Achieve Fashion-forward Looks While on a Budget

Looking stylish can be difficult when fashion trends are constantly changing and evolving. According to Gallup’s 2013 annual Economy and Personal Finance survey, one in three Americans prepare a detailed household budget. While bills and other essential living costs should take priority when making your household budget, this doesn’t mean you can’t look your best for less and put a little sliver of the pie toward clothing, shoes and accessories. Use the following tips to stay fashion forward while staying within your budget.

Put Together Creative Combos

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Even frugal women should have wardrobe essentials, like a pair of classic black heels and a simple pencil skirt. Fashion blogger and author of "How to Be a Budget Fashionista," Kathryn Finney, recommends the 70/30 rule when organizing your closet. While 70 percent of your closet should contain classic pieces that never go out of style, the other 30 percent should consist of trendy, of-the-moment items. Layer and mix your wardrobe essentials each week to find winning combinations, such as soft knits paired with hard leathers, or two different plaids worn together harmoniously.

Broaden Your Shopping Outlets

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Trendy clothing and accessories are not only available in high-end boutiques and department stores. Get creative by finding more budget-friendly shopping outlets in your area. Prices are usually satisfactory at thrift stores and on clearance racks. Scour daily deal sites to find amazing discounts online. Do a little searching and make use of printable and digital coupons and promotional codes to stretch your dollar even further.

Opt for Quality Over Quantity

If you’re shopping for certain wardrobe essentials, such as a winter coat or women's shoes, always choose quality over quantity. A well-made pair of women’s shoes will help you maintain better foot health, posture and promotes long-lasting comfort. One or two pairs of top-notch shoes are always more valuable than multiple pairs of uncomfortable, poorly made shoes. This doesn't automatically mean the shoes have to cost top dollar, just examine the shoes closely to make sure they are made well and the price no longer matters. The same notion can be said about winter jackets, jewelry and handbags.

Use Your Accessories Wisely

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Face it — your accessories will ultimately make or break your outfit. New York personal stylist and author of "Secrets of a Fashion Stylist," Alexandra Suzanne Greenawalt, recommends easing into accessories by starting with a simple scarf, cocktail ring or stud earring. Once you’ve become comfortable with accessories, you can use them to dress up or dress down outfits to meet your fashion needs. For example, a simple cardigan and comfy ballet flats can be transformed into an evening outfit after work. Simply toss the cardigan to show off a dressy blouse, add some heels and throw on your favorite dangle earrings.

Shop with a List in Hand
Running to the mall for a new party dress or a pair of running shoes on the fly can usually be squeezed into your budget on occasion. But if you lack self-control, an innocent trip to the mall can completely blow your budget out of the water. If you need to make an immediate shopping trip, make a specific list and stick to it. Avoid impulse buying and purchasing items that you don’t necessarily need. Also consider the versatility of the clothing and accessories you buy. Ask yourself, “How many outfits can I make out of this one item?” Stick with styles that will be wearable long term, instead of trends that will be outdated by next season.

Author Bio: Known as a trendsetter at her school,Lauren White is a college student who blogs about her fashion adventures.

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