How to Style Yourself on a Budget

Following fashion trends can quickly break the bank. In-style pieces are usually costly. Plus, they tend not to stay in style long. Remember the Gucci belt trend? Pity the poor Millennials with their costly waist-cinchers now sitting in a drawer.

The good news for aspiring fashionistas is that staying in style doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, there are great ways to both save money and look good. Keep these tips in mind next time you hit the mall or an online boutique.

Shop Smart

Whether you’re visiting a retail store or shopping online, it always pays to look for sales. If you don’t spot any current promotions, try coupons. Honey is a browser plug-in that will automatically scan the web for any coupon codes that apply to your selections. Meanwhile, sites like Rakuten give you cash back on purchases, and a number of credit cards offer this feature, too. Some retailers offer influencer codes, so check whether your favorite TikTok or podcast star can save you a few dollars at your preferred stores.

Another way to save money while shopping is to use a debit card that doesn’t charge confusing or cryptic fees. Look for accounts without monthly maintenance charges or minimum account balances. The fewer dollars you’re losing to bank fees, the more you’ll have to spend on updated threads.

Go Thrifting

Looking for a new hobby or a fun weekend activity? Grab a few friends and head to your local thrift store. Consignment shops are filled with hidden gems from previous eras that are coming back in style. Those 2000s-inspired wide-leg jeans you’ve been eyeing at a local boutique? The real deal is probably on a rack at Goodwill waiting to be snatched up.

In addition to traditional thrift stores, there are secondhand shops that buy back your trendy used clothes. Typically, these stores will give you an in-store credit to shop around. Not only will you save money on their wares, you’re being environmentally conscious by not throwing your clothes in the trash. These stores are usually pretty choosy about what they purchase, so be sure to only bring in-season items.

Try a Rental Service

Have you ever bought a super-cute outfit for a special event — and then never worn it again? Instead of purchasing a brand-new dress for your next party, try renting. Rental services like Rent the Runway or Nuuly are a great way to deal with this type of outfit emergency. They even have everyday clothes and business attire. Renting is a sound strategy for someone on a budget who likes to try new styles.

Rental services are also especially well suited for individuals who like to keep up with the trends. As quick as style trends come and go, a subscription-based service can be your best option. Usually, you choose a few items for your monthly shipment. Then, when the month is up, pack your items back up and drop them off at the post office. It’s so simple!

Reimagine What You Have

Upcycling your wardrobe can be a fun method for styling yourself on budget. Using what you already have in your closet, you can reimagine your pieces. Try cropping your jean jacket or turn an old blanket into a cape. Or grab your dress that shrunk in the wash and wear it as a tunic.

Keeping up with trends doesn’t have to mean buying new. Reusing your old items can be a fun DIY project for you and your friends. Make an event out of it, and share items to be repurposed. This is a great way to be conscious of clothing waste.

Choose Quality Over Quantity

Buying a high-quality piece of clothing can be scary. Many people would reach for the $30 pair of jeans over the $150 pair. However, odds are, you’ll be buying another $30 pair in a few months. Cheap clothing is usually cheaply made. It simply does not last as long as higher-priced, higher-quality items.

Splurging on a few quality pieces that you’ll wear frequently can save you money long-term. Take the $150 pair of jeans, for example. If they last three years, they’ll have been well worth the pretty penny you spent. Shopping for quality items aligns well with efforts to shop sustainably, given that fast fashion is one of the world’s largest polluters.

Create a Capsule Wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe consists of a small selection of garments that can be used in combination. Most of the items match or coordinate, allowing you to make many different outfits out of a few pieces. This saves you money because you don’t have to buy several one-off outfits and accessories to match.

Adopting the capsule wardrobe concept can be intimidating, especially when it means purging your closet to get started. You probably have memories tied to specific outfits, so getting rid of these sentimental clothing items may be painful. Discovering how much easier it is to get ready with a capsule wardrobe will help ease the pain. With trends always changing, a high-quality capsule wardrobe can keep you looking timeless.

Styling yourself on a budget can be daunting. If your problem is buying things you don’t need, create a list of items you want that will serve several purposes. When you decide to treat yourself, you’ll know that the pieces you’re buying aren’t impulse buys that will go unworn. With the tips above, you’ll be able to look good without squandering your hard-earned pay. Happy shopping!