Monday, November 20, 2017

Styling On A Budget

 | "Whoever said that money doesn't buy happiness didn't know where to shop." -Blair Waldorf

In my many years of loving fashion and the creativity that comes with it, I have picked up a few tricks and techniques on how to afford the style I want without breaking the bank. Let's face it: we all have had that designer coat or that pair of shoes that we could never afford to actually own but that plagues our subconscious forevermore, eternally haunting us with its perfection and unattainability. I get it. RIP to those long-lost and yet never truly forgotten dreams. 

While there will always be specific items we probably will never have the privilege of owning, budgeting doesn't have to come at the expense of your preferred style. As I am a firm believer in wearing what you like and what makes you feel most confident, I have developed how I've spent on clothing over the years to allow me to build a wardrobe I love while still saving money anywhere I can. I hope these techniques are helpful to you and that you find some inspiration to start styling what you love! 

1. Invest in the right pieces. Perhaps more important than any other money-saving technique, I've always found that staying fashionable and trendy on a budget is about investing in specific items and saving anywhere else you can. For this post's outfit, I specifically chose some very affordable clothing and paired it with a few of my nicest pieces. This skirt, for example, is a simple black a-line skirt from Forever 21 that probably cost me about $10 when I bought it years ago. And I put it with everything. Throwing on a plain black skirt and tights and pairing it with a more expensive top creates an adorable look on any day. I'm not lying when I say I wear this skirt constantly, and I am still able to do so many different, unique outfits with it. For this particular look, I paired it with another affordable piece: a simple burgundy (and super cozy) Mossimo sweater from Target. To completely transform such a simple look into something classic and chic, I added one of the nicest pieces I own: none other than my beloved Burberry scarf.

Let's get one thing straight: I am not, by any means, encouraging every person who reads this to go spend hundreds of dollars on a scarf from Burberry. If you couldn't care less about the designer pieces, that doesn't bother me -- but let's not judge those of us who are living for their favorite (money-draining) brands, because let me be honest: Burberry has blessed me with the best item in my wardrobe and I view it as just as precious to me as a first-born child would be, am I right ladiessss...? (*insert hair-flip emoji here*)

But in seriousness, I am so glad I invested in something so high-quality because I know that it is never going to go out of style and that I will be wearing it with all sorts of looks for years to come. Adding such a fine piece to an outfit otherwise made up of relatively cheaper clothing has the power to completely transform it and make it look much more high-end than it actually is. As a general rule, the items I would recommend investing in are bags, shoes, and staple accessories like this scarf. I say this only because all of those things are going to be added on to multiple outfits and will always boost the quality of the look significantly. Don't get me wrong - I love a good designer top, but you are always going to get more wear out of pieces you can put with a large variety of affordable clothing. It's all about spending where you should be and saving on all the rest.

2. Poshmark is your friend. In complete honesty, Poshmark has changed the game for me when it comes to shopping. Sometimes I won't want to splurge on a more expensive piece, or an item I want is out of stock, or I'm desperately trying to be a total copycat and find the exact shirt that one of my favorite celebrities wore last weekend and I just can't rest until I can style it, too. In all of those cases, I go to Poshmark. (In case you've never heard of it, it's essentially an app that lets users sell items from their closet that they no longer want or have never worn before and buy from or trade with other sellers.) It's 100% safe - your payment is not released to the seller until you have received your item and confirm that you're happy with it. I have purchased multiple pieces from there, primarily items I wanted to save on or something I really wanted that was sold out everywhere else. 

There are plenty of other money-saving apps that you can also use; for example, I bought the pale pink Zara trench coat that I styled over this outfit off of eBay and saved a lot of money. (Yes, I am aware that Zara is not exactly a brand that necessitates a source other than the direct retailer to purchase from so that you won't have to go bankrupt, but I saved money where I could... don't judge me! But also, I'm pretty sure this coat was out of stock. So. I won in the end. That's all that matters.) Buying from other sellers with apps like Poshmark makes a world of difference when it comes to saving money and getting exactly what you want.

And yes, if you were wondering, I did find that gorgeous studded Topshop blouse that Ashley Benson wore to an awards show and yes, it is still very loved and living happily in my wardrobe. 

3. Buy only what you love. It's as simple as this: buy what you love and don't buy anything you're unsure about. When you find a piece while out shopping that you try on and absolutely adore, chances are you're going to get a lot of wear out of it. On the other hand, you might find something that you definitely like but can't imagine yourself wearing too much. My advice is to pass every time you have that feeling. I know from experience that the pieces you aren't crazy about end up hanging eternally at the back of your closet until you remember them one day and, realizing you've never worn them at all, decide to give them away. It is so much better to save and pass up unnecessary purchases so that you can spend on your favorite items and have a wardrobe made up of only pieces that you absolutely adore.

4. Know your style. To continue further on that last point, it is so important to know your own style and what you love. For example, I have a sense of style that is extremely feminine and I am very aware of it. I love variety and I love adventuring with new looks within my taste in fashion, but I know that I am not going to wear something that is super casual or excessively sporty very often. I know when I buy chic boots or a structured coat or virtually any piece of clothing that is light pink that I am going to get a lot of wear out of it. The same goes for brands that offer to work with me: if their pieces match my sense of style, I am totally on board, but if they only have items I would never purchase on my own, it's not an option to me. Staying true to my style and identity is extremely important to me, and on a broader scale I think that knowing one's style can benefit anyone in helping them decide what they should spend on.

I hope these tips are helpful and that knowing where to save seems a bit more concentrated now! I promise you, there's no feeling quite like knowing you've just gotten your hands on the same designer shoes your favorite character wore in last week's episode.

xx Erin Nicole


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