True Confessions: My Entire Outfit Cost Less Than $100

I admit it. I have a little debt problem. I know you’ve seen Confessions of a Shopaholic, and while I won’t admit to shopping designer boutiques with the reckless abandon of heroine Rebecca Bloomwood, even for a budget shopper, things do add up over time. I mean, you can always use just one more skirt from the clearance rack or that one-of-kind top that’s a steal, and you know you will wear the heck out of it next season, right? This is where I heave a big sigh and face the fact that I am broke.

Luckily, it’s summer and there are record-breaking heat waves being recorded all over the country, which means little clothing is required. It seems that day after day, when I mentally add up what my outfit cost, it is remarkably little. Putting together an outfit for under $100 is a piece of cake when you don’t have to include pricey, cool-weather musts like boots, jeans, sweaters and the perfect outerwear. And honestly, I don’t think anyone would guess that I’m on the skids at the moment.

Here are a few tips for looking great when you are pinching pennies.

How to Put Together a Complete Outfit for Less than $100

Think classic. When you are doing your closet cleanout, hang onto things that fit you well and are timeless. The little black dress, well-cut shirts for work, basic skirts, horts that actually look good on you–these are worth their weight in gold. That really goes for any classic piece that fits you well and can be livened up with the right shoes or a few accessories. I’ve got a chocolate-brown linen sheath dress that I bought last summer at Marshall’s that will never go out of style and fits me to a T. This summer I paired it with the requisite wedge sandals in strappy, burnt-orange leather and it looks fantastic. Outfit: Brown linen dress from Marshall’s: $59.99, Franco Sarto wedge sandals from Marshall’s: $24.99 = $84.98.

Don’t fear consignment. One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure. Those designer pants that got too tight for Mrs. Society may be the perfect fit for you, and she probably wore them only once or twice before she ate too much on a cruise and the sight of them was too much to bear. You do need a certain amount of fortitude to browse the racks of cast-offs, but once you find the right consignment shops with quality items, it’s a breeze to stop in and see what’s new in your size.