The 20 Best Budget Fashion Tips of All Time

Everyone, it seems, has an opinion about the dos and don’ts of style. Depending on whom you listen to, you might stop wearing white after Labor Day or throw your combat boots away on your 40th birthday. In my mind, both of those decisions would be a sad, sad shame.

To sort through the style advice madness, here’s a list of the 20 best budget fashion tips of all time.

20 Ways to Be a Budget Fashionista

1. Don’t wear socks with sandals.

socks with sandals

Sandals are made for bare feet and socks are made for shoes. Do not wear socks with sandals. It looks goofy. Guys, this applies to you too.

2. Your tailor is your BFF.

Tailor

Whatever you are wearing, make sure it fits you beautifully. If it doesn’t, have it altered.

3. Be picky about your jeans.

Woman wearing skinny jeans and red sweater

Take the time and money to find jeans that you adore. They are a staple, make you feel sexy and comfortable at the same time, and can be dressed up or down.

4. Buy multiples.

Puffer jackets in different colors

If you love a piece of clothing and it loves you back, buy multiples. Pick up different colors or multiples of the same color — just make sure the style is a classic one. A super trendy piece is not a great candidate for multiples, because you might feel awkward wearing that style in the next season.

5. If you must choose, it’s comfort first then style.

Woman wearing black and white dress.

Gilda Radner famously said she based her fashion sense on what doesn’t itch. Smart lady. If your clothing makes you feel miserably uncomfortable, no matter how stylish or cute it is, you won’t wear it.

6. Invest in bold accent pieces.

Woman with bold accessories

Pick accent pieces that stand out. You’ll love them, and they’ll add flair and personality to the blandest outfit.

7. It’s only a bargain if you wear it.

Snake skin boots

These Vetements snakeskin boots are 40% off at the moment. And that 40% off equates to a $772 markdown from the normal $1,930 price tag. Great deal, to be sure. But if you can’t work these babies into your rotation, the $772 savings is worth nothing to you.

8. Get your foundation garments right.

bra fitting

Go see a bra fitter today. Too many women wear the wrong size bra, and it impacts how your clothes look. The right level of support keeps your girls — and your confidence — from sagging.

9. Let opposites attract.

outfit of leggings and sweater

The best outfits have balance. Pair tight pieces with looser silhouettes. Surround a bold accessory with subtler neutrals. Always strive for balance in fit, color and style.

10. When in doubt, dress up.

Woman wearing gloves and fur coat

Enough said.

11. Invest in the classics.

Woman wearing blazer

There are certain pieces of clothing that will always be in style: the blazer, the pencil skirt, and the little black dress for example. For pieces that you can wear again and again, you can spend more if the premium gets you better quality.

12. Don’t chase the trends.

Woman wearing flared jeans

Know the trends and dabble in them to keep things interesting. If your clothing budget is tight, play in the trends in accessories only. And shop for these pieces at fast-fashion shops like H&M.

But resist the urge to overhaul your entire wardrobe every season. It’s too expensive, and you’ll never feel satisfied with the clothes you have on hand.

13. Know your measurements!

natural waist

Spare yourself some grief by knowing your measurements and using them to find well-fitting pieces. Take a peek at the sizing chart before you buy anything online. You’ll save tons of time and you won’t have to deal with pesky return policies that vary from store to store.

14. Use a lint roller.

Girl using lint roller

Remove lint and hair from your clothing. We love texture, but not the kind that comes from dog or cat hair.

15. Live well.

Woman doing workout

I’ll spare you the full “drink water, eat healthy” lecture. You know the deal — you look your best when you’re taking care of yourself. You skin glows and your clothes fit better.

16. Organize your closet! 

Messy Closet

If you don’t know what’s in the closet, all those clothes you bought aren’t getting used. And that’s when you start having those “I have nothing to wear” moments.

Keep your closet organized and you’ll have a better sense of when you actually do need something new.

17. Show skin strategically.

woman wearing short black dress

This is closely related to the point about keeping balance in your outfits. If your legs are bare and up to there, cover the cleavage. Or if you’re rocking the deep V neckline, keep the hemline conservative.

18. Buy classics with a twist. 

Animal print scarf

An animal print scarf or a bold red blazer or patent leather flats — these are classic pieces with a twist, and they are the mark of a true fashionista.

19. Borrow or rent or thrift.

thrift shopping

Sometimes you just crave something new. But that new piece doesn’t have to be just-out-of-the-factor new. You can get the same fix with a piece you borrowed or rented (try Le Tote!) or traded for or thrifted.

20. Confidence is your best accessory.

Portrait of cool young african girl standing with arms crossed

We talk a lot about fashion “rules” around here. But those rules are only useful if you’re not sure what to wear. In truth, what you wear is never as important as how you wear it.

If you want to break the rules and you can do it with confidence — then go for it. Be you.

Catherine Brock

Owner and Editor at The Budget Fashionista
As a Southern California transplant now living in the Midwest, Catherine has turned layering into an art form and accepted that UGGs actually do have a place in the stylish lady's wardrobe. She's been featured in Woman's World Magazine, DrLaura.com, Refinery29, Wellness.com and has made appearances on ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis, KCAL9 Los Angeles, Fox19 Cincinnati, WGN TV Chicago and WCPO TV Cincinnati.
Catherine Brock