How many times have you found yourself admiring a new potential clothing purchase only to have your fashion daydream crushed by a hefty price tag that rivals your rent? Let’s face it, being fabulous and broke is no easy feat. For style mavens with checking account balances that fall short of being able to support their wildest fashion fantasies there is hope. With a little common sense and shopping savvy a great look can be achieved without spending a fortune.

Take Inventory

Before venturing off on your next shopping trip take stock of what’s already in the closet. Get rid of clothing that no longer flatters or reflects your current personal style and weed out duplicate items. Honestly, does one really need 10 black t-shirts that don’t fit properly anyway? The goal is to figure out what is needed in order to have a more focused shopping experience. This is also an opportune time to rediscover gems that you already own!

Shop Smart

Unless you’re headed for the clearance rack, the mall might not be the best place to hunt for a deal. Sample or warehouse sales are more ideal places to pick up designer goods for fractions of the original price. Outlet malls, consignment and vintage shops in larger cities tend to have chic fashions at great prices. If you don’t have access to these options or if you prefer mall shopping try making friends with the sales staff at your favorite spots. They can alert you to sales and new merchandise shipments. Buying off-season items while their prices are drastically reduced is another way to save yourself a nice chunk of change.

Get the Look for Less

Achieving great style on a budget is easier than ever before thanks to designers producing diffusion (read less expensive) collections with mass merchants like Target and Payless shoes. Great interpretations of the latest trends can often be found at H&M, TJMaxx, Forever 21, TopShop, Zara and Old Navy to name a few. Don’t forget about the internet also known as the frugal fashionistas dream! This is especially true if you’re unable to take advantage of the alternative shopping options mentioned in the previous point. Try www.anyknockoff.com, www.fashionflairs.com, www.asos.com. www.the15dollarstore.com, www.girlprops.com, www.ebay.com, and www.endless.com for fabulous deals.

Save vs. Splurge

Knowing when to spend a little more on an investment purchase and when to save by hunting for a bargain is an essential part of getting more for your money. Invest in anything you absolutely love, clothing that has a great fit, classic never-go-out–of- style items like suits and pencil skirts, and accessories that add polish and a touch of distinction to any outfit. Save on trendy items that you’ll care less about next year and basics like t-shirts that you can purchase anywhere. Also consider care and maintenance when deciding whether your next purchase is really a steal. It’s ideal to have a balance of both investment and thrifty finds so that the total look doesn’t scream “cheap.”

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