How to look good all the time for less

Creating a Wardrobe on a Budget

by Berlin Mama


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Have you ever seen a person who looks stunning and thought, "I wish I could look that great?" The truth is you can. Here are some simple steps that will help anyone look beautiful and stylish on a limited budget!

First of all, gather some inspiration and organize the findings in a way that you can see what kind of style is truly your favorite and would suit your lifestyle. You'll need time and photos that you cut out of magazines and books. Alternatively, you could use Pinterest and the internet to create an electronic inspiration board. In my case, I used the latter and kept the looks organized by season. I also used pictures of some style icons from the past as well as some current celebrities whose style I find inspirational and relevant.

It is important to take time on this stage as this is the raw material from which your unique style will emerge. If you rush on this stage, it is likely you will end up regretting the time and cash spent on items that you don't like very much after all. On the other hand, don't just stick exclusively to the items and colors that you are accustomed to wearing. Let your eyes and heart choose. In the end, you might discover new combinations that will make you look and feel great!

When your "collection" is ready, it is time to go through it and ask yourself how often you would wear these looks. Keep in mind that some details can be adjusted to your needs. Since becoming a mother, I had to ditch high heels. However, I managed to keep some of my looks by integrating kitten heels and ballerina flats. I have also discovered that shoes with a long narrow toe box create a longer silhouette just like heels do.

Once you have the looks that you are going to wear, it is a time to make a shopping list. Of course, we all have a budget to consider. If you can afford shopping at the discounted designer stores, this is where your next step will lead you. As I am quite comfortable buying most of my clothes, shoes, and bags second-hand, I turn to secondhand stores and flea markets. Keep your list in mind or literally in front of you. There may be some items that look great, but don't fit into your style. These items would just saturate your wardrobe. In my case, if the item does not fit the "bigger picture," I leave it behind.

You might also discover that some clothes from the list do not fit well on you. If there is a possibility to try the item in a bigger or smaller size than you usually wear, you should do so. For example, according to Nina Garcia, the author of The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own, when buying a suit jacket try a size smaller than what you usually wear. The purpose is to have the jacket to fit tight around shoulders and waist. Wear it open with a large silk scarf around your neck if you like. As a relatively short female with well-defined shoulders, this advice has been a real "look-saver." Another tip is to try out different material. Some thicker materials fit better than thinner ones, including lined skirts and dresses.

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As some new items arrive to your wardrobe, it is a time to give away or sell those items that do not suit your look-book. There may be people out there who would love to wear the items that don't serve you well any longer. Be generous!

Finally, there is one important rule to remember. Trendy looks, even if achieved on a budget, have a very short life span. As Kit Kemp, a famous designer and hotelier, put it, "If your hotel (or, in our case, wardrobe) looks too fashionable, it will soon become unfashionable." So true!


Berlin Mamma is a full-time mother and a free-lance writer. She lives in Berlin, Germany with her husband, son, and a dog. In addition to fashion, she is interested in interior design and cooking.

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