Friday, March 2, 2012

Jackie’s Corner: How to Dress Well on a Budget


Everybody’s got a budget, so the first thing to do is figure out how much you can comfortably spend on stocking your closet. A killer wardrobe won’t do you much good if you can’t afford to go out in it.

Follow these 10 tips to build your best wardrobe on a budget:

  1. Assess what you already possess and what you actually need. Take inventory of your entire wardrobe and make a shopping list.
     
  2. Invest money on important wardrobe workhorses — a fabulous blazer, the perfect jeans, a gorgeous skirt — in your best colors or neutrals like charcoal gray.

  3. Buy fewer but better quality pieces that you love — and that can take you from work to weekend. It’s infinitely better to love everything you own than to own a whole closet full of poorly made, uninspiring apparel.

  4. Avoid wasting money on clothes you won’t wear. Resist the temptation to buy anything solely because it’s on sale or you think it’ll be useful. If you don’t absolutely love it, walk away. If you do love it, think about how you’ll wear it and what you can pair with it.

  5. Try on everything and look at yourself from all angles. It’s not a good buy if it’s a poor fit or the color is unflattering.

  6. Get garments tailored. Hemming a good quality skirt or pair of trousers that you’ll wear for years is worth the investment.

  7. Focus your shopping efforts on your best colors and all your garments will coordinate easily. For example, if you look fabulous in blues, purples and greens stick to those colors. Add more colors with less expensive accessories like belts and scarves.

  8. Shop for pieces that can do double duty. For example, a well-made gabardine or tweed pencil skirt paired with a tailored blouse is office appropriate. Switch to an embellished t-shirt and a denim jacket for Sunday brunch with the girls.

  9. Sign up for email alerts at your favorite stores so you know when to hit the sales. Shop discount stores like T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Nordstrom Rack.

  10. Take proper care of your wardrobe to make it last. Read and follow garment care labels, keep leather items clean and conditioned, repair items when necessary, etc.

Jackie Houston is an image consultant, based in Rhode Island.  She offers up tons of fashion assistance, including closet makeovers, online personal styling, and personal shopping.  For more info, check her out on her site, Facebook and Twitter.

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