Don't fall into the trap of thinking you cannot look great without spending tons of money on clothes. With some amazing and easy to use tips, you can dress well for cheap when your budget is limited.
There are many simple ways to afford beautiful fashion even if you don't want to spend too much. Think outside the box to easily renew your wardrobe with fabulous pieces that help you look your best without breaking the bank.
If you focus on buying and wearing quality clothing instead of having too many clothes, you will not only lower your ecological footprint but also improve your fashion style drastically.
Look your best effortlessly with these 20 easy tips to dress well for cheap you need to know.
1. Don't buy from expensive brands
It might seem obvious but a lot of people think that buying fancy pieces will help them have a great style. On the contrary, that's what you do when you don't know much about fashion.
To dress well for cheap, don't shop for expensive clothing. It's a simple idea but sometimes very difficult to resist the urge of spending your monthly budget on upscale brands.
2. Make conscious wardrobe choices
Adopting a more sustainable and ethical approach to fashion doesn't necessarily mean that you have to invest more money into building your wardrobe.
For budget-friendly fashionistas, the first step is to avoid expensive fashion in favor of more conscious wardrobe choices.
3. Avoid high-fashion
A lot of celebrities like Meghan Markle wear luxury pieces from high-fashion designers, and consumers are tempted to purchase the same expensive outfits.
Don't be seduced by high fashion. You need to be more mindful of your purchasing decisions when your budget is limited.
It's very unlikely that a woman that wants to dress well for cheap would be able to purchase the same expensive outfits worn by A-list celebrities and social media personalities.
When you have a limited budget, opt for cheaper sustainable alternatives. Think outside the box to build a beautiful wardrobe without spending any more on clothes than you do now.
4. Keep your look minimal
The best way to save money on clothes and protect the planet at the same time is to buy fewer clothes overall. Try to think more about the consequences behind each of your purchasing decisions.
If you don't want to spend too much, move away from excessive consumerism by keeping your look minimal. Limit the number of clothes you own and adopt a minimalist approach to fashion.
5. Invest in the essentials
Simple fashion aesthetics are good for the eye, the planet, and your budget. Invest in classic and timeless pieces to keep your look minimal and original.
Oftentimes, less is more. Pick versatile pieces that you can combine easily into different outfits. It will improve your fashion style over time. Only purchase what you need, and essentials for your wardrobe.
6. Look for affordable and sustainable brands
Instead of shopping for premium and expensive designer brands, look for affordable and sustainable alternatives. Research fashion brands and look for your favorite once you know what you should be aiming for.
Try to find out how and where they make their clothes, how they measure their sustainability progress, and what's behind the price markups on each clothing piece sold.
7. Ask questions about your clothes
Make better brand choices to dress well for cheap. Seek out which clothing brand is the best for you, which one is the most affordable and doing better for the planet, people, and animals.
It's easy to forget how the clothes you’re wearing were made and how they got to you. Before buying any new clothing, ask the important questions.
8. Use brand directories
Check each brand's website for more information about factories, materials, policies, and values. Try to find out about the quality and eco-friendliness of their clothes.
Or use the many resources available that rate fashion labels and make it easy for you to dress well for cheap, such as sustainable fashion brand directories.
9. Choose quality over quantity
Don't buy fast fashion of cheaply made clothing. Instead, choose more durable and high-quality pieces that not only look beautiful and feel comfortable but also last longer.
Think carefully about how you spend your money on clothes. Take a step back and invest in a smaller number of high-quality pieces, instead of many garments that you only wear just a few times.
Over time, you will spend less on clothes in the long run because well-made garments don’t wear out as fast as cheaper ones with a much lower quality.
10. Check the fabric quality
Whenever you can, check the fabric quality of new clothes before buying them to ensure that they are well-made.
Look for high-quality materials, natural and organic, such as linen, hemp, jute, ramie, or recycled such as rPET, regenerated nylon, recycled cotton, or regenerated cellulosic fibers like lyocell, modal, cupro.
11. Go for durable clothes
Choose fabrics that are stretch-resistant, that keep their strength and shape after being pulled out. Prioritize a soft hand feel, and comfort to avoid red, irritated, and itchy skin.
Lightweight fabrics tend to be cheaper but are also less resistant and sometimes see-through. Fabric weight is a great sign of strong structure and can help you pick more durable, and long-lasting pieces.
Choose textiles that are made with a tight weave or knit. Loose fabrics tend to tear and break easily just after wearing them a few times.
12. Avoid imperfections
By looking closely at a garment, you can spot poor stitching, mismatching, asymmetry, and bad cuts. To dress well for cheap, wear a few excellent, well-made clothes.
Before buying any new clothing piece, try to look for any irregularities, defects, and other details caused by low fiber strength or poor construction.
13. Buy second-hand clothes
Another simple way of dressing well for cheap is to buy second-hand clothes. Thrift shopping and vintage clothing are gaining massive popularity for good reasons.
It's an affordable solution to expensive clothes when your budget is limited. At your local thrift store, resale shop, or online marketplaces, you can find cheap, stylish, and unique pieces that nobody else is wearing.
Vintage and second-hand clothes are ideal for those that want to shop sustainably on a budget. They require no additional resources to produce and reduce textile waste ending up in landfills.
14. Swap clothes with friends
This one is a no brainer. Swap clothes with your friends and family to renew your wardrobe without spending too much. Organizing a clothing swap party at your house over the weekend is a very fun activity.
It's a great opportunity to get rid of the clothes you don't wear in your closet, as well as refresh your wardrobe with new looks for the coming season.
You can also search for clothing swap groups in your area on Meetup if you don’t have any friends in your size to trade clothes with or use any of the popular clothes sharing apps.
15. Rent new clothes
Clothing rental is a great solution to dress well for cheap. More and more people resort to renting new clothes for special occasions or renewing their wardrobe.
Renting new clothes often is a better option, especially during pregnancy or for weddings.
Some fashion rental companies even offer a subscription for customers wanting to refresh their clothes more regularly.
16. Make your clothes
You can create stylish and unique pieces of clothing if you know how to cut and sew. It's possible to make something truly extraordinary and unique at home.
You can even use parts of or entire old garments to make something new and more valuable through upcycling, a more responsible alternative to buying new clothes at the nearest mall.
17. Shop during the offseason
When you have a small clothing budget, you can't afford to spend money on expensive clothes. But there are still simple ways to wear beautiful fashion for less.
You can find ethical clothing at more manageable prices with some very effective hacks.
For example, you can shop during seasonal sales. Many brands need to swap their inventory before the new season and reduce their prices.
You can find much cheaper sweaters, coats, and jackets in Spring as well as affordable tanks, shorts, skirts, and swimsuits in Fall.
18. Use flash sales sites
Another way to dress well for cheap is to find amazing deals by visiting flash sales sites. They buy new clothing and accessories in bulk every day at discounted prices.
Flash sale sites offer limited-time sale events and hold no inventory. They help smaller fashion brands increase their visibility and get rid of inventory quickly.
Some amazing flash sales sites to find excellent deals daily include Zulily, Gilt, Beyond the Rack, HauteLook, and Rue La La.
19. Follow your favorite brands
Be on the lookout for sporadic discounting from your favorite brands and retailers. Sales happen numerous times throughout the year.
Many companies distribute voucher codes and digital coupons. Just redeem special deals and discounts on their site to save a large chunk of money.
Follow your favorite brands as they often make special promotions and give discount codes on their social media channels. You can even benefit from the first customer discount or get a store card.
And don't forget to sign up for email newsletters. Most online stores use them to send exclusive deals and discounts.
20. Shop locally
To dress well for cheap, think of creative ways to support local communities. Get creative with how you spend your money.
You can find affordable clothing at local sales, garage sales, fashion fairs, fashion shows, auctions, flea markets, farmer's markets, and town markets.
About the Author: Alex Assoune
Alex Assoune (MS) is a global health and environmental advocate. He founded Panaprium to inspire others with conscious living, ethical, and sustainable fashion. Alex has worked in many countries to address social and environmental issues. He speaks three languages and holds two Master of Science degrees in Engineering from SIGMA and IFPEN schools.
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