Be on a Budget, But Please Don’t Look Like It

The rise of fast fashion retailers such as Zara and Topshop have resulted in drastically reduced lead times. They have successfully bridged the gap between the runway and our closets. Fast fashion as well as “influencer culture” (think Kim Kardashian, Margaret Zhang or Leandre Madine of Manrepeller fame) have all added fuel to this fashion fire. And may contribute to added pressure to stay on trend while unintentionally adding pressure to the wallet.

As a working woman, I understand the pressure to stretch your hard earned dollars across every trend that one happens to “double tap” on on Instagram.

There are however, a few tricks one can use to continuously slay, while on a tight budget.

1. DIY Fashion

DIY is a fashion force not to be reckoned with. It can take you from fashionably economical to instant street style envy. Instead of investing your hard earned cash into looking the part, try investing some of your time into creating one of a kind fashion looks. There are a multitude of way to do this, one of which being, giving your clothes new life by up-cycling items you no longer wear. This works particularly well for denim items such as creating distressed denim looks from previously loved jeans. Consider spending some time online looking for DIY fashion blog posts to create “insert-your-name” couture items.

2. Stock up on the basics

Clothing items that are versatile and can be worn with multiple items are important for the base of your wardrobe. It may be more important (in my opinion) to stock up on basics before trendy items as these will remain part of your closet even when styles change. Create a list of basics you may be lacking and focus on stocking up on these items first and see how versatile your cupboard becomes through different styles and seasons.


 3. Channel the Parisians

Paris natives have this down! They are able to make use of basic fashion pieces while still showcasing their sartorial style by adding their own spin to basic fashion items. That being said, being able to do this takes a certain level of skill, and dare-I-say an understanding of wardrobe economics. It also  requires being able to channel your personality, energy and opinions into your own unique aesthetic.

4. Create a mood board

Creating a vision or mood board really helps to focus your energy and finances in a particular direction. This is not to say that you should be a Pinterest board personified. However, it really helps in organizing your thoughts as well as giving an idea as to what you want to look like style wise. This helps in making sure that you do not get distracted when you come across those items you think you need.

5. Budget, budget, budget

If it is on sale but not on the budget, you are not saving any money. In order to truly stay on trend and on budget, it is important to consider your financial goals and financial fitness to keep up with trends. Creating a budget that is not only practical but considerate (of one’s need to shop) is important. Creating a clothing allowance is helpful. This allowance stems from what is left after all investments have been made and expenses paid. Thereafter, one may consider setting an amount for basic clothing items such as casual clothing items or investment items should there be a little more room to flex financial muscle on a good month.

Investment pieces are items that will serve you over multiple years and seasons. This typically refers to coats, blazers, a formal dress or suit. As a general rule, I consider cost per wear (cost of the item/number of days you’ll wear it) when it comes to items that exceed the monthly budgeted amount by a large margin.

Cost per wear helps you consider the number of days you will wear an item before purchasing it.

This can be helpful in making your case for or against (heaven forbid) the purchase. According to GQ, the philosophy is less cost but more quality focused.