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7 Ways to Look Stylish on a Budget

Want to look like a million bucks but don’t have the bucks? There are certain steps you can take to ensure you look fashionable without breaking the bank.

Keeping up with fashion trends can be exhausting and very expensive. Every season, fashion trends change and we get bombarded by visuals from social media, i.e influencers or the celebrity that flaunts their latest fashion trends that cost a lot of bucks, that we cannot afford except by using our credit card excessively.

The question is, how can we dress fashionably without causing a big leak in our wallet (and bank account)? The process of looking stylish and seasonal doesn’t have to rack up expenses, as long as you know what pieces to select and when and where to get them. Here are five tips to look stylish and comfortable while on a budget.

1. Clean appearance

The first steps for a stylish yet affordable style is to have a clean appearance. Take care of your skin, trim and polish your nails, have clean and shiny hair with a neat haircut. This way, even cheap clothes can look great on you.

You don’t have to splurge on expensive facials or skincare treatments (unless you have serious skin conditions and need dermatological treatment) or even expensive makeup and hair extensions. Instead, you just have to be fresh, simple, and live a healthier lifestyle. Eat well, drink water, exercise regularly and a good night sleep can give you a healthy glow and nicer appearance.

2. Dress the right fit

Dressing right according to your body shape is a great way to be stylish. Clothes that flatter your body shape can make you look and feel great, regardless of the price tag.

Try on clothes first before buying. This saves time and money since you won’t make mistakes that require you to trash or return them. Trying also helps you explore different sizes, styles, colors to find the right fit for you. Getting the right outfit helps you feel comfortable in your own skin and brings out the confidence in your style.

Buying clothes that fit you well will lead you to saving money since you won’t need to buy replacement clothes. With so many clothing option nowadays, it’s easy to accumulate your wardrobe with clothes you don’t wear anymore because they don’t fit.

3. Avoid fast fashion

Fast fashion is the term used to describe clothing designs that move quickly from the catwalk to stores to meet new trends. The collections are often based on designs presented at Fashion Week events. Fast fashion allows mainstream consumers to purchase trendy clothing at an affordable price – Investopedia

Fashion trends allows the consumer to obtain more fashionable clothes frequently. Many times, keeping up with fashion trends means stores need to keep throwing out old stock and bringing in new stock quickly. Even better for store owners would be getting stock that is mass produced by the fashion manufacturer as the clothing prices can be further reduced to tempt consumers to buy more and more with each season.

Not only from a financial perspective but also from an environmental perspective, fast fashion is bad. The fast fashion industry is fueled by manufacturers who use toxic chemicals, producing textile waste and polluting water sources. Discarding clothes as fashion trends change will just pile up our landfills. The accumulation of trash and pollution will have dire consequences for our environment.

Yes, fast fashion is cheaper than other choices. However, there are drawbacks to buying cheap. Firstly, the temptation to buy more and more, far and beyond your needs. Secondly, quality may be suspect, meaning you will likely have to buy new clothes soon to replace these worn out ones. Not to mention, latest trends fade away fast with every season. Each reason leads to more spending.

Focus on buying classic styles and basic pieces that are always in style, for example, T-shirts, jeans, simple skirts and plain jacket. Check that the material and the tailoring is good. Pick solid colours that are easy to mix and match while looking coolly elegant. This allows you to create a timeless chic style without the need to buy every latest fashion trends available.

4. Buy during sales or clearance period 

One of the ways to keep a low budget while shopping for your clothes is to get it during sales or clearance promotion. You can always find affordable choices for clothes with style.

You can also browse an out-of-season clothing rack, where prices have been slashed to clear the store’s stock and find yourself some well-priced goods that may have once had expensive prices.

Be mindful when shopping during the sales period because it can be dangerous if you cannot control yourself and end up buying for more. Just like doing grocery shopping, list out clothes that you want to buy instead of just going to the store and buying without plans. Planning for shopping can help you save money and avoid spending on unnecessary items.

5. Shop in thrift stores

Aside from looking at sales and clearances, your outfits can also from any of your local thrift shops. Here, you can find perfectly good clothing with super low prices.

Thrifting can be exhausting and will take up a lot of your time (if you are determined) but you might end up with a gem to add to your  fashionable clothes collection. 

Other than physical stores, you can also find some preloved items sold by owners on the internet. You can use Mudah (Google Play, App Store) and Carousell (Google Play, App Store) to search for used items in a very good condition with much lower prices compared to the original prices. Some of them are even a branded items that were originally very expensive. Now, you can be stylish with high-end brand without having to splurge.

6. De-clutter your wardrobe 

Old jeans? That hat that you haven’t worn in years? You would be surprised to find wonders that lie within your wardrobe. It is important to look at decluttering and reorganizing your wardrobe regularly so you can easily find and see what you own. As renowned organizer Marie Kondo said, keep things that spark joy for you.

If your old clothes still fit well and look good, there is no shame in reusing your old clothes especially when those clothes are vintage and have a timeless design. This way, you wouldn’t need to buy new ones for a special occasion or casual outings. Just remember to organize your outfits in the wardrobe to make it easier to find and thus decrease the urge to update your wardrobe with expensive clothes.

If your pants no longer fit and that shirt has lost its original colour, or even  clothes that you regret buying, consider to donate these unwanted clothing to any charity organization who can re-sell them for profit or to any non-government organization that accepts used clothes for the needy. This way you can contribute to the community without simply throwing your clothes into the dumpster.

Alternatively, consider selling your unwanted clothing especially if they are in great condition to thrift stores or on any online platform. Online platforms you can use are like Mudah (Google Play, App Store) and Carousell (Google Play, App Store). Now that you’ve cleaned your wardrobe and made a few bucks, you can organize your wardrobe better. Now, not only can you easily see what you own at a glance, you also gain a better understanding of what clothing styles spark joy in you. 

7. Mix and match your style

Mix and match your existing accessories and clothes. Even old clothes can be elevated with the right accessories (which don’t cost a lot of money). Find accessories or jewelry that can add some stylish touch to your appearance. A necklace, vintage print headscarf, jeans jacket, baseball cap, or belts can add flair and a sense of change. Changing your blazer to a cardigan and your heels to sneakers can take an outfit from career style to casual outing. Think of your outfits as entire combinations and you can change each item to match your look that day instead of changing the entire outfit and wasting money on buying for every look and style.


You don’t have to break your bank account to stay fashionable. With stylish choices and a little creativity, you can certainly live a fashionista life without racking up debt. 

What other tips you have to dress comfortably and stylish without breaking the wallet? Share with us here.

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