreast of when the big sales are happening so you know exactly when it’s time to snap up a few pieces. Sign up for your favourite brands’ newsletters and follow them on social media to be the first to know when things will be on sale.
Rework pieces from your wardrobe
We often tend to relegate certain things for work and certain things for play but sometimes they can crossover and make for a great office look. This effectively also doubles your work wardrobe. Look out for tops that can be worn under jackets, chic flats that will look great teamed with tailored pants and dresses that when paired with the right blazer and shoes, look super sharp and chic.