Fashion is what you have, Style is who you are.

Betsey Johnson
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Shopping Strategies
07/07/2015
I am a girl on a budget so I have to careful on how I spend that budget and there steps I take to accomplish that.  Even when I was at my poorest I was able to dress well by choosing a few quality items that could be mixed and matched.  There are options that can fit any budget and trust me I have lived the gambit. Before I tell you where to purchase items I have to tell you that you need to purge your closet.  You will never know what you need if you are bombarded with piles of clothes you don't wear whether it doesn't look good on you or it doesn't fit.  You need to play hardball and edit your wardrobe! Once you know what you have you can determine what you need. The next thing is to determine your budget whether it is going to be a weekly add or one big spree and stick to it.  If you are banging your head trying to figure out what you need re read or read my post on The Capsule Wardrobe for a list of what you need for the bare bones basic wardrobe.

What to Buy and What Not to Buy:

Rome was not built in a day and neither will your wardrobe

Separates they will allow you to mix and match so a limited wardrobe becomes limitless

GET OVER the 'need more' attitude it is possible to have a great wardrobe with just 10 pieces.  Hundreds of stylish Parisians manage to get by on it and we hold them in the highest regard when it comes to Fashion an Style

Neutrals are your friend especially if you have limited funds. They mix and match with everything giving you more options

Look for cuts, classic and simple cuts are best.  They will be wearable 5, 10 years from now but you need to know what cuts look best on you. Go to a high end store and try different styles and cuts take pictures on your phone and keep them for reference and for your new friend the tailor.

Find a good tailor! You are better off buying a cheaper dress that needs to be fitted than buying an expensive dress you can't afford to have fitted to you. 

Know the true cost.  We know to contact our insurance company and find out the hidden cost of a car but rarely do we do that when it comes to clothes.  In figuring out the true cost you have to factor the cost of the garment and the cost of taking care of it (dry cleaning, tailoring).

The 3 way rule.  Sounds pornographic but if you stick with this rule you will make better choices and simply if you can't imagine 3 different ways to wear it with what you already have than it isn't a good buy.

Pick items that can be worn day to night, season after season and year after year. 

Know your lifestyle and shop for your actual lifestyle not the one you romanticize.  With that said sometimes you have to know when to break that rule.  I will buy an amazing taffeta ball skirt and wear it with a tank top and sandals to the grocery store, why not life should be fun.

Be wary of sales although I only buy things on sale I am careful not to be swayed by the price.  We have all done it, bought a dress because it was 500 and now on clearance for 100 and we romanticize it buy it and never wear it.  Stick to your list, the 3 way rule and be honest with yourself before you get carried away with a great price.

Places to Shop for budget friendly items without giving up style:

Get on email list so you can get notification of sales also some sights give you a percentage off your first purchase.

H&M of course.  I am cautious on what I purchase from there because some of what they have doesn't look as good as I thought they would in the store.  Remember even H&M has different levels of quality.

Zara love, love, love this store.  I am a minimalist fashion lover and I am more sophisticated in my taste so Zara is a better option for me than H&M.  You can pick up great shoes and bags from here that are real leather, well made and extremely well priced. A great place to go to for fun jewelry to update your wardrobe for minimal cost.

Zara Top on sale for 35.99 

Zara jacket will turn a tee and jeans into something amazing on sale for 59.99 

Cos Stores it is more expensive than Zara but they are the holy grail of minimalist fashion that will work day to night, season to season and year after year. They focus on material and cut. If Caroline Bisset were living on a budget she would live in this store. 

Cos Store black long jersey blazer on sale for 67.00
Cos Store grey midi dress on sale for 95 can take you from day to night easily   

Tradesy another site for resale but this one is a direct sale from the seller so they do not actually see the items. They will accept returns with no issue and guarantee authenticity on designer items so if you buy a bag and it turns out to be a fake just send it back to them and get a full refund.  I have returned items with no problems.  I sell items I can't wear for whatever reason and use that money to purchase what I want as of today I have earned over 1000.00

Asos not my 'go to' but if I am looking for something that is more trendy and don't want to invest too much money this is where I go.  I do buy quite a bit of clothes for my teenage daughters there. They also have a plus size store with great options.

The Real Real great way to pick up amazing designer items for a fraction of the cost from Chanel to MM6.  Read the description carefully and remember a bag with minor scratches is probably fine but a dress with a minor stain is not.  Try to shop just the sales for better deals. Items are on consignment so they are authenticated and described honestly. Returns are never a problem unless you buy something on final sale.

The Real Real brown leather Marc Jacobs bag retail 1125 on sale for 280.00 

The Real Real
Burberry classic khaki trench coat for 325.00  







Mango
they are more on the minimalist side as far as what they carry and the quality has been great so far.  You can pick up a black leather jaket on sale for under 150 that is well made.  As always read the description especially the material it will give you a good idea of what it will actually look like. Mango also carry's plus size options and there sales are AMAZING

Mango off white bell sleeve top on sale for 29.00 

Mango black leather moto jacket on sale for 124 

J Crew might be a little pricey but their sales are AMAZING offer 30% to 40% off sale items. Good place to find basic pieces that are well made

Rent the Runway is a great resource for special event or date night.  Since you will probably never wear it again renting a designer dress that retails for 1500.00 for 100.00 is a no brainer

The internet has made it easier than ever to find good quality items for a fraction of the cost allowing everyone the opportunity to have great Style.  If you stick to your list and budget you will have a well stocked wardrobe of items you love and actually wear without having to starve yourself.  Pick out a per pay period budget you can either shop piece by piece or you can save that money for a good ol' shopping spree.






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