how we save: affordable style

i think it's pretty funny that i am sharing my thoughts on personal style today. really, it all started when i chose my word "quality" for 2014. that little word meant so many things to me, but specifically it meant how i cared for myself. 

at the time i rarely thought about how i felt & who i was in terms of how i dressed. i wore yoga pants most days because they're more acceptable than pajamas. bonus points: it looked like i was going to the gym every day (i wasn't). once my 2014 word was chosen, #dressinhappinessdaily (join us on instagram!) was born & my journey toward self-care began. you can read more about my self-care thoughts here. 

throughout this little journey, my habits have changed but my budget hasn't.

 i'm still that gal who wants to feel cute while wearing clothing with integrity & staying within a small budget. what does that look like for me? about $50 to spend on clothing in a good month. sometimes we only budget $25 for clothing & other months we remove the category from our budget completely. 

 you won't find high fashion or "how to wear neon" here. on today's blog post, you will find some simple outfits & a few ways to shop well while spending a little less cash. here are five tips & tricks to make your budget & closet work for you...

side note: i have been thinking about & documenting outfits for this blog post for some time. during that time, i have also lost about 15 lb. i realize i look somewhat different in some of these photos, but it's still me! more on my weight loss journey (struggles) soon...

1. shop your closet: i love making my old clothes do. actually, i love making my old clothes fabulous. the very best way to save money? shop from your closet. the floral dress up above has been in my closet for years. paired with my normal go-to cardigan & jeans along with a funky necklace & my bright yellow sandals makes this outfit fun. i picked up that necklace at a thrift shop for less than $2. score!

2. pop some tags: shopping at thrift shops is more popular now than ever as it should be! big props to macklemore. it's exciting to find a piece of clothing you eyed in the store just a few short months ago.  it's also less expensive & sustainable. the navy & white shirt up above was picked up from goodwill for $3. tip: i keep a little list in my purse of items i am looking for at the thrift store. 

3. always re-style: i waited forever to purchase a maxi dress. i almost caved & bought one at a department store that was just ok. i am so thankful that i waited because a week later while shopping at goodwill, i found two fantastic maxi dresses originally from the loft for $4 each. they're so versatile, too. up above i am wearing the same dress but styled differently. in the first photo, i threw on a loose fitting top with a funky necklace for date night. the other look included my go-to cardigan with matching earrings & sandals for work. 

4. inexpensive accessories can make an old outfit feel new: in both photos above, i freshened up my outfits with inexpensive accessories. i purchased the belt from a yard sale for just a couple of bucks. it works perfectly with dresses & loose tops to give some definition to my waist. in the other photo, i purchased that bag from the thrift shop. it makes me feel like i am heading to the beach! it's so fun how one little change to an outfit can make it feel like you've never worn it before.

5. host a clothing swap & embrace hand-me-downs: my girlfriends & i get together for a clothing swap every season. it's a great time to hang out while cleaning out your closet, grabbing a couple of free clothing items & saving money. it makes me so happy when i see my friends rocking a dress or shirt i just couldn't pull off. the photo at the very top was originally my mom's shirt! she passes down clothing to me all the time & i embrace her generous gifts! if you don't want to host a swap, find a friend who is similar in size to you & trade clothing. 

i hope some of these tips were helpful. remember, you are so worth those few extra minutes each day & it doesn't have to break the bank. 

do you have any suggestions for how to save money while dressing well? please share!


mandi said...

Great post Natalie! You know thrifting is my go to!


Callie said...

love this! miss our clothing swap days. I've hosted some up here, but it's not the same :) BTW, you look AMAZING!!! seriously girl, you look so great!

Katie said...

Great post! I depend on thrifting and clothing swaps to keep my closet stocked.

Oo, I have a tip/trick: I would always doubt my fashion judgement in the moment, getting bogged down with a bunch of "maybes" that I ultimately wouldn't wear. Now I use Pinterest to organize my favorite looks. Then, instead of taking home a bunch of "okay" thrift pieces, I focus on the things that I honestly love and will wear again and again. I'm slowly curating a closet that makes getting dressed easy (everything looks great!) and cheap (it's still thrifted).


natalie said...

Katie, what a great idea!!! thanks for sharing, girlie! :)

Jenni said...

I love these ideas! I have also found some steals on Zulily.

Anonymous said...

I love this post!! I haven't really shopped retail in 10 years... probably 90% of my wardrobe is thrift and goodwill...! My biggest thing is look for the labels at goodwill-- it's amazing how many ann taylor loft, gap, etc. pieces I find that are practically new! But you can also get trendy things to try for not a lot of cash which I love.
And I also have ♥ for the jeans and dress combo... and I am not too shy to take a pair of scissors to a frock that's just not quite cutting it this year...!
Keep up the good work! I'm enjoying your blog girl!

Kathy said...

My tip? Try the Project 333 challenge! It's a fantastic way to really create a wardrobe full of quality clothes that you LOVE!

Sam said...

I like to shops the 50-70% off racks at a Target. I have a rule that I don't spend more than $12 on pants and more than $5 on shirts. It's harder to find deals for my hubbs, though. He wears 2XL. Any tips for that would be good. Thanks for your blog. I've really been enjoying it.

Skapt said...

I tend to find really good bargains (new or thrifted) when I don't really have the money for it. If it's something I love, feel great in and can see myself wearing in a variety of occasions, I might buy it anyway, and let another part of our budget (i.e date night, takeaway coffee, cosmetics, even food) suffer. It might feel wrong there and then, but in the long run I've never regretted it!

Danielle said...

Clothing swaps are super fun! I've gained a favorite pair of earrings, a new purse, a dress, and a robe. So fun!

Caitlin | belong with wildflowers said...

Reusing older clothes is such a great way to keep the clothing budget low. I am constantly looking for new accessories and such to dress up an old outfit.

Your bit about thrift shopping made me laugh. I literally just wrote a post a week or so ago about thrift shopping, and named it 'pop some tags'. Mackelmore is one smart guy!

Angela Spencer said...

I recently discovered and I've gotten a couple items for a really good price. Usually I'm not into name brands, but I got an adorable J. Crew dress for $20 (shipping and all) and then got a $10 credit for downloading the app. With that, I got some long shorts and just had to pay $4 in shipping. I don't buy anything unless I need it, but saving on good quality clothes is always nice.

Anonymous said...

You are just darling! I love your style and will be hitting up a Goodwill ASAP. Thanks for the inspiration! xx

Katie Probert said...

Hey Natalie! Just discovered your lovely blog. This post is GREAT! I share the same ideas as you about making your wardrobe 'do'. I like to try and make sure everything goes with everything (or as near as possible!) so that there's lots of mix and match potential for creating 'new' outfits from 'old' clothes. I loved your tips about jazzing up outfits with accessories.
Happy thrifting!

Katie. X

Taylor said...

You are absolutely adorable. I love your style!

erin said...

love this!!!
you need to link back to your older posts way more often! i would have never run across this post on my own.

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