Frugal Fashion - 9 ways to look great without spending a lot

Here are my nine frugal fashion tips for dressing well and looking your best for less. How you shop for clothing can make a huge impact on how much you spend - learn how to dress great while saving money.

If you want to dress well and look stylish you have several choices. You can:

  • Buy the latest styles at the mall every season; and spend a lot of money.
  • Buy new very inexpensive clothes at discount stores every season (many of which will only last for one season before coming apart, stretching out, or looking bad in some other way because of poor quality materials and construction); and still spend more money than you would like.
  • Explore consignment shops and other alternative ways of shopping for frugal fashion bargains; buy on sale; and purchase clothes that are classic and well-made so that you can wear them for a longer time.

Lets take a look at some of the frugal fashion shopping methods that can enable you to look sharp and classic in quality-made clothing without over-spending.

1 Consignment shopping

My favorite frugal fashion tip is to shop clothing consignment stores. You can find some excellent bargains on great clothes at these resale outlets if you know what to look for.

2 Other alternative shopping options

Don't forget that there are many other options for fashion shopping besides malls and large retailers.

Similar to clothing consignment stores, but an even better frugal fashion deal is shopping at thrift stores. Often their items have been donated and they sell them to support a charitable organization such as Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity.

The Goodwill stores in my area have a set price for certain types of items - sweaters and shirts are all priced at $3.99 (and seniors 55 and over get a 25% discount off of that on Tuesdays!). I have found some really nice designer tops there for under $4! You can't beat that!

You can also find some great handmade and vintage items at Etsy. This is an especially good place to find quirky or unusual items.

Ebay is another frugal fashion option. Many of the items for sale on Ebay are still new and just didn't sell in the store.

Boho Fashion

3 Coupons and special deals

In your quest for frugal fashion, look online for coupons and special deals. You can often find special discounts at coupon websites. Type in the name of the store where you want to shop and “coupons” or “promotional codes” in your search engine and see what comes up.

I recently was getting ready to order three items online and saw that the shipping was going to be $16. I thought that was too much and decided to see if I could find a code that would get me free shipping. I searched by the store’s name and the words “promotional codes” and found a code that promised to save me 20% on my first item, 30% on my second item and 40% on my third item. Thinking this was too good to be true, I entered the code to see what happened. Sure enough, the amounts were adjusted as promised and I saved $45. on some things that I was going to pay full price for! That was very exciting! (I did still have to pay $16. for shipping, but didn’t mind anymore!)

Note: It is probably better if you search for your coupons or codes AFTER you have made your selections, otherwise, you might be tempted to buy extra items to qualify for a particular discount...

4 Sign up for mailing lists

Many clothing stores offer a mailing list through which they will notify you of upcoming sales and even send you coupons for a dollar amount or a percentage off the price of your purchase.

If there is a store that you love that is a bit out of your ideal clothing budget, this can be a great opportunity for you to save some money.

5 Dress your truth

Joining the Dressing Your Truth program has helped me to save a lot of money on clothing by teaching me what styles and colors work best for me. Through Dressing Your Truth you will learn to to tune in to your natural energy and discover what clothing and accessories will complement your type.

Knowing what to look for when I am shopping has saved me so much money and time by eliminating those 'mistake' purchases and helping me to zoom right in on the right thing whether I am shopping at a thrift store, online, or at the mall.

6 Dress like a French woman (invest in the basics)

French women have a reputation for always looking stylish. Their secret is to buy only a few pieces of the very best quality they can afford. Then they wear these classic pieces frequently (and for many years) updating with accessories as needed.

A few of the basics you should include in your wardrobe for this approach are:

  • Black (or other dark neutral) pants
  • Black (or other dark neutral) jacket
  • A perfect-fitting pair of jeans
  • A tailored white (or other light neutral) shirt
  • A cashmere sweater - the best quality you can afford
  • Fill in with inexpensive, more trendy pieces and stand-bys like simple t-shirts

7 Update last year’s wardrobe

There are many ways to update the clothes you wore last year (or the year before) for a fresh frugal fashion look this year. Borrow some fashion magazines from the library and go through them carefully to identify outfits that you like and see what the trends are. Keep an eye out for pieces that are similar to ones that you already own so you can get ideas of how to update your current wardrobe with the addition of accessories. Many times adding a belt or funky new necklace is just what you need to make that favorite, but slightly outdated outfit look fresh and new.

Here are some tips for updating your wardrobe for the current season:

  • To an older suit, add a blouse in the new “in” color of the season – this fall it is purple. 
  • Add a new fashionable belt to that skirt or pants that aren’t exactly cutting edge. 
  • If you have a well-made skirt in a fuller style that has gone out of fashion, a good tailor can easily make a straight or flared skirt into a pencil cut.

8 Take care of the clothes you have

Some families spend thousands of dollars a year on clothing, and while it is certainly frugal to cut back on your clothing budget, you can also save a lot of money by re-thinking the way you clean your clothes.

  • Keep your clothes free of nubs with a clothing shaver. One that I have found that works is the Remington RPFS-100 Fuzz Away Fabric Shaver.
  • Use a clothesline. Dryers cost a lot to run, but a basic clothesline and some clothes pins are quite inexpensive. You'll not only save money on your gas or electric bill by using a clothesline, but you'll also prevent your clothes from shrinking and keep them looking and smelling fresh.a
  • Wash your clothes in cold water. Cold water costs less to use and is gentler on most fabrics.
  • Only wash when necessary. Some clothes, like jeans or sweaters worn over long-sleeved shirts, don't have to be washed after each wear.
  • Zip it. Zipping jeans and jackets before you wash them can prevent costly snags and tears to your clothing in the washer and dryer.shion

9 Shop with a list

You know to use a list when shopping for groceries so you won’t be too tempted to splurge on snacks and items that you don't really need and so you will remember to get the things you DO need. You may have never considered the fact that the same principal can certainly hold true when shopping for clothing.

Survey the items that you have for the season coming up and decide what you need to complete your wardrobe. Then put those things on a list. This will help you first of all to decide where to do your shopping, and then to keep you focused when you are there.

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Consignment Shopping

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