HOW TO LOOK YOUR BEST WHEN YOU ARE ON A BUDGET

Recently, the subject of affordable fashion has come up in comments. I feel like everyone should try to look their best within the budget constrictions they have. Everyone’s budget is different, but that is not an excuse for not looking your best. Know how to use your existing wardrobe is one of the keys to looking your best. Knowing how to present your clothing is another key. Finally, knowing what brands to shop for when you are on a budget is a key that will save you time and money.

Budget

The first thing that you want to do is to decide what your budget is for clothing. This can be a monthly budget, or it can be a seasonal budget. Some people even break down how much they spend depending on the item or the item’s quality. You might spend more of your budget on a quality handbag that you will carry for years and less of your budget on the latest trend. The truth is, everyone’s budget will vary. Knowing your budget will keep your finances in check and make you happier with the items you choose.

Shop Your Closet

You probably already have a lot of clothing in your closet that you can use to look your best. Spend some time evaluating your wardrobe. Just because you haven’t worn something in a few years doesn’t mean that it needs to be chucked. You need to look at each item closely, try it on to see if it still fits you well, look for holes and stains, and then decide if you will EVER wear it again. If the answer is no, then donate it to a charity that provides clothing to those in need. If the answer is yes, then continue reading the next section.

Make Sure Your Items Are in Wearable Condition

When you are in a hurry, you want the items in your closet to be on stand-by. As I mentioned earlier, look your wardrobe over and pull out anything with rips, stains, or holes, and fix the issue or remove it from your closet. A shirt has a stain that can’t be removed, but you love the shirt since you wear it UNDER a sweater so the collar shows, then leave it. But, remember not to wear it in a way that the stain shows. If your item needs to be dry-cleaned, then put it aside until you can take it to the cleaners or handwash it if possible.

Also, a well-ironed garment will always look more polished than one that is wrinkled. Take the time to iron or steam your outfit before you put it on. I use a steamer for most of my items, but I do still own an iron. I use a Rowenta for both of these, and I will link to them if you are interested. Any brand will work, but Rowenta is the brand that seems to do the best job and hold up the longest for me.

Fit and Confidence

When you try on your clothing, you need to pay attention to how it makes you feel. How many of you have heard the Marie Kondo quote, “does it spark joy?” We can apply this to our clothing as well as cleaning out our closets and drawers. When you put on a bright pink sweater, does it make you feel confident, or does it make you want to hide because someone might look at you? Even if an item fits you well, you shouldn’t wear it if YOU don’t like the item. This comes under the “wear what makes you happy” category. Happiness shows on your face. It shows in the way you walk and the way that others see you.

Inspiration

I try to pick a variety of brands that range from affordable to high-end, and I also try to show clothing for plus-size ladies. Since I am not plus-size in my clothing, I have to rely on my “similar” widget to show the clothing on a plus-size model. We all want to see what the item looks like on a body shape similar to our own. This same principle applies to your budget. If my outfit is one that you LOVE, but the items that I am wearing are out of your price range, use my look as an inspiration.

Look in your closet first for items that look similar in color or style. If you decide that you want to purchase something, look on the sales racks first. Many retailers have HUGE sales where you can get the same item that I wore in a previous post at a discounted price. If you click the heart in the Shop My Post for an item that you like, you will get an email when that item goes on sale. Use this tool; it is convenient.

If you still are looking for a similar item, do what I do…Google it. A lot of retailers have an option where you can search by price. Please take advantage of that option; I use it all of the time when I shop at Nordstrom. I type in “jeans,” and then I go to the price option and move the bar to the amount I am willing to spend. Why would I waste my time searching through lots of items that are over my budget?

Tomorrow I will continue this series on looking your best on a budget by giving you a list of brands to shop. So, be sure to look for that post. But, for now, let’s look at a couple of posts that I’ve posted, and I’ll show you how to use my post as an inspiration.

This Outfit will have you looking stunning this spring

Paisley Cardigan // White Crop Flare Jeans // White Slip-On Sneakers // V-Neck T-Shirt

The above links were the actual clothing that I was wearing. The sneakers and the v-neck t-shirt were from Target, so I will assume that those items were already in the affordable category, and I’ll focus on the cardigan and the jeans instead. Here is something that I have noticed…most of you only want to purchase what you’ve seen me style and wear. You know how it looks; I tell you how the sizing works, describe the feel of the material, etc. When I link to “similar” items, for the most part, no one ever buys those. So, am I wasting my time? I will do these outfits, and then I would like an honest answer when it comes to “similar” items.

 

 

Being Comfortable While Looking Polished and Professional

Argyle Sweater // Spanx Perfect Black Pants// Pointy Toe Black Chunky Heels

Since the sweater and the heels are both under 50.00, or they were last night, I will concentrate on finding a similar pair of black pants. The Spanx pair of pants are gorgeous, and we all know that Spanx items are flattering and form-fitting. But, Spanx items can also be costly, so I will look for some “similar” Ponte knit black pants at a more affordable price point.

How To Wear A Sweater 3 Ways

This outfit was one of my favorite looks from last year. It had so many of the elements that I love, like leopard print, anything red, distressed jeans, and pumps, that it made it a winner in my book. The items were also affordable; at least, I thought they were. The sweater was from J Crew Factory, the blazer was on a huge sale, the Wit & Wisdom jeans were on sale, but they are not terribly expensive anyway, and the shoes were a pair that I found locally. All of these items have sold out and are no longer available. That is why I chose this look; I wanted to show you how to re-create it from other retailers.

Let’s all remember; you can look fashionable and stylish with a little effort. There are plenty of consignment shops, eBay, and websites like Poshmark and Mercari that offer fashions at a considerable discount. Also, I do try hard to shop from lots of retailers and lots of different price points. My daughter told me that I can’t please everyone and that I need to let it go. But, I am a people pleaser and an includer, so I don’t like it when I feel like I have let someone down.

I hope that this post has been helpful, and if so, please share it so that others will see it also.

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To God Goes The Glory!

Matthew 5:6

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,for they will be filled.

This post contains affiliate links. When you shop through my links, it helps support my business (at no additional cost to you), so thank you!

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I would love to hear from YOU!

  1. Diane S. wrote:

    I like your ideas…I have to be frugal because my husband is self-employed, but I also love clothes and so it is nice to hear about how to get the expensive stuff for less,..and I shop Nordies when I am looking for something to last for years, and walmart if I’m looking for a pick me up,…but it is educational to read how other people do it, because I at least, am always learning! Ha ha ha,…

    Posted 2.25.21Reply
  2. Lora wrote:

    Love your posts! Following your blog for several months. Chicos is probably my favorite retailer and a lot of my wardrobe comes from them. I do wait until they have a big sale to get the most pricey items that I want. Just got a cardigan yesterday for 29.99 that was originally 149.00 so great clothing can be found for reasonable prices. You are right though that I rarely buy the similar items you show but I do look at them. Keep on with your great posts!

    Posted 2.23.21Reply
  3. Gina wrote:

    I’ve been following your blog probably 2 years now. I love your style and will admit some of your more recent outfits have been a little out of budget for me but I can usually find something comparable. It certainly isn’t a deal breaker for me! Heck, I may see something I can’t live without and splurge! Haters gonna hate! Lol!

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  4. Margie wrote:

    Tania, I’m a newbie and have only been following you for a few months. I have been blessed reading your post each day and getting awesome suggestions on how I can make my clothes work better for me. As a retired teacher, I know how it feels to be knocked down with hurt feelings, BUT as a child of God, I know how it feels when He picks me up and puts a smile back on my face. Keep doing what you’re doing! You are a blessing to too many ladies to let one person keep you down. God Bless!

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  5. SUSAN wrote:

    I look forward to your posts everyday. Thank you for that! I will say that I actually purchased one of the suggested posts that you recommended. It was the red sweater dress that you got at Ann Taylor, I purchased a red v neck sweater dress from Loft per your recommendation. I love it and would not have even looked for it had it not be featured as an option. I will also say that you are breaking me out of my box of boring colors. I must admit, I have never purchased anything from Chico’s until you styled it. Now I am a believer! Keep up the great blogs!

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  6. Melanie wrote:

    I just started following you last month when I retired. Love your blog, your heart and am inspired! I’m finding things in my closet that will work together for a stylish and classy retirement look! Thanks for being a fun part of my day!

    PS – Similar items are ok but honestly, I can look for them myself.

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  7. Lisa wrote:

    I read the comment from one of your ‘former’ readers, the one that said she was unfollowing you because you were too high end. I really wanted to call her out on that because it was so uncalled for. Instead, I just kept my mouth shut. Now I wish I hadn’t, because I can see that she hurt you! She should have kept HER mouth shut, and just gone on her merry way. Your daughter is right. Some people just hate everything and everybody!

    I follow another blogger whose daily uniform consists of $500 cashmere t-shirts and $300 jeans. Am I going to buy her suggestions? No, but it sure is fun to look!

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  8. Sharolyn wrote:

    I have noticed that you are using more high end designers lately. When I first followed your blog you used Target, Walmart, Cato more. I appreciate the less expensive posts but also enjoy seeing you post from other sources. I love the Loft and I use your posts as inspiration. You will never satisfy everyone as evidenced by your Sunday posts so take your daughter’s advise and let it go. Maybe just remember occasionally to post what us more common people wear. 🙂 Thanks for your blog. I enjoy it every day.

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
    • Sharon L Rauschl wrote:

      I agree. I started following the blog years ago because most of the outfits were from Cato, Old Navy, Target, etc. They were very affordable and available in my community. However, I have no problem using higher end fashion as inspiration and I can usually find something in my own closet or at a local thrift store to create a look.

      Posted 2.22.21Reply
  9. Shannon wrote:

    Love this post. I’m a classic at heart but love trendy jewelry, shoes, handbags. So many people just don’t know where to discount shop. My favorites are Ross, Target, Burke’s or Beall’s, and outlet malls.

    I buy my investment pieces on sale only at Talbots, Chico’s, Loft and Macy’s. I got a $300 winter coat from Talbots last year for $99.

    I own LOTS of jewelry. It makes the outfit. Versions is my go to for trendy bags and jewelry.

    My favorite straight leg pants for work are 89th & Madison brand. They are usually 12.99 or 15.99 at Ross or Burke’s/Beall’s. They are made like jeans but have a little stretch so hold their shape. I buy them in black, charcoal, navy, olive green and even have a rust colored pair. They were great for fall with black sweater and boots or a denim shirt.

    I like Liz Claiborne, which can be found in JCPenney stores. I’m a 16P or XLP, which is why I love Talbots, Loft and Liz Claiborne. I can wear from a M to a XXL depending on brand. I learned to stop looking at “sizes” and just go by “fit”. Every brand is different.

    Thanks for your daily dose of inspiration. I look forward to seeing it every single day!

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  10. Connie wrote:

    I absolutely love the last outfit with the leopard print sweater.
    I’m a clothes horse and need to shop my closet more. I actually did that the other day and found several outfits that I can wear to work.
    I also love to mix high end stuff with bargain pieces.
    Thanks for the inspiration that you share with us.

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  11. Judy Antonio wrote:

    I really enjoyed your post today Tania.
    Also as a reader who is currently living in Canada (and due to the border being closed I cannot get to my UPS mailbox or the stores I always enjoy in the States) I really REALLY like the “similar look” items. That way I have a better chance of finding something similar at The Bay, Holt Renfrew or some of the retailers from the States that still have brick and mortar stores (or an online presence) in Canada. I have found that you actually do many different price points. If you wanted to include some more plus size options,(which I would appreciate being 5’10 and a 16) Eloquii is a well priced brand. Keep being you! I love your posts.

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  12. Linda L wrote:

    Been following you since QVC and Cato! You are an inspiration! Thank you!

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  13. Paige wrote:

    I like looking at your pictures for inspiration (though that Kohl’s leopard print sweater is calling my name). Right now I’m trying not buy anything until my husband finds work. COVID did not come at a good time for us. Lots of prayers!

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  14. Fiona wrote:

    Great helpful piece. The only thing that I didn’t like was the ironing bit – I hate ironing. But I do iron if I am going somewhere and want to look smart.

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  15. Mary Jo wrote:

    I find the similar items very helpful. I look at the items you are wearing and the similar items, then I check my closet to see if I can put something similar together. A lot of times I can come up with a similar outfit that I never thought of putting together! It is not an exact match to your outfit, but your style inspired me. Same thing with handbags and jewelry. Keep up the great work and continue to be yourself. Love your blog!!

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  16. Tina wrote:

    What an informative post today on your blog! Thanks, gurl❣️
    I’m always clicking on your modeled items AND similar items. Being a passport member at Chico’s allows for free shipping (which I appreciate), and I can try on at home and just return to the store if it’s not quite right. I do the same with Nordstrom’s and White House, Black Market. I look forward to your blog everyday!

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  17. Amy wrote:

    Hi Tania! First of all, I love your posts because you are so REAL…like chatting with a girlfriend! Secondly, your daughter is right. Sigh….don’t you hare when that happens? Your blog is the very best one I follow as far as choices and price ranges! I am serious. I mostly look for inspiration and ideas when I read your posts, as many of the complete outfits would not work for me because I am petite (5’2″) and curvier than straight. Gotta be careful not to turn myself into a human fire plug!! It really is about learning what works for YOU and making smart purchases, right?

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  18. Nancy wrote:

    Hi Tania,
    I think I’ve been reading your blog since last spring? Not sure exactly, but I’ve been inspired ever since!
    I am one that likes to buy the exact outfit you have on for all the reasons you state, but I do at least look at the similar items most times. I don’t think it’s a waste of your time to suggest alternatives.
    I also love when you suggest different things like you did today; the steamers and iron. It just expands our knowledge.
    But my main reason for reading your blog everyday is for the FASHION! During this pandemic when we’re not traveling or going out much, reading your blog has “kept me going!” So thank you and keep it up…please!

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  19. Liane wrote:

    Hi Tania,
    I generally look at your outfit and then wonder if I can duplicate it from what I have because occasionally you put things together in a way I’ve never thought of.

    I had to tell you about my Rowenta iron. I vaguely recall my previous iron but when my daughter who is now 40 went to a Christian school that required uniforms, part of that uniform was a crisp white Peter Pan collar shirt. They were horrifically wrinkled out of the dryer. All the time she went to that school from K-8 I had to iron them. I bought 6 and every Monday I ironed them. I had to buy a new iron but I can’t remember why, just that the “new” iron was bought in about 1984 and is a Rowenta and cost a fortune back then. Here’s the kicker — on the bottom is stamped where it was made: West Germany! Can you believe that? Now my hubby works from home in printed tees, my ironing is much less in volume but I still to this day iron my pillow cases and that disagreeable hem at the top of the top sheet! I thought you’d get a kick out of this!

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  20. Karee wrote:

    I have to mention my pet peeve. I HATE paying shipping. Recently I saw a shirt I saw in a store but didn’t get it. It was on a big sale at roughly $16. I was excited and wanted to get it. By the time I entered all my info and was ready to “buy” the final price was double. I couldn’t pick it up in store near me because they said it was not in stock. I tried to order to be picked up at the store and they wouldn’t do that. I didn’t order the item. It isn’t the price- it’s the principal. This isn’t directed at you, I look forward to reading your blog and have ordered items you display. It’s just frustrating. Anyone else feel this way?

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  21. Diane R wrote:

    Tania, I do look at the similar items post when an item interests me and have also clicked for lower price if it becomes available. Even if I don’t purchase the exact item, I use your ideas when I do shop and it works perfectly for me.

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  22. Karen wrote:

    Tania, thanks so much for your daily inspiration! I live in Canada and not everything you show is available here or it’s more expensive …but I use your ideas to help me style my own outfits. Look forward to reading your posts every day

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  23. Arna wrote:

    Thank you for this and all your posts. I often use your outfits for inspiration (and shop my closet). As I prepare to move to NC, and retirement, I need to rethink my wardrobe (and purge my closet yet again.) Your blog (and a few others) are my inspiration to look my best. (I do look at your options for items, especially when an item is out of my price range, but I love the look.)
    I have never thought about getting a steamer (and I iron anything that needs it.) I am going to look at a few options on amazon (my go-to shopping these days).
    Thank you!

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  24. Caroline Spoth wrote:

    Thank you for the inspiration! Can I just say that there was a time when I worked a very responsible full time job and was an involved wife and Mom that still did my best every day to look good but it’s hard. So if the best you can do is a shower, blow dry and a clean sweat suit then your doing just fine! Put away the make up case and the heels, pull out the board game and some ice cream and enjoy life. There was one day after work when I threw my hands up in frustration and we did ice cream for dinner…..my son still talk about that day!

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  25. Pam wrote:

    You are so right to shop your closet. I do this every few months and it is surprising what I have to wear and don’t need or should go shopping! I also try to do this previous to a new season to see what I need or can build from.
    I enjoy your blog. Thank You!

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  26. Beth wrote:

    Hi Tania! I enjoy getting your daily emails in my inbox with my morning coffee 🙂
    I like seeing the items on a real live body – lol – but appreciate the similar items in other price points too.
    Keep up the good work!

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  27. Gayle wrote:

    Great post today, as always!! Yes, it is possible to dupe any outfit you feature if you just invest the time and creativity. For instance, you featured a blazer from Talbots last year that was white and black checked. I went to Marshalls and saw the same blazer look-wise (not the same brand but great quality) and bought it for $20!!! Your outfits are my inspiration and I can duplicate them by bargain shopping. Amazon has great prices on a lot of their clothing also. If I want an exact higher price point item that you have featured, then I simply keep checking the vendor’s website for sales. Patience has paid off many times and I have been able to purchase higher end items at greatly reduced prices. Keep up the great work, Tania. Your daughter is correct…..you can’t please everyone no matter how hard you try. You are awesome!!!!!

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
    • Cara wrote:

      Good morning! First of all thank you so much for your daily emails! Although I am somewhat of a newbie, they have become a part of my morning tea ritual. Secondly I appreciate the time and energy you put into your posts as well as all the options. And finally, I totally agree with your daughter. Keep up the good work! Your gurls appreciate YOU!

      Posted 2.22.21Reply
  28. Judy C wrote:

    I have been following you for over a year now and must say that one of the main reasons I so enjoy your posts is that you always mix the higher end items with the more reasonable items and it shows us how to mix it up and still look so good. I so look forward to your post every morning with my coffee. Thank you for mixing it up and giving us so many great tips.

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  29. Melvin Pavlicek wrote:

    I really like when you link to similar styles. Sometimes I am willing to spend a lot and other times, i’m on more of a budget. Thanks so much for spending the time to link to similar styles.

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  30. LuAnn wrote:

    Thank you for this post. I like similar items if gives me options if it is too costly for me. I use your posts to look for outfit ideas all the time. You do a fantastic job giving us gurls so many outfit ideas to keep us young at heart and up to date! Thanks for all your hard work grateful to have you and truly love the spiritual quotes!

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  31. BRENDA J FISHER wrote:

    I normally do not comment, but I felt is was important to let you know how much I enjoy your post and I appreciate the similar look area. You have inspired me to try some new looks. Thank you

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
    • Meg wrote:

      Tania, I love your blog and always look forward to reading it. I recently ordered the navy paisley sweater from Talbots and got it on a big discount (some special that was running). I rarely buy anything if it isn’t reduced or on sale. Thanks for sharing your insight.

      Posted 2.22.21Reply
  32. Cindy wrote:

    Thank you so much for today’s column! I am retired and on a budget – or as we call it “a broken income” instead of a fixed income. Love reading your column every day!

    Cindy

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
    • Angelia Wampner wrote:

      I read your blog use the outfit as inspiration and look in my own closet to see if there are similar things within it . I use your ideas as a sample of putting some items together, I may never have thought of. The price points are different for everyone, but that shouldnt matter for ideas. Keep up the good work, keep the blog the same. Its true you cant please everyone, just do your best!

      Posted 2.22.21Reply
  33. Chris wrote:

    You do a great job with variety of price points and options ! We know that takes so much time when preparing your posts! I never tire seeing the expensive items, that just gives us ideas and then we can find similar items for less!!!

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  34. Deb wrote:

    Good morning Tania. I have been following you from the time you were styling clothing from the QVC overstock store in your town. I don’t even know how many years ago that was…seems like forever! I love your stories and your Sunday posts.

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  35. Michele wrote:

    I love when you show options because I am that type of person who wants all the options. I appreciate all of the time and effort you put into your posts. I have used the “heart” feature on the clothing items and love when I get an email saying an item you posted is on sale. So very helpful.

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  36. Sheryl wrote:

    I love that you post comparable items. I normally like most of your clothes, but I find some might be more than what I want to spend. Options are always good.

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  37. mudra wrote:

    I have been wanting a steamer, but I don’t feel I have enough room. Where do you use your steamer? Thanks so much for covering this topic!

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  38. Denise wrote:

    Well as you know I have been following you for years and you have inspired me so much. A lot of the times your clothing is more than I’m willing to spend but that’s the cool part, because know it becomes a challenge! I screen shot what ever it is I like that you are styling and I go to say Marshall’s or Tj maxx and I look for the similar styles and it becomes fun for me. And I love how you have evolved thru out the years.😊

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
  39. Christine F wrote:

    Tania, I love how you have clothing from all the different retailers. Yes I really like Talbot’s but most items are out of my price range. I’m on a very fixed income. 🤑 Funny, one of my most favorite outfits you wore last year was the green palm print from Walmart. I do like that you show “similar items” especially when they area lower price point. Thank you for all the time I know you spend on your posts. I appreciate you! Blessings

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
    • Terry wrote:

      Christine f – Talbots runs sales most days. If you sign up for email, there will be an offer in your inbox daily. Didn’t know if you were aware.

      Posted 2.22.21Reply
  40. Karyn Lentz wrote:

    Thank you for continuing to encourage me with your blog …fashion-wise and spiritually. I enjoyed today’s topic about budget and wardrobe, especially pointing out consignment stores which has lead me to some surprising fashion treasures…from an alpaca long jacket to a Frye purse…both olive in color, but as I look best in autumn colors, I was thrilled.

    Posted 2.22.21Reply
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