(Broke Girl's Guide bloggers Erin Bunch and Michelle Vick talk shop!)
Just because we're "broke" doesn't mean we abstain from shopping. After all, looking the part is more than half the battle, so we can't be strutting around town in the same things we wore back when mom and dad paid the tab. Dress for the job you want, as they say! And while we may not be able to keep pace with the high-dollar-dressers at, say, Vogue, we can approximate their posh looks and present ourselves as well-styled without spending designer dollars. Here are a few tricks that we've picked up over the years to help transform a starter-salary wardrobe into a million-dollar lookbook.
1. When something you want is a little out of the impulse-purchase price range, leave it in the store (or in your online shopping cart) for at least 24 hours. If you're still thinking about it after a timeout, it'll likely be worth the purchase price, and if it's still in stock, we figure it's meant to be. We've saved ourselves a lot of money this way -- you'd be amazed at how often your appetite for an item decreases with a little time.
2. When you buy something, make sure it works with what you already have. A $50 dress can turn into a $200 purchase if you need shoes and jewelry to go along with it!
3. Spend the extra money to get things tailored. It's a good investment because you'll get way more use out of well-tailored pieces in the long run.
4. Don't just buy something because it's on sale. Ask yourself if you'd pay full price for the same item. If so, buy it and treat yourself to a little something extra with the money you saved!
5. Spend more money on classic items you'll wear all the time (ex: jeans, a blazer, a great bag) and less money on trendier things that you may get sick of in a year. Trendy items should be purchased via fast fashion houses (H&M, F21, etc.) since it won't matter if they fall apart after a season -- you'll never wear them again!
6. Look for promo codes before you buy anything online. You can just google the name of the retailer along with "promo code" to find what's available.RetailMeNot is a good site for this as well.
7. Do the bulk of your shopping via the Broke Girl's Guide deal feed! We round up the best in flash sales and online deals DAILY.
8. Take the price of something and divide it by the number of times you think you'll wear it this year. If that price comes out below $10, it's a good buy!
9. Oftentimes, quality is in the details, and things like buttons can really betray an item's pricetag. You can easily remedy this by replacing them with nicer-looking buttons, which you can purchase online or at a fabric store.
10. In terms of making an entire outfit appear more expensive, it's all about the way the look is pulled together. Layering is key, keeping the highest-quality items to the outside of the outfit. If your dress is cheap, add a belt and a blazer -- Zara's blazers always look good, and they're very affordable. We also always suggest investing in shoes and bags as those are harder to "fake" than clothing items. The Outnet is our go-to for designer shoes on a budget, though we've also found many a gem in local vintage stores.
11. We find it works best to shop fast fashion stores (H&M, Forever21) when you DON'T have a specific item in mind, and when you're actually just looking from piece to piece for something that catches your eye. If you're in Forever 21 desperate for a dress to wear to your next event, you're likely to end up with something you don't love.
12. If you can stand to buy things you're going to have to wait an entire season to wear, the smartest way to shop is at end-of-season sales. Get your bikinis in September and your coats in April!
13. We love a great shopping app, and right now we're crushing on Splurge. There are tons of others geared at saving you money, though, so get to downloading ASAP!
FOR MORE TIPS ON BEING FABULOUS AND TRENDY ON A TIGHT BUDGET, CHECK OUT BROKEGIRLSGUIDE.COM.
Miley Cyrus Wants to Make Out With Who?!