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Industry + Insights / July 15, 2014 / Lee Gusman
Ask a Stylist: 3 Tricks To Dressing Well On A Budget

Hi Lee,

I am getting my masters at Northwestern University, and like most students, my financial situation is less than stellar. With college loans and rent to pay, it’s hard to find room in my budget for new clothes. I live in a big city and want to look fashionable at my internship and when I go out. How can I up my style game without having to go homeless?

Sincerely,

Fashionably Broke

  Dear Fashionably Broke, Having been a broke student in the city myself, I can relate to your predicament. It’s hard when you have big style aspirations but not a big wallet to back them up.  At first, I felt as defeated as you. I thought that one could only be fashionable with a black card or by marrying a prince from some obscure monarchy. Unfortunately, our mothers were right. Money doesn't grow on trees, and I have yet to locate one that produces millionaires…YET! After coming to these sad realizations, I decided I wasn't going to give up. Check out my tips on how to dress well on a budget.  

1.Know Your Style!

This is my most important piece of advice. You can’t dress well and cheap if you do not have style. Lucky for us, style is not something you can purchase at Neiman Marcus. One could be dressed in the most expensive clothes and still look like they shop at the dollar store. An outfit is only deemed “stylish” if you own it with confidence and ease. Get to know what you like and don't let other people's opinions persuade you otherwise.  

2. Keep It In The Family

Vintage is the trend that won’t quit. I love incorporating clothes from different time periods and making them look modern and fresh. That being said, I always rummage through my parent's attic to find clothing they wore when they were my age. I am obsessed with my dad’s old flannels. Check out my post about 90s style here for inspiration.  

3. Trade, Swap and Sell!

Stores like Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads, which conveniently have locations in Chicago, have saved my wardrobe many times. If you have clothes that you are bored of you can trade them in for new ones! If you enjoy shopping online, check out Snobswap where you can score designer apparel for up to 70% off by buying from and swapping with other members.

The Motto: Broke, Stressed But Well Dressed

  Photo Credits: Vogue, Pinterest, Brokeinthecity, fashionistaonabudget
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