10 Tips for Being Fashionable on a Budget

Last Updated on November 16, 2022 by Ellen Christian

Is being fashionable on a budget possible? Or do you feel you must go all out on big-ticket items to stay in fashion? Here are some tips that work for me.

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a woman holding a stack of clothes looking at her phone

10 Tips for Being Fashionable on a Budget

I love to shop and add new pieces to my wardrobe, but I also need to be aware of my clothing budget. Instead of going all out and blowing my entire budget in one shopping trip, I find that it helps to follow a few of these tips when I want to go shopping.

It’s still possible to look stylish and well put together without using credit cards or spending all of your money. 

Everyone has their idea of a clothing budget. Some people have a larger budget than others. But, by following a few of these tips for being fashionable on a budget, you’ll be able to save money while putting together a fashionable wardrobe.

a woman with dark hair wearing a classic grey shirt

Buy classics

Stick with classic colors and styles. Basic black will always be in style.  Go for black, khaki, navy, and dark brown as your primary fashion colors. 

It works well for pants, skirts, dresses, and jackets.  These colors easily match other colors when you put an outfit together.

Accent with trendy pieces

Accent with the “in” colors.  Maybe neon pink is the in color right now, but that doesn’t mean it needs to dominate your wardrobe. 

Try a scarf, belt, or even a cotton top in a fashionable color and pair it with one of the classic pieces from your wardrobe.

person pressing a button on a washing machine

Machine washable fabrics

Buy machine-washable fabrics.  Dry cleaning costs can add up even if you do it at home.  Stick with machine washable or, at the very least, hand washable fabrics to save on your clothing care costs.

Shop Clearance

Shop on sales and clearance.  If you need to add a new piece to your wardrobe, make sure you buy by paying attention to the sales, and always check out the clearance racks at the back of the store to see if there’s anything there you can use.

Is being fashionable on a budget possible? Or do you feel you must go all out on big-ticket items to stay in fashion? Here are some tips that work for me.

Sign up for mailing lists

Sign up for your favorite store’s mailing lists.  If you’re totally in love with Nordstrom, sign up for their mailing list to know when to find the best deals.  Sometimes stores have member-only savings opportunities.

10 Tips for Being Fashionable on a Budget

Quality not quantity

Buy quality, not quantity.  While a $50 purse may be cheaper than a $150 one, chances are it won’t last near as long.  It’s better to have one very well-made item than three cheap imitations that fall apart and show their wear.

Shop second hand

Check second-hand options.  While it takes perseverance, you can find quality clothing at a fraction of the retail price at consignment stores.  If you look for classic styles, it’s possible to pick up some beautiful pieces secondhand.

a woman shopping for shoes

Don’t overbuy

You want to have what you need, but you don’t want to waste your money on too many of one item at the expense of another.  Decide how many cotton shirts you need and how many pairs of jeans. 

Buy what you need and use the remainder of your money on something else or a particular accessory to dress up an existing outfit.

two women shopping for clothes

Try it on

Always try on clothing before you buy it.  You may “know” you always wear a specific size, but if you buy it without trying it on, you risk losing the receipt and being unable to return it for the correct size.  It only takes a moment to try something on.

Go outlet shopping

Check out outlet shopping & off-brand stores like TJ Maxx for real deals.  You won’t find everything in every size, like consignment stores, but careful shopping can get you great deals.

Do you have any tips for being fashionable on a budget?

5 thoughts on “10 Tips for Being Fashionable on a Budget”

  1. Great tips, Ellen. I use #4 a lot. My body size doesn’t really change much, so I can go shopping at Macy’s at the end of the season and buy for next year.

    Land’s End has a section of their website called On the Counter. It’s part of their overstocks section. They update it weekly. I’ve gotten things for as little as $3 there.


  2. One way that I save money but try to stay in style is to make my own custom printed T-shirts. I will buy the shirt cheap at Walmart and then make my own art or use the art of a friend or even just funny words. I get so many compliments on my Tees and have even made some for friends!

  3. Great tips! The first thing I do when looking at clothes I like is check the label for dry cleaning. I only buy machine washables 🙂

  4. As I get older I’m opting more often for comfort over looking fashionable. Fortunately you can have both and I get such joy when I find items that are comfy, like dressy pants that feel like yoga pants. I hate shopping in person so go with my tried and true online stores, and make sure the fabrics I buy have plenty of stretch! I’ve even found awesome stretch jeans.


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