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Wardrobe on a Budget: How to Look Fall Fab for Less

We all want to look fabulous without spending big bucks. So how do you build an autumn and winter wardrobe on a budget?

As a professional image consultant, here are some of my all-time secrets to help you create a stylish wardrobe without breaking the bank.

Your Personal Style

Always start with your personal style.

Knowing your unique style that embraces your body shape, height, colouring, personality, and lifestyle will help you choose clothes that fit and flatter you. When you rock your signature style, you project a defined image and dressing each morning is effortless.

Read my blog, Trends vs Personal Style – Fads Fade, but Style is Forever to learn why your personal style matters.

Still unsure what clothes look best on you?

Book your personal style consultation today. Contact me at 705-237-8682, or direct message me on Facebook.

Shop Your Closet

It’s time to take stock of what’s in your closet. In other words, you’re looking for basic or staple pieces to act as your jumping-off point.

Over the years (and sometimes decades), you’ve accumulated lots of stuff. So pull everything out and evaluate each piece – tops, pants, jackets, jeans, dresses, shoes, handbags, belts and other accessories.

Keep the clothes that are your personal style and are in good condition. Repair, donate or toss items that are dated or shabby.

Mix and Match

From your keep pile, you will have some clothes that visually work together to create multiple looks. For example, a neutral blazer that compliments a pair of pants, a skirt and also jeans. Coordinate with a colourful shirt or tee, and you have numerous outfit combos.

Here is a simple guide using 12 staple pieces to make 72 unique looks.

  • 2 topmost layers (jackets/cardigans)

  • 4 bottoms (skirts/pants)

  • 6 tops (shirts/tees)

Make sure each jacket/cardigan works with all your top and bottom pieces, and all tops coordinate with all your skirts and pants.

Shopping List

You may be thinking, but I don’t have all these basics!

Don’t worry. Now you can instantly see the ‘gaps’ and start creating a shopping list.

Here’s a sample inventory:

  • Dress pants

  • Casual pants/jeans

  • Skirts

  • Dresses

  • Shirts/blouses/tees

  • Cardigans/sweaters

  • Jacket/blazers

  • Outdoor wear

  • Shoes/boots

  • Jewellery

  • Scarfs/handbags

Unless you’re one of the Kardashians, it’s best to set a monthly budget and focus on initially purchasing foundational pieces like tops and bottoms. Then, over the following months, you can continue to build your wardrobe with other essentials and accessories like earrings, belts and handbags.

Shop Off-Season

Towards the end of every season, retailers discount clothes and accessories to have space for the new items. That’s the time you can purchase quality classic pieces that never go out of style for a fraction of the price.

Don’t buy items just because they’re on sale. Remember to choose items that coordinate in colour and style with the basic pieces from your closet.

Think Pre-Owned

Nowadays, pre-owned is all the rage. When building a budget-conscious wardrobe, visit vintage, consignment and resale shops for quality pieces. You’ll find brand-name items at friendly prices, and you’ll also help reduce textile waste.

BFF Clothing Swap

You may have a closet full of clothes, but so do your best friends – and their friends! So think about hosting a clothing swap. This is a great way to get ‘new to you’ pieces and accessories, save money and have fun at the same time.

Shop Online

Sites like Poshmark, ThredUp, Facebook Marketplace and Canada’s curated consignment store, Ready to Wear Again, are hot spots for new and used clothing at affordable prices.

Final Fashion Advice

Remember to choose neutrals in your colour palette for your staple items and add pops of colour with cheap and cheerful tops.

Avoid impulse buying. Stick to your budget and invest in classic essential pieces made with high-quality fabrics.

Yes, you can have a stylish fall wardrobe on a budget, especially when you have a well-thought-out plan. Use these handy tips to look and feel fabulous and save money too!


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