Dressing for success is important, but it can wreak havoc on your budget of you’re not careful. Knowing a few tips and tricks when it comes to updating your wardrobe can help you save some serious money every year. Here are the top nine tips for men and women:
- Find a reliable tailor. If you’re long in the torso, have short arms, or especially long legs, you probably already have a tailor, but the average consumer can benefit from a skilled tailor as well. You can find some great deals on the sales rack that are a size (or three) too big. You can also make good use of that gorgeous outfit hanging in the back of your closet that you’ve never worn by taking it to a tailor to have it adjusted for your frame. A well-fitting outfit can look like you paid a smell fortune for it, even if it came from a sales rack.
- Buy quality classics. It pays to spend more on a well-made, quality pair of dress pants, skirt, or jacket. Overall, the basic styles of these items do not change much from year to year, and these garments can be updated by adding a colorful scarf or tie, a sweater, bold jewelry, or by having the hemline of skirts or pants taken up or let out.
- Go for classic over trendy when buying shoes. A fun pair of shoes is fine for a little extra splurge, but keep classic footwear in a neutral color in your closet as a general standby for work. Investing in a leather shoe care kit can also help you make the most of your shoes from season to season. Always keep your shoes clean and in good repair. BONUS TIP: Your shoes should always be the same color intensity or darker than your hemline (pants, shorts, skirt, dress) for a professional look.
- If you’re fashion-challenged, stick with neutral colors. You can always add bright accessories like a matching tie and handkerchief, a scarf, or bright jewelry in the same color to dress up your style without compromising taste.
- Purchase a full-length mirror and install decent lighting in your dressing area. We’ve all seen the woman at the office with too-bright make up or the man wearing one navy blue and one black sock. Checking your total appearance before you leave the house will help you catch unsightly mistakes before anyone else notices.
- Shop at the thrift store. Yes, most of the clothes are used, but every thrift store also has many items with the tags still on (a lot like that black jacket in the back of your closet that you loved in the store but never seems to look right at home, those unwanted items are perfect for someone).
- Never bring home a wardrobe item from the store unless you love it. If it looks ok, and you “might” wear it with jeans someday, leave it in the store (even if it’s a great price). Keep your wardrobe pared down to the items that fit well and look good.
- If you find a basic shirt, pants, or skirt that you love, purchase several in the same or different colors. This practice helps you build a good-looking wardrobe base that can be adapted for each season by changing out accessories, sweaters, or jackets.
- If you find a garment style that you love but aren’t crazy about the color, consider buying it if the price is right. You can also purchase navy blue or black fabric dye and turn it into a neutral item for your wardrobe.
BONUS TIP FOR WOMEN: Purchase shoulder pads to quickly adjust the sleeve length of any garment. This will also help adjust your dress hemlines to hang evenly. Modern shoulder pads are not like those from the ‘80s. They are thinner, made of quality materials, and designed to help even out rounded shoulder and adjust the overall fit of a garment. Place your shoulder pads underneath your bra straps to keep them secure all day.
What tips and trick do you have that help you look great on a budget?
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