Ways to Look Classy on a Budget

Flip through the pages of any fashion magazine and it probably won’t be long until you come across a supermodel or celebrity in a totally swoon-worthy outfit. The top, the pants, the shoes — they all go together effortlessly, leaving us mere mortals with major wardrobe envy. If only we had all that money to spend on clothes and accessories, right?

Well, the good news is that you don’t have to be famous or rich to look like a million bucks. In fact, anyone can enjoy looking stylish and chic on the regular — all it takes is knowing a few tricks of the trade. That’s why I went to the experts to find out exactly what it takes to look classy on a budget.

Look Great at one-time Events

While saving money on clothing is never a bad thing, there are some occasions that are worth splurging for. “One of the biggest style mistakes women make is going cheap or not splurging for a friend’s wedding or gala,” said Zaryouni. “It’s true that you won’t get as many wears from the dress as a pair of jeans, but you have to think about how many people will see you and pay attention. There’s also photos, which means you should definitely put in the extra effort!”

Explore Thrift Stores

If you’re looking to score some major deals on high-end items, you may want to explore local thrift shops. “I’m a huge fan of thrift shopping when my clients are on a budget,” Fashion Designer and Personal Stylist Erika Paige told me in an interview. “You would be surprised how many items I find new with tags. Almost half!”

Her advice: utilize local stores like Plato’s Closet, Buffalo Exchange, and local consignment boutiques. “They buy gently used items that are in currently in style, easy, and affordable for any budget. You can get high quality clothing for a lot less money.”


When it comes to looking classy, accessories can make all the difference. “Using jewelry to accessorize any outfit instantly dresses it up,” said Paige. She’s also a big fan of unique items like vintage handbags. “Every woman should own something with a story, something that was passed down or an item that just caught her eye when she was out.”

Fill Your Closet with Neutrals

While a pop of color is always fun, Seabaugh is a fan of neutrals to add a hint of sophistication. “An all neutral palette immediately screams put together,” she told me. “Try a pair of boyfriend jeans with a clean white top and camel jacket. Many of these pieces you can find at an array of stores and prices, so you can find pieces that fit your budget. And better yet, neutrals all go together, so lots of outfit combinations!”

When in Doubt, Wear all Black

Reese also loves a one color outfit. In fact, her rule of thumb is when in doubt, go for all black. “It coordinates with everything and always delivers an effortlessly cool vibe,” she said.

Paige agreed, suggesting, “Opt for a simple black dress that can go with anything. Pair with a formal jacket to dress it up, or with simple sandals to dress it down. You can buy an inexpensive simple black (or white) dress anywhere.”

Always be Clean and Confident

More than being stylish, being classy is all about looking polished. “An inexpensive way to look put together is to always look clean,” said Pereda. “Your clothes say a lot about you. You can make a tee and jeans look sloppy by being wrinkled, or not the right fit, or even stained — what a tragedy!” Her advice: always make sure your outfits are planned out the night before so you have enough time to steam or iron out any wrinkles.

She also noted that a big part of being classy is being confident. “A common misconception about looking well put together is that you have to be wearing an expensive outfit. But that’s complete BS,” she told me. “It’s literally all about the confidence and the way you carry yourself. Hold your head up high and be proud of your wardrobe choices.”

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