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Side view of above office outfit on a budget

Let me introduce you to 7 budget bloggers/fashionistas who are also very stylish and love fashion. Read their secrets to look effortlessly stylish without breaking the bank.



Being on a Budget Is Normal

We all know that we can spend every Dollar, Pound, Sterling, Euro, Rupia, etc. only once. This means that unless you are a millionaire or married to a millionaire, you will have to budget your money.

Best Budget Fashionistas’ Tips

Jo-Lynne Shane, Jo Lynne Shane:


I think the most important thing to consider is fit and proportion. No matter what the price tag of the outfit, if it fits well and flatters your proportions, you will look fashion-forward and in style.

Rachel Garay, Garay Treasures.

I can answer the question and that is that for me to stay in style on a budget I have to know what I want and need and plan on how to save money for those items, even if I don’t get the item until a year later. Sometimes it is easy to find something on a great sale and want it but it doesn’t often get used or feel like a staple. I tend to use my money and clothing budget on clothing or items I know are versatile and will look great without breaking the bank.


budget fashionista in thrifted sweater and booties
Outfit details: Eddie Bauer tweed skirt bought on sale with BCBG belt, second hand Ann Taylor sweater, layering tee bought on sale, GNW leopard print tight, Hermes collier de chien cuff, garnet necklace and earrings gift from a girlfriend, and Harley Davidson booties bought on eBay.

Adriennne Shublin, The Rich Life in Wine Country.

Splurge on quality foundational pieces that will last. Spend what you can on a good pair of black pants, great jeans, a wool coat or a leather jacket and undergarments. Make sure whatever you choose it’s a classic style and cut, not trendy.

I still have things in my closet – that I still wear regularly – that I purchased 10 or more years ago. On heavy rotation this winter is a Banana Republic camel coat I splurged on in 1996 (over $300). I had it altered a few years ago to modernize it and now no one would know it’s 20 years old!

As far as accessories go, buy the best handbag you can afford in a color and style that is versatile and won’t go out of style quickly. Something that you can carry with just about any outfit. A good quality bag will elevate your look.

Use jewelry, hats and scarves to change up your outfits. Great looking accessories can be found at reasonable prices these days – shop around and don’t forget to check out thrift and antique stores for vintage pieces.


Tif Fannia, Bright on a Budget

My most important advice for looking fashion-forward and in-style on a budget is to mix. Mix your low-end pieces with high-end pieces. For example, I found an authentic Louis Vuitton Speedy 25 that was only about 10 months old at a Clothes Mentor resale shop. It was in perfect condition and came with the hardware (lock and key), paperwork, box, and dust bag for less than half of retail price. I like to carry it with my Target and Old Navy outfits to kick them up a notch, even if they’re just a simple tee and jeans. Also, mix your new pieces with old pieces and your trendy pieces with your closet staples. You don’t need to buy a whole new outfit to switch up your style. If you start with a new, trendy piece of clothing and build your outfit around it with older pieces from your closet, you’ll be surprised with what a stylish outfit you can create. By following my mixing rule, and shopping sales, thrift stores, and even my own closet, I’ve developed my own affordable style.


closeup view of statement belt
Zoom-in on the BCBG belt and statement necklace.

Molly Stillman, Still being Molly.


My advice for looking fashion forward on a budget would be to invest in key statement pieces and keep everything else simple and basic. Don’t feel like you need to splurge on t-shirts, blouses, etc. but by spending a little money on a GREAT pair of denim, a statement necklace, or a great pair of shoes, you’re really jazzing up your wardrobe without too much effort!

Sarah H., Sarah’s Real Life.

The big thing I’ve learned (through bad choices in my early 20s) ​is not to get sucked in to a “bargain” on a designer product. It can seem really exciting when you find a Marc Jacobs handbag or Tory Burch shoes on the clearance rack for $100, but try to ask yourself if you would have been interested if they weren’t on sale. The stuff that ends up on clearance is usually not that great. That’s why it didn’t sell. Buying things that were 85% off but aren’t really your style or don’t fit you well do NOT make you look fashion forward. They make you look like a fashion victim.

outfit with mixed high and low price items

budget fashionista in a mix of high end thrifted items and fast fashion
Eddie Bauer skirt, BCBG belt, leopard print tight, Harley Davidson booties, cashmere sweater over layering tee and statement necklace.

Lanae Bond, Modest Budget Belle.


I think one key piece of advice is building on what you already own. A lot of times I go into my closet and find out that some of my pieces look good with other things I own. For example, I have this cute teal cardigan that I would wear over a dress. I only used it for that particular dress and nothing else. But one day when I had to get ready for work, I looked at my plain white polo and I wanted to add a pop color with it. So I saw my teal cardigan and decided to wear it with my polo shirt. I could not believe the compliments I got by just doing something so simple!

If I do buy something I learned another key rule from my mother, check your closet before you go shopping. I remember one time where I actually bought the same shirt twice! So now I do an inventory of my closet to see what I have, just to make sure I am not buying the same exact thing or a lot of pieces that are similar.

Also looking at your wardrobe can help you figure out what you need or what you could use to build up on it. Buying trending accessories, statement pieces, or even layers (cardigans or jackets) to add variety or flair to what you already own can build up a wardrobe. FYI, you can find a lot of cute accessories and layers from places Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, Modcloth, and H&M for a fraction of the price!

Fashion Budget Secrets in a Nutshell

Of course there are many more ways to save. For an ultimate saving guide check the post at the link. Let’s summarize the budget secrets spilled by these stylish bloggers.

  1. Fit is key.
  2. Splurge on the foundations, pieces you will have for a long time (e.g. black pants, accessories).
  3. look for designer brands in thrift shops and check antiques stores for jewelry.
  4. Be more minimalist on a budget by mixing low and high end; One key statement, everything else simple.
  5. Recognize when a sale is trap, and not a bargain.
  6. Plan your wardrobe: Know what you need, i.e. what is already in your closet.
  7. Don’t wear a thing always the same way. Shop your closet and use its full potential by trying out new combinations of pieces you already own.
  8. See your closet as a collection of which you are the curator.
  9. Download a fashion budgeting tool.

When you found these tips helpful share them with your friends. Then they owe you.

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Photos: G. Kramm

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