Using Accessories to Update Your Wardrobe on a Budget

Webster’s dictionary defines the word “accessory”, in its fashion sense, as “an object or a device not essential in itself but adding to the beauty, convenience, or effectiveness of something else.”

I define accessories as a surefire way to expand upon an existing wardrobe. So many Budget Fashionistas make the mistake of purchasing a new outfit to add some panache (love that word) into their drab wardrobe mix. However, a quick trip to the accessory department of your favorite store will uncover ways to add some cheap changes to your wardrobe.

Example: The only suit you own is a nice, conservative, black business suit. You are going to an interview/event/social gathering/funeral that demands something a little spicier. Your first instinct is to go out to your local TJ Maxx and purchase a new suit, even though you do not have enough in your bank account to buy a Grande Mocha at the local Starbucks.


March into the accessory department of your favorite store. Almost every major department store has an accessory department, and accessories are almost always on sale. Do not limit yourself to earrings, necklaces, etc. It is amazing what a good scarf can do for an outfit.

The trick to wearing accessories is to focus on one piece as you “center” and make sure this center is placed near the part of your body you would like to highlight. For example, chandelier earrings continue to be a hot accessory, but if you aren’t particularly fond of your neck or want to wear an attention grabbing necklace, then you shouldn’t wear the earrings.

Some of my favorite places to buy cheap accessories are Target, Wet Seal, Forever 21, Payless (great trendy purses for cheap), Sears, and Claire’s. I’m always looking for new places, so please send them along.

Love learning about accessories? Read our latest article about how earrings can instantly make your outfit look more expensive

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,, Refinery29, and has made appearances on ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis, KCAL9 Los Angeles, Fox19 Cincinnati, WGN TV Chicago and WCPO TV Cincinnati.
Catherine Brock