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BCBGMAX studded pumps, eShakti lace pencil skirt, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Lucky Brand suede top (all own) and cape hoodie c/o Tricia Tanaka

Saving by adding second hand clothing to your wardrobe is not only a great way to reduce waste and protect the environment. It is also a great way to stay on your fashion budget. After reading these easy-to-follow tips you will know how to identify what works so you can create a stunning wardrobe and save.

    1. How to buy high-end fashion on a budget
    2. How to look well-dressed on a budget
      • Don’t fall for a high end brand
      • Know your brands
      • A key to effortless style is fit
      • Size charts changed over the decades
      • Use a band measure to save time in the fitting room
      • Know the value of your fav designers and brands
      • Fashion on a budget
    3. A tweak can give an old dress a new look
    4. Examples of stylish looks under $150
    5. Final remarks on saving with second hand fashion
    6. Top of the World Style linkup party No 216

Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post.

How to buy high-end fashion on a budget

Many of us love thrifting and conseigning. It’s the hunter in us, the thrill of a great find, saving on expensive clothes, or just the need to stay on a fashion budget, while having to dress for success, who knows. Second hand stores often have perfect, barely worn clothes that we could not afford first hand. And yes, we feel good about shopping there because recycling and reducting waste is also good for the environment. We all have different reasons.

How to look well-dressed on a budget

When you have no deadline, thrifting and/or conseigning are great options to save on building an awesome functioning wardrobe. Browse shops in upscale neighborhoods. Here you typically find higher end brands or designers than those in other areas of town.


over 50 years old fashion blogger in lace skirt with suede peplum top and hoodie jacket

style blogger in neon conseigned yellow top witgh black skirt and designer cape
BCBGMAX studded pumps, Lucky Brand suede top, Hermes collier de chien bangle (all second hand), eShakti lace pencil skirt, citrin and carved bone necklace (all own) and grassroot designer cape hoodie c/o Tricia Tanaka. See linked post for a review and where to buy.

Don’t fall for a high end brand

It is important to try everything on to see how an item looks on you. Just because you love a Chanel jacket doesn’t mean that it is flattering for you body shape. Recall you don’t want a hem line at the widest part of your body. You can determine your body type with this free quiz.

Know your brands

Make a list of brands and designers that produce pieces in your personal style and look for them. If you are lucky to find a Betsy Johnson, but your style is dramatic or classic, this Bohemian Style find will just take up real estate in your closet and you will never wear these beautiful clothes.

Recall wearing designer does not equal to effortlessly stylish.

If you don't look great in the clothes, it doesn't matter that it is a high-end brand. You look just expensive, not effortlessly stylish. #dress4success Click To Tweet

A key to effortless style is fit

Never buy something that doesn’t fit. Therefore, try everything on. Be aware that the pieces can be from brands that you never had your hands on before (but are on your wish list), or even from other countries, each of which might have their own system of sizing. Do I have to mention that the previous owner may have had the piece altered?

And yes, even high-end fashion can shrink when the owner failed to follow the care instructions.

Size charts changed over the decades

When you are interested in fashion history, you may already know that even sizing systems in the United States have shifted over time! Also handmade items don’t have size tags. And you never know, whether the piece of your choice had been tailored to fit a tinier women than the size tag pretends. Thus, avoid looking at the size tag as the plague.

Use a band measure to save time in the fitting room

In thriftstores, the merchandise often is ordered by price rather than size. Thus, it is easier to find your size in consignment stores because their staff sort clothes by broad sizes – typically S, M, L, and XL. Recall size is just a number.


side view of business casual skirt, top jacket work outfit

back view of work look with long hoodie cape and lace skirt

Outfit details of the necklace, top and bangle

Nicole of High Latitude Style in fall office attire in black and yellow
BCBGMAX ankle strap pumps, eShakti above-the-knee skirt, statement necklace, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Lucky Brand peplum top (all own) and caplet c/o Tricia Tanaka


Thus, to save time and avoid frustrations caused by too large or too small items, come prepared. A measure band is a great aid. Lay the item flat and take the measures for shoulder width, breast, waist, upper and lower hip as well as length.

Multiply the measures with 2 and you have the circumfence.

Compare these numbers with your body measures plus 1-2 inch for ease. If the values of the clothing agree with those of your body try the piece on. If not, there is no point in going thru the hassle of undressing, trying on, undressing and dressing again even when you had dressed for clothes shopping.

Know the value of your fav designers and brands

In my tips on scoring high on eBay, I point out to watch the bidding market prior to start buying or bidding to find out whether your wish wardrobe addition is worth its price. Of course, you can’t do this when shopping in a second hand store. However, you should know what your fav designers and brands cost first hand. With this price tag in mind add the upper most price you are willing to pay for a pre-owned jacket, dress, pair of pants, etc. that looks like new. Stick to it with respect to the upper limit. However, always judge the wear and make up your mind whether the wear and tag are in sync. Even $20 for a Gucci scarf, for instance, are too expensive when the scarf has holes or is ribbed.

A tweak can give an old dress a new look

When I saw the dress my first thought was:

To look ageless in a lace dress like this, all it would need is to shorten the underlining to create some mystery around the legs.

Thus, when I came home I could not wait to do the measurements to get it just above the knee.  After some cutting and sewing the dress got a modern look.

Sometimes a little alteration is all a second hand dress needs to be awesome again. #secondhandclothes #thriftingblogger Click To Tweet
senior women in long black lace dress with denim jacket
Lace dress with Great Northwest denim jacket, Harley Davidson booties, pearl necklace and Hermes collier de chien belt (all own). Illustrating the nice twirl of the lace dress


Did you know that there are also other DIY posts on this blog? For instance, how to make a great skirt from an old shirt.

Cut off is cut off. Click To Tweet


Examples of stylish looks under $150

Below are example outfits for inspiration. The clothes I wear in each of these looks are below $150 per outfit.

second hand outfit with pleated polka dot skirt striped jacket patent leather pumps
Jones New York striped white and navy blue cardigan, Lauren Ralph Lauren pleated polka dot skirt, LK Bennett patent leather court pumps ($50) (all second hand)


influencer in budget friendly pants, sweater and scarf found on sales
The GNW Luxe sweater was 50% off, the Oscar de la Renta scarf was a thrift find for $5 (!) and the pants were auctioned off-season on eBay new for less than a fourth of the retail price. Clark booties (all own)


If you liked these tips share with your friends

I found these awesome tips how to stay on a budget and buy great clothes. #budgetfashion Click To Tweet

Then they owe you! 😉

Final remarks on saving with second hand fashion

Finally, to really save and stay on your budget
When thrifting or consigning buy only name brand items that you have on your wish-list. #saving Click To Tweet

Get a list of brands to look for as a cheat sheet to put into your purse or store on your phone to have it handy next time you are thrifting.  You also may like to read this general guide on how you can save when shopping.


Don’t let the right outfit be a random thing. Wear the right look in every situation by looking up what to wear when in How to Dress for Success in Midlife. Buy my book now.

When you like this summer work outfit, please feel free to pin the photos to your Pinterest board.

BTW, don’t forget to sign up for my free newsletter for posts, how-tos, tips and special style subjects!!

Top of the World Style Linkup party

Welcome to the 216th Top of the World Style linkup party! Great you are here. The awardees are:

Top of the World Style Winner Erika of Rejoice for the Day
Erika of Rejoice for the Day became Top of the World Style Winner. Photo from her post


Top of the World OOTD Readers' Fav Shelbee in traditional American white summer look
Shelbee of Shelbee on the Edge became Top of the World OOTD Readers’ Fav. Photo from her post


Stylist’s tip: pants and shirt are a great twist on the wearing white in summer American tradition.

Top of the World OOTD My Fav Jill of Doused in Pink
Jill of Doused in Pink became Top of the World OOTD My Fav. Photo from her post


Congrats Ladies! Grab your buttons for your awards page or sidebar.

See these awesome outfit ideas at the Top of the World Style #linkup party. #OOTD Click To Tweet

Click here to enter the party room

I just joined the Top of the World Style #linkup party. #timelessstyle Click To Tweet

I occassionally take co-hosts. If you are interested in co-hosting email me.

To host your own party, start here.

Photos of me: G. Kramm

© 2013-2021 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Ruth

    I am all about second hand shopping! Top name brands and textures are the best to buy thrifted on a budget.

  2. donnadoesdresses

    I’m all for this way of shopping – I get far superior quality clothing and I’m being thrifty and helping to conserve the resources of the planet!! Beautiful pictures, Nicole!! Donna 🧚🏻‍♀️❤️🙏

  3. Theresa

    I’ve been carrying a tape measure with me for years on my shopping trips. If something doesn’t measure correctly when I’m at a rack, it never makes it to the dressing room! Saves a lot of time. Also, I shop at a lot of flea markets and vintage clothing shows where there often is nowhere to try on. Having a tape measure really helps there as well.

  4. Just adore that lacy hem on your skirt and the pop of yellow. I should try this when I go clothes shopping, it does make sense to measure it before getting undressed, especially if you only find 1 or 2 items you want to quickly try on before hitting the next store.


  5. Erika

    Great thrifting tips! I’ve been guilty of buying something purely for the brand name and then never wearing it because it just wasn’t my style.
    And thanks for the Top of the World Style feature. Love the link up! <3

  6. Jodie

    I just love preloved clothes and thrift shopping. You ought to join us in the #thriftedchicstylechallenge on Instagram next month, Nicole. You’d be perfect for it. The details are in my highlights right now, and will be posted when it gets closer!!

  7. dousedinpink

    These are great tips for shopping second hand! I’ve been caught up in buying high end pieces that don’t look good on me just because of the price. Thank you so much for the feature! What a nice surprise this morning!

    Jill – Doused in Pink

  8. Great tip about measuring the clothing! How come I had never thought of that – quite brilliant. I don’t own any high end fashion but I’d sure like to. Second hand would definitely be the way to go for me and my budget!

  9. shelbeeontheedge1

    Such a great post on second hand shopping tips! Ever since I started working in a consignment shop, I am way more inclined to shop second hand these days. The thrill of the hunt is the best part, I think! I love this outfit you are sharing today, too. That slip style skirt is so pretty and your shoes are magnificent! Thanks so much for the feature today. What a lovely surprise!


  10. mummabstylish

    Some great tips here Nicole, glad you shared them. Love the outfit you look fab. Thanks for hosting. Jacqui Mummabstylish

Comments are closed.