Fashion

10 ways to dress smartly for less

By: Heather Buchan

Author: Canadian Living

Fashion

10 ways to dress smartly for less

By: Heather Buchan

You don't need to spend a fortune to be a style maven. And you certainly don't have to forgo style in order to save money. You simply need time, patience and some tips. Budget limitations can force you to become more creative in what you wear and how you wear things, so read on! Armed with the following shopping tips, you're sure to turn heads without breaking the bank.

1. Go vintage
Vintage stores are great places to find retro-chic styles at bargain prices. Another bonus: you'll be hard-pressed to find someone else wearing the same thing as you at your next party. For listings of secondhand clothing stores across Canada, go to www.shopincanada.com and type in "used clothing."

2. Be sale savvy
Boxing Day is not the only time of year to snag bargains. In fact, most sales extend far past Boxing Day throughout the rest of January and into February. And end-of-summer sales generally take place in late July, before the fall clothing hits the racks. Be sure to also check out the fashion section of your local newspaper for listings of special clothing sales going on in your area.

3. Shop consignment
Many first-rate deals on secondhand designer clothes are found at consignment shops. Generally, consignment stores stock designer bags, shoes, clothing and accessories that are almost new and only a few years old. The best part: items are usually 50 to 75 per cent off what they would have cost brand-new. Check your local Yellow Pages under Consignment Shops or search the Web for stores near you.

4. Accessorize
Nothing ties an outfit together like an eye-catching belt, a colourful scarf, a unique piece of jewelry or a gorgeous pair of shoes. When buying accessories, give careful consideration to their suitability with most of your wardrobe. There are many cheap knockoffs of designer accessories today so you can have fun playing around with different looks without spending a fortune.

Page 1 of 2 — on page 2, learn to concentrate on the basics.

5. Concentrate on basics
Black pants with a simple cut are a great place to build a wardrobe from. Not only are they slimming but they can be dressed up or down with the right shoes and accessories, and they can be paired with just about any style of top. Another staple is a simple, well-cut white cotton-blend T-shirt. It can go from the office (under a blazer) to a nighttime engagement (with a colourful necklace) to the weekend (paired with jeans).

6. Wash with common sense
Before buying clothing, ask yourself, "Can the fabric be machine washed, or does it require dry cleaning?" Having to dry-clean an item that you'll wear a lot adds significantly to the overall cost of that piece of clothing.

7. Throw a clothes-swapping party
What's better than a good bargain on clothes? Free clothes! We all have items we haven't worn in years because we no longer like them or they no longer fit. Invite your girlfriends over for drinks and appetizers and ask each friend to bring a shopping bag full of clothes she no longer wants. At the party, everyone gets to rummage through the other people's bags and pick out items they want. Any leftovers can be donated to Goodwill or another charity.

8., 9. and 10. -- Use selective and smart shopping tactics
Before forking over your hard-earned money for any new garment, ask yourself these questions:
1. What three things can I wear this item with?
2. What three places can I wear this item to?
3. What three ways can I accessorize this item?

Instead of worrying about what you can't afford to buy, think of the world of bargain-shopping possibilities that awaits you. After all, there's nothing more gratifying than knowing how little you paid for something you feel fantastic wearing.

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Fashion

10 ways to dress smartly for less

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