Stylin’ On A Budget

When it comes to style, most people think you have to spend a lot of money on name brand clothing to be stylish. That is far from the truth. True style is not about name brands at all – it’s about finding the right clothes that fit you and accentuate all of your positive body attributes. True style relies less on tags and more on confidence.

“Style is the only thing you can’t buy. It’s not in a shopping bag, a label, or a price tag. It’s something reflected from our soul to the outside world — an emotion.”

Alber Elbaz

In order to find your style, you first have to be comfortable with who you are and how your body is shaped. The majority of people are not built like models, so stop trying to dress like one. Whether you are short and overweight or tall and skinny, you have to accept yourself for who you are and what you look like in order for your style to work. If you have skinny legs or big thighs, know that there are plenty of pant options for you out there. If you have a muscular chest or you are carrying extra weight around the stomach area, know that there are plenty of shirts that can show off or hide what you got.

The myth that I want dispel in this post, is that it takes money to be stylish. The outfit I am wearing costs me less than $50!!! I found this shirt at J. Crew’s Factory online store for $24. I purchased these chinos at Target for $22.99.

“Fashion is what you’re offered four times a year by designers.

And style is what you choose.”

Lauren Hutton

Target has a line of chinos that are comparable to the same chinos you’ll find at other higher-priced retail outlets. These chinos I am wearing are slim-fit, 98% cotton and 2% spandex, so it has some stretch in them. If slim-fit is not your style, they have an athletic fit and a straight fit, all made with the same materials. The shirt I am wearing is from the untucked category and slim-fit as well, and it is still cheaper than other untucked casual shirts for men at other retailers.

If you’re a man reading this, and you’re trying to up your game in the wardrobe department, or if you’re a woman reading this and looking for ways to shop for a special man in your life, here are my five tips to help you out:

Take inventory. Spend one day in your closet and go through your clothes. Take into account the items you tend to wear most, and why. Remove the items in your closet that you haven’t worn in the last season, and donate them to a local organization.

Make a list. Think about the clothing items you don’t have or the clothing items that you’ve always wanted to have and write them down by category. They don’t have to brand name specific, just as long as you categorize them (ie. pants, shirts, shoes, jackets, suits, etc.) The list also keeps you accountable and prevents you from making too many impulse purchases.

Sign up. Create accounts at places that you like to shop, and sign up for email reminders. This is where your list comes in handy, because when your favorite shops have sales, you can easily cross-reference those sales with your list of items you want, and see if there is something on sale that you can buy. This also ties into another secret of mine, which is learning how to buy clothes out of season. Don’t buy shorts in the summer and don’t buy coats in the winter, buy them in the offseason, because they are always cheaper.

Search for outlets and factory stores. Just about every major department store has an online factory/outlet shop where they sell items at a super-high discount that is actually cheaper than the on-sale items on the stores main shopping website. For example, Banana Republic, Gap and J. Crew all have online factory stores that are separate e-commerce websites from their main e-commerce website. Utilize the power of technology to find those deals.

Wear it how you want. Just because you have on chinos or a long sleeve shirt, doesn’t mean you have to wear them as is. Learn how to cuff your pants to create the right silhouette for your legs or to show off your socks and sneakers. Learn how to roll your sleeves to transform a dress shirt into a casual shirt. If you want to wear a shirt untucked, be sure that it doesn’t have a super long tail on it. Get comfortable with leaving  your top two buttons unbuttoned, or throw a white tee underneath your unbuttoned casual shirt. Just because the shirt has buttons, doesn’t mean you have to use them all.

“Style is something each of us already has, all we need to do is find it.”

Diane von Furstenberg

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