Looking your best and emulating the latest runway fashions can be easy with an unlimited budget, or even a personal shopper. But the majority of the general public must shop on a budget, which can seemingly make it challenging to look stylish. However, savvy shoppers know to upgrade a wardrobe without spending a fortune.
The fashion resource Who What Wear commissioned award-winning financial planner Pete Dunn to calculate just how much a person should be allotting to his or her wardrobe. The magic number Dunn came up with was 5 percent. Therefore, a person making $40,000 per year should be spending no more than $2,000 per year, or roughly $166 per month, on clothing. That may not seem like much, but with some smart shopping it can be enough.
Shop trendy, but affordable
Retailers such as Target, Zara, H&M, Everlane, and more offer pieces that focus on current fashion trends but at deeper discounts than high-end shops. While shoppers may not be walking out with designer duds, they will benefit from similarly cut and styled pieces and accessories that are still on point with the trends.
Shop discount retailers
Another option is to frequent discount retailers that offer name-brand merchandise at significant savings. Stores such as TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Saks Off 5th may get the over-stock of other stores that they then sell for less. Many of these items may be a season or two late, but can still yield very fashionable pieces. If someone favors a certain designer or name brand, it may be sold in these shops at a fraction of the cost of other stores.
Stick to classic styles
Fill a wardrobe with staples that will never go out of style, such as dark jeans, little black dresses, peacoats, classically cut blazers, a good pair of slacks, and similar pieces. These can be embellished with accessories that meet the current trends. Mix old and new pieces as they are acquired, and slowly weed out pieces that are worn out or no longer meet your needs.
Consider consignment shops
Many deals can be found inside consignment shops. Such shops stock many different pieces, often at very low prices. These stores are great for people who appreciate vintage styles and/or those who want to add an accessory, say a high-priced purse, to an outfit without breaking the bank.
Look for fit and function
Sometimes it's best to invest in one well-made piece instead of spending the same amount on 10 less expensive items. Smart shoppers know how to pick and choose among foundation components of a wardrobe.
Building an impressive and stylish wardrobe can take a little time, but it's achievable even on small budgets.