Pretty Style on a Budget

by Ami Hanson
When was the last time you looked in your closet and loved every single piece in there? If it’s ever happened before, it’s probably been a while since you’ve felt that way. About twice a year I get the overwhelming feeling of boredom with every piece of clothing in my closet. Nothing is safe: tank tops, sandals, scarves, basic shirts – they all receive an eye roll while I’m picking out the lucky outfit of the day. To solve this dilemma of disdain, I go on a “spending spree” to spruce up my wardrobe. And by “spending spree,” I mean I purchase as much as I can for as little cash as possible. Here’s how I maintain a pretty style on a budget!

1. Shop Thrift and Second-Hand

When I get bored with everything in my closet, I get an itch to go shopping. However, I’m not a shopaholic. I can only handle shopping like this a few times a year. Usually, around fall and spring, I like to get new clothes for the upcoming seasons. While my haul is pretty large, I’m still a cheapskate when it comes to purchasing clothes. I like to visit the “cheap-o” stores that others might not think to go to, or only go to on occasion. Goodwill, Plato’s Closet, and Uptown Cheapskate (see if there’s one in your area) are some of my favorites. Do a little research and see what local thrift stores are in your area. Also, at places like Uptown Cheapskate, you can take in the clothes you don’t want anymore, get cash and use that to help fund your new clothing purchases!

2. Wait and Shop the Clearance

When I venture into the “pricier” stores, I always make a beeline for the clearance sections. Let me stop right here. If you’re not shopping the clearance section of retail stores, you’re missing out! I love going straight to those racks in Target to see what kind of treasures I can find. I try not to get anything over $12 or $13, but there’s always plenty of goodies! One purchase that I was particularly excited about was a dress I needed for a bridal shower this past fall. It’s a deep, fall purple color, it matches with several style outfits, and it’s perfect for most seasons. It’s easy math: a versatile dress + clearance prices = Ami’s buying!

My husband and I both rocking some of our clearance finds! I absolutely love this dress!

I don’t mean to change your whole way of thinking (okay, maybe I do…), but what if we shopped toward the end of a season instead of the beginning of a season?? Notice how I said toward the end… Y’all know all these retail stores start putting away their sweaters in January to make room for those bikinis! Well, there’s a whole other month or two of good winter time (at least where I am) that I could be wearing sweaters! What I’m getting at here is if you shop toward the end of any given season, you will probably find clothes that are still in style and that you’d still be able to wear with the month or two that you have left in that season.

Women’s Navy Floral Crochet Trim Blouse – Reg $37.99 Clearance $18.98

It’s about to be spring in a couple months, so I might go grab a couple of sweaters for me and my husband, like the one below, that I know will be in style this year and next.

Men’s Cable Crew Neck Sweater – Reg $34.99 Clearance $17.48

Tip: Many of these clearance racks have the previous season’s styles; just put them away for next season, and it’ll be a fun surprise to see your “new clothes” when you open those bins the following year! Also, I don’t have kids yet, but I hear they grow. A lot. Each year. So that means one year’s winter coat or tennis shoes might not fit the following year. Try shopping the end-of-the-year clothes sales to snag the sizes that your kids will probably fit in next year!

3. Mix and Match From Your Closet

One REALLY easy way to save money while staying stylish is, well – not spending money at all. “But wait, Ami, how is that possible if I want a new wardrobe…” Well, let’s start with Alison Lumbatis, a stylist and blogger who has taught me (and thousands of others) lots of ways to own, wear and shop for a capsule wardrobe. One of my favorite tips she gives is to “shop your own closet.” Spend some time really getting to know what’s actually in your closet. Pull out some of your favorite items, then mix and match them in a new way! Even try to get them out of their comfort zone and pull a few pieces out to your bed or a couch or something. Physically move them around to see what new and exciting combinations you can come up with! It’s fun. 😉

Well, there you have it. A couple of fun, simple, and affordable ways you can shop for clothes, keep them out of sight and mind for a few seasons, and look in your own closet for a few new and exciting possibilities! Until next time!

Where are some of your favorite places to score some amazing deals and finds?
About Ami

I’m Ami Hanson, and I’m an outgoing and twirly – yet organized and particular – Texan gal. I’m interested in way too many things, like (in no particular order) food, fashion, home improvement, my husband, my dog, Jesus, grammar/English language, philosophical ponderings, world events – all of it. So I decided to write about it all in my new blog called Being Amiable! I love my amazing husband and silly dog more than most things, and I quote Friends and Gilmore Girls way too much. Welcome to my crazy – but structured – corner of the world!