Here’s how to make cheap look chic.
There’s no other way to say it: chucking your cash at those student loans every month totally sucks. Luckily, you don’t need money to look like you have style. Get savvy about your wardrobe, and make like you have Karl Lagerfeld and Giorgio Armani on speed dial (even if Sallie Mae is the only one in your call history).
1. Shop during peak sale season.
You don’t want to shop right before or at the beginning of a new season. Make do with what you have until mid-season–July for summer, October for fall, January for winter coats, and May for spring. Then score big at the steep clearance sales where they’re practically giving stuff away.
2. Buy a balanced wardrobe.
“Spend 2/3 of your budget on classic pieces and 1/3 on statement buys,” Catherine Brock, better known as the budget fashionista, told SELF. Classics include tops, skirts, pants, and shoes. Choose universal silhouettes, like pencil skirts and straight-cut pants, in solid colors or pretty patterns for maximum versatility.
3. Make discount stores your BFFs.
Your rotation should be filled with retailers who stock great style at low prices. Our favorites include TJMaxx, Century 21, Zara, H&M, and Forever 21. Designer collaborations at Target also offer the chance to get luxury prints at bargain prices. And online, Bluefly and Rue La La serve up worthwhile sales daily.
4. Splurge on statement jewelry pieces.
An eye-grabbing necklace, cocktail ring, clutch, or pair of bright ballet flats can make your outfit pop (and look more expensive). Look for vibrant shades that contrast beautifully against basic wardrobe staples. Red, turquoise, sapphire blue, jade green, and coral set off more colors than you’d ever guess.