Are you a savvy shopper, or do you let your heart lead your wallet astray?
I’m very much in the former camp with the occasional dalliance in the latter one! I love a good bargain – I mean, who doesn’t, right? And my wardrobe is stuffed to the gills with bargains I’ve scored over the years, and the outfit I’m wearing completely reflects that from top to toe. Literally from the top of my head to the tips of my toes!
Everything I’m wearing I either bought in the sales or on discount.
‘cough, cough’, smatters small voice of reason in the corner.
Ok, ok. Correction. Not ABSOLUTELY everything I’m wearing. I mean, I’m obviously excluding all me undergarments in this, plus my everyday jewellery and my bag. BUT, everything else, from my boots up to my beret was either bought as a sale bargain or bought on discount.
I’m fortunate that I have some money to play with for my clothes budget; mostly because my work clothes cost very little, leaving more for the fun items. I maybe buy a pair of leggings once every 6 months and never pay more than £20 per pair. However, that doesn’t mean I flash the cash around with gay abandonment. Heavens no. For years, during my 20’s and 30’s, I wasn’t exactly hunting for coins down the back of the sofa, but I did have to count every penny. I became expert at sniffing out bargains, a skill I’m still honing at 50!
Now everyone’s version of what constitutes ‘looking stylish on a budget’ will vary hugely. For some it will be limited to thrifting, to others having a set amount to use each month. It may involve buying a few high end pieces every year to pair with items bought from high street chains.
You see, the tricky thing about doing this kind of post is that one person’s idea of a sensible budget is another’s profligacy. It’s all open to interpretation.
There are many bloggers who dress very stylishly by only buying thrifted clothes which I find hugely admirable. However, some people don’t like thrifting. They just don’t feel comfortable at the thought of wearing someone else’s clothes and I respect that. Personally, I’ve never had a problem with it and over the years I have managed to buy some amazing bargains via charity shops or second hand sites. Building a wardrobe entirely on thrifted clothes can be challenging if you’re at either end of the size spectrum and as a petite, I would find it difficult. And I’m not going to denial that I enjoy that frisson when buying new season clothes or even better, end of season clothes at rock bottom prices!
The key to this post though is showing that you can successfully build a wardrobe that reflects your style personality, without having to buy new clothes at full price.
In some ways, I’m probably a brand’s worse nightmare as I rarely buy clothes full price. I tried to think what ratio of full price to sale price it would be.
20% full price to 80% sales? 10% / 90%?
But I tired quickly, as the thought of percentages made my head hurt. I was never very good at percentages at school. Suffice to say the ratio is definitely a low % full price figure to a high % sale price!
And the outfit I’m wearing couldn’t better reflect that if I tried! Let’s work our way up from bottom to top.
– The boots were nearly 70% off the Recommended Retail Price at a discount store.
– The coated jeans were half price in the sale.
– The gloves were bought on a 20% off promotion.
– The jumper was half price in the sale.
– The jacket was bought during a 30% off promotion.
– The scarf was bought for 5 euros from a market stall on a promotion.
– The beret was bought in the sale, can’t remember for how much.
– And finally, the necklace, ring and bracelet I’m wearing were all sale items, under half price!
Not bad, huh?
The bag is the odd one out as that was bought full price but boy has it given me a fantastic return on my investment as you’ve seen it worn with Tweed and Pearls and a Bomber Jacket & Leopard Print Doc Martens amongst others.
Now before anyone says ‘oh bore off with ya bargains, woman’, I’m not blowing
my own trumpet and saying ‘oooooh look at me and all my great buys’,
like some teenage vlogger gloating over their haul on youtube!
Nothing could be further from the truth. I wore this outfit two weekends ago when Tall Brown Fox and I went out to Sunday lunch and then a mooch around the little gem of a museum in East London called the Geffrye Museum. As I was deciding what to wear for our jaunt to Hoxton, I began to realise that everything I’d picked to wear were either savvy sale triumphs or discerning discount delights, from the key pieces to the accessories.
And so the seed for a post of ‘how to look stylish on a budget’, was planted.
And I didn’t just wear my accessories to show off my bargain buying skills but because they were necessities to wear that day! It was one of those glorious early Spring days when …
the light is so crisp,
the air so fresh,
the sun is so bright
but it’s not quite warmed up enough to dispense with gloves or scarf!
How to be savvy when shopping for a bargain.
Isn’t it easy to get carried away just because something is in the sale? I think we’ve all been there, done that, got the t-shirt!
Not all of us have salaries that after covering bills have enough stretch left in them for endless clothes buying. Bloggers will get given free items of clothing but to date I’ve chosen not to do any collaborations but that will happen when the time is right. Everything you see has been bought with my own hard moolah, so I have to make smart choices to get the most bang for my buck!
The trick is knowing what has worked for you in the past, in case you want to buy similar items, what you already have in your wardrobe so you avoid too many duplications and knowing what gaps are in your wardrobe that could be filled.
This outfit is the perfect example of buying clothes you
a) specifically want
b) are in the market for if you happen to see them
c) you’re not necessarily needing but are at a price that’s too good to pass up.
Take the jeans.
I already own a black pair of coated jeans. I love wearing them so I was purposely looking for a second pair but in another colour. I veritably lusted after these waxed, petite, Brighton biker skinny jeans from Boden in this rich burgundy colour. When they went into the sale, I gleefully swooped to buy a pair.
Take the jumper.
I’ve been slowly upgrading my knitwear and have been keeping my eyes peeled for a light weight jumper that would transition from Winter to Spring AND be ideal for Autumn and this little number from Warehouse ticked the box. It was in their recent Winter end of season sale and when they did an extra 20% off, bringing it down to exactly half price, I didn’t hang around.
The contemporary design is so striking – almost like a modern art painting – yet it’s a design that won’t date. It’s the kind of piece that not only works for casual wear but will look fantastic with a leather skirt, for a feminine yet sophisticated look.
And the best bit apart from the price? The pattern is ALL over the jumper, not just on the front. I can’t tell you how irked I get when I find a jumper I like but discover the pattern is just on the front!
Take the boots.
Keen readers of my blog may remember I already own a pair of snakeskin boots. These booties I’ve worn many times on the blog but which look particularly fetching from a post almost a year ago to the day: Transitioning to Spring
So I was hardly gagging to buy another pair! The issue of owning duplicates that I mentioned earlier.
But sometimes you have to strike when you see. These are from Ecco, a well established Danish brand whose ankle boots can retail for 3 figures. I spotted them in tkmaxx where the price label said RRP £135.00 but the store price was actually £49.99!
50 quid for a top notch pair of uber comfortable, leather boots!!!
I would’ve been daft as Daffy Duck not to have bought them.
Take the jewellery.
My amber ring was a present from Tall Brown Fox but the arrow ring and bracelet I bought in the sale for £3 and £5 respectively, proving fun accessories don’t have to cost the earth.
A little bit of bling can go a long way!
Warehouse Firefly Jumper is now sold out but Warehouse Poppy Print Jumper is currently on offer
Looking Stylish Footnote
Savvy buying and exerting a little patience can pay dividends and allows you to build a wardrobe that really works for your lifestyle and purse. You don’t have to buy at the start of a season, unless you really want a special item. Take a deep breath, hold out for a while and then you are often rewarded with some great finds at half the price. And the jacket, jumper and jeans will all be worn long past their original season is over without dating.
And all these pieces I’ve collected that make up this particular outfit – some new, some old – all fit seamlessly into my existing wardrobe and can be mixed and matched with other pieces.
A small budget doesn’t have to be limiting. And neither does looking stylish when you’re over 50!
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