Style doesn’t cost a thing.
Admit it, we’ve all been there—it’s the end of the month and finances are running low. And you’re faced with having to choose between being a responsible adult (paying bills, you know) and spending on a fabulous pair of new shoes or splurging on that latest collection at your favourite store. “But it’s on sale” or “they’re going to run out of my size”, we say to convince ourselves that we’re actually saving money instead. Lies, all lies, and you know it.
But we’re not here to judge, we’re here to help. Instead of forking out from your precious savings, curb your impulses and try our tips instead. You’d still be able to look good — without spending way more than you should.
Your mom was once your age and she was most likely just like you — sassy, youthful and fashion conscious. Best of all, we’d bet she owned a plethora of stylish pieces in her heyday, which are still in her closet and not worn in decades. Vintage clothing? Score! Mixing retro and vintage pieces with contemporary garments are in trend, and you should take advantage of that to create fresh looks. For example, pair mum’s polka dot swing skirt with your own buttoned top and wear the ensemble with a straw hat. Or tuck mum’s printed blouse into baggy jeans and sling a bag over your shoulders.
Another great tip is to raid your brother’s wardrobe—think boyfriend shirts and oversized outerwear. Cinch your waist with a slim belt or wear them tucked into a maxi skirt — and voila! You’ll have yourself a brand new outfit without having to whip out your credit card.
Keeping up with fast fashion can be a nightmare, but the great thing about it is that as soon as a new style comes about—which is normally anywhere from two weeks to a month in a typical retail store—the previous one goes on sale. Mark your calendars for big sales like Black Friday, Single’s Day and Cyber Monday and plan to shop then. This way, you get to shop new trends without spending a lot. And since fashion recycles itself, you don’t have to worry about it not being in style after wearing it a few times.
Instead of spending a huge sum on one-of-a-kind apparel that serve a very specific purpose (we’re looking at you, sequin dress), invest in basic pieces that can be paired with a variety of other items in your wardrobe for a different look each time. We say take a page out of a Parisian woman’s wardrobe and pare down to the essentials—jeans, t-shirt, blouses, a little black dress, to name a few. These pieces never go out of style, making you look fabulous all year round.
Our favourite example is a classic blazer that’s cinched at the waist to accentuate your figure. You can wear it with a t-shirt and jeans ensemble, over a dress to either mute it down or dress it up and with a pencil skirt and blouse combination. Try white or navy instead of black for a chic alternative. Other great examples include a white v-neck t-shirt or buttoned shirt, a black pencil skirt and a comfortable yet ch
Do like Marie Kondo and find the clothes in your wardrobe that spark joy, paying special attention to the ones you love that no longer fit right. Try them all on and note down the fitting issues—is it too loose? Or is it too long? And once you’re done with that, take a trip down to your favourite local seamstress and have them altered to fit your body, which will cost you less than buying a new garment.
For old sweaters that either too warm for Singapore or have seen better days, take a page out of these models’ books (Bella Hadid and Hailey Baldwin, to name a few) — cut it and wear it as a crop top. And when it comes to jeans that are a tad too tight around your waist, we recommend trying out former Spice Girl-turned-fashion-designer Victoria Beckham’s hack: Cutting little V’s at the side of the waist of the jeans and mending the gaps with elastic. How fabulous is that?
Accessories are a great way to up the ante on any outfit—but that’s not to say that it should be the focal point of your outfit. Here, subtlety is essential. Dress up a classic t-shirt and jeans outfit with an elegant watch, a dainty necklace or two and earrings in metallic tones that complement your skin tone. Tip: Warmer colours work better on richer skin tones and cooler colours look better on paler skin tones. Search your shoe closet as well — a chic and sleek pair of heels (whether they are boots, strappy ones or stilettos) can elevate the simplest of outfits. Also, don’t forget your bag — opt for something that’ll provide a pop of colour and personality.
By Navin Pillay February 2019 / Images: Shutterstock
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