How to Dress Cute on a Budget

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There’s an idea out there that in order to be stylish, you’ve got to drop some serious cash. Over the years I’ve heard many clients and friends say they don’t bother with clothing because they can’t afford to dress how they would like. This couldn’t be more wrong! While money can buy you material things, style is something that can’t be bought! You don’t have to spend a lot to dress well and the ability to shop and find the things you want at a price you can afford can be learned and you can definitely dress cute on a budget!


Take this outfit, for example. I wore this outfit to church Sunday and while I loved it, I got lots of compliments on it too! The best part? Take a look at the prices:

budget outfit

  • Top: I bought this online from Shein last summer and have gotten way more than my $8 worth from it, I think!
  • Skirt: This was from Kohls‘ Milly collection from last spring. I purchased this same skirt in floral and when I saw the blue version available online for $15 I snatched it up and love wearing it!
  • Earrings: My silver pyramid studs were actually free so my exact Sunday outfit was even cheaper than this one! These little triangles are pretty close in style though, and under $5!
  • Bag: You can’t go wrong with a black bag and a I love a simple crossbody style (and an $11 price tag!)
  • Shoes: Again, not my exact pair of shoes (which aren’t available anymore) but they’re both from Target, both about the same price, and both adorable (and affordable!)

Next time you’re in the market for a particular clothing item or maybe trying to replicate a certain style or outfit, here’s what you need to do.

1. Start your arsenal.

Make a list of all the stores you like to shop in that are in your price range. Think of the places that you’d hit on a shopping spree or the store websites you have bookmarked. Get online and start browsing! (Or, head there in person if you’ve got easy access!)

2. Do some research.

I love research! Seriously, you could probably tell me what you’re looking for and I’ll do the research for you! If you’re looking for a particular item there are some shopping websites that will do most of the work for you too. Sites like ShopStyle and Polyvore let you search by item category, brand, store and you can filter by color and price to find exactly what you’re looking for! (Polyvore will even alert you when items you like go on sale!) And if you’re just looking for new affordable shops to visit, try doing a Google search like “dresses under $50” or “similar to H&M” and discover new brands!

3. Pay attention!

Next time you compliment a friend on her bag and she says, “Can you believe it was only $15?!”, ask her where she got it and make a mental note to check out that store. The same with fashion magazines or blogs. See a headline on the cover with “100 items under $50!”, flip through and notice where the items are from. You might not like the pair of shoes they’re featuring but that same store might have the bag of your dreams! (At the price of your dreams!)

4. Wait it out.

Find the perfect item but not at the perfect price? If you can risk the item selling out you can save big if you wait a bit to purchase! That blue skirt? I had purchased the same one earlier in another print at probably around three times the cost. I waited one month and got the blue one for $15. If a holiday is approaching that’s a good time to purchase too as stores love holiday sales!

Now I want to hear from you, what are your favorite shops for affordable finds? 

Originally published June 8, 2016

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