Looking good doesn’t need to cost a fortune. If your current excuse for not looking your best is that you don’t have the money, then it’s time to rethink your approach to fashion and style. In this post, we’ll be sharing some tips that can help you to look great without breaking the bank and even to wear some of the big-name brands like Walmart, Macy’s, Bloomingdale and Nordstrom.
Shopping might often be frowned on as a waste of time and money – but there’s an art to it. Master this art and you can dress like a Hollywood celeb on nowhere near the salary.
Fortunately, this is an art that can be taught!
Some Tips to Looking Good for Less
The first question you need to ask is what kind of clothes look good to begin with. Is it true that buying an expensive outfit from Macy’s is necessarily going to look better than getting something from the thrift store?
Well, it depends!
You could buy yourself a beautiful tailored suit from Bloomingdale, but that won’t necessarily be nicer than a much cheaper one. One reason for this is that the fit is actually more important than the make. Often, the best way to get a good fit is to buy clothing that is a size smaller than you normally would. This may sound counterintuitive, but it is advice that’s shared by many different fashion gurus and bloggers, including I Am Alpha M.
Wearing something a little tighter can help to accentuate your best features and while you might think that a baggy outfit will hide a larger-than-ideal stomach, the reality is that it will usually just hang and thereby make you look larger .
Another tip is that you can buy an old outfit and then have it taken in by a tailor, rather than having something tailor made which is much more expensive. A high quality, second-hand suit that has been taken in will look much better than a brand-new suit that doesn’t fit right!
That said, there are reasons to buy better quality. While you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on tops, you should also avoid going to whatever your cheapest local option is. Most of us have a store nearby that we can go to when we want tops for $5-$10 and sometimes these will even feature quite stylish designs! It can be tempted to rely purely on these stores for our outfits.
But the reality is that shopping this way will have a visible impact on the quality of your clothes. This can be very subtle but it is noticeable in the vibrancy of the dyes used, in the quality of the materials and in the fit and finish. Can you look at someone and instantly tell if their clothes cost $10 or $100? No. But it does register on some unconscious level and it does all ‘add up’ to create a sense that someone is a little better dressed even if you can’t quite put your finger on why.
Another consideration in this regard is just how long the clothes are going to last. Often, if you buy cheaper clothes then you’ll find that they start to go ‘bobbly’ much sooner and this makes them look a lot more tired a lot more quickly. It’s at this point that you can start to look less stylish because of the money you saved and the corners you cut.
You can look great while spending a lot less than the celebs – but there is a cut-off point at which clothes start to look like the amount they cost you.
Top Tips to Buy Better Clothes for Less
Fortunately, there are ways you can get these most attractive clothes for a lot less cash.
One example is simply to shop in the sales. Most stores – even established ones like Macy’s and Bloomingdale and certainly places like Walmart – will have regular sales that you can take advantage of. And of course, there are certain times of year when everywhere is going to be parting with stock at lower prices. The most famous example is Black Friday which has reached the point of being a global phenomenon.
Unfortunately, if you visit Walmart on Black Friday, there’s a good chance that you’re going to be stampeded into a paste on the floor. Instead then, consider buying some outfits online which will cost you a fraction of the usual price and will still look great.
Another tip is to try outlet stores that sell at a reduced price. Or why not buy abroad where clothes will often cost less? I’m not recommending that you travel abroad in order to buy clothes as this certainly isn’t a way to save money. What I am suggesting though, is that if you are going travelling, this would then be a great time to also pick up some clothes.
Heading to England for a holiday any time soon? Thanks to Brexit, the dollar is now worth a lot more over there and clothes that were once rather expensive are now much more affordable. Better yet, if you visit the excellent Bicester Village outlet center (which is a 40 minute train journey from London), then you’ll be able to get your clothes at massively reduced rates.
How to Create a Strategic Plan of Attack
It’s not just where and when you buy though, it’s also what you buy and how.
That is to say, that if you have a good strategy for how you want to dress, then you can again save money.
For example, learn to save money on the items that really don’t matter. Those super cheap stores are just fine for buying gym clothes, for buying pyjamas and for buying underwear. Why does it matter?
The other tip is to consider your ‘capsule wardrobe’. In other words, create a few different outfits and then think about how the items from each of those outfits can be recombined in different ways to create a slew of different options.
By re-using clothes this way, you can make a few outfits go much further. And by spending money on the few items that really matter, you can create a much better look.
Another tip is to aim for quality over quantity. It’s far preferable to have a few really nice jumpers, belts, trousers etc. and then to repeat these in various different combinations. People don’t notice when you repeat your outfit as much as you probably think and it’s also generally true that the people we’re trying to impress most are the people that we don’t already know – and who thus aren’t already familiar with our outfits!
Some items really do deserve to have a bit more spent on them meanwhile.
For starters, accessories are very important because these can really improve the look of any outfit. Men should spend some money on a high quality watch, shoes and belt and they’ll find that adding these items will instantly dress up a casual outfit and make it look a lot more impressive. For women, the same goes for shoes, jewellery, bags and scarves.
Other items that are worth spending a bit more on are:
Jeans – These will be worn incredibly often and so it’s well-worth getting a decent pair that will smarten up an otherwise casual outfit.
Coat – Your coat goes over all your other layers and as such, it’s always going to be visible. A decent leather coat is something that will last you a lifetime and get a huge amount of use, so it’s worth spending a bit more on.
One last tip when trying to save money is to avoid going for the latest in what’s in fashion. The newest fashions will tend to cost more and you can’t be sure what is going to survive the test of time. You can get some fantastic timeless classics from the likes of Nordstrom and Bloomingdale, so focus on that rather than getting whatever is on the catwalks. If something sticks around and you buy it just after it is the latest thing, then you’ll find that you can get it for considerably less.
Using all these tips, you should find that you can dress highly fashionably for less.
This means shopping for deals on fashion, by looking online, by going for sales and by buying from overseas. At the same time though, it also means choosing when and how to spend the big bucks when you do and creating a strategy for what you’re going to wear and how you’re going to make the most out of it.
If you can do all that, then you’ll find you can massively upgrade your look without spending any more than you are already. And remember the last part of the puzzle – you. You need to take the effort to iron your clothes and present them neatly and you likewise need to look after your own appearance with the necessary grooming. Look after your hair and your skin. Men: shave. Women: shop for deals on high quality makeup.
Looking amazing doesn’t have to break the bank!