3 steps to transition into Quality while on a budget


Hi Karenann!

My name is Alex; I am in the fashion and busniness club at Temple Univeristy that you spoke to just a couple weeks ago and I could really use some advice. Although I have a job, I’m on a tight budget, but fashion is something that means a lot to me because it’s how I market myself. I’m only 19 but I find myself wanting more expensive, quality pieces in my wardrobe and most importantly to get rid of all of the less expensive pieces that take up space. What can I do to make that transition into a more mature wardrobe and getting rid of all my teenage pieces? Also, any advice on budgeting my money when it comes to buying these more expensive pieces I want?
Thank you so much!
Alex Cove
Thank you for your Question! You’re certainly not alone when it comes to wanting quality pieces on a budget.  This question is a very important one and I consistently get asked about it.  If the answer can help you, it can help others.
First of all, kudos to you for wanting to clear out the clutter and enjoy more quality things in your wardrobe. It’s not easy to recognize this, but once you do, you’re on the road to progress. Here’s 3 steps I’ve come up with to help you transition to more quality pieces on a budget:
Step 1: Get Light.

….light-weight in your wardrobe, that is. Go through each and every single piece of wardrobe you own.  Include coats, shoes, accessories like scarves and jewelry and even underwear and socks.  Like my girl Marie Kondo says, consistently ask yourself on every single piece,  “does this spark joy in my life?” If the answer is no, you need to get rid of it (donate it to someone who would gladly get use out it).
Doing so ensures that you’re surrounding yourself with only things that bring you happiness and that support you. It’s really going to take a while, but it’s totally worth it.  If you want to learn more in this area, read this.
Step 2: Get Crafty.
After you clear out the clutter, you’re probably asking yourself, “how am I possibly going to function on these few items I’ve kept that bring me joy?!” Queue the genius inside you. Recreate new outfits with what you have. Again, it will take some time, but totally worth it.  It’s about acknowledging the things that you do have that bring you joy, and using them in a new way.  You may want to scour Pinterest, magazines, tumblr, or street style websites to get some inspiration and ideas.  For example, pair a really dressy, feminine skirt with a worn-in rocker or casual t-shirt.  The two extremes balance each other out. Wear a long sleeve shirt under a collared sleeveless summer dress in the winter with tights.  Wear a dress over pants. Wear a sweater over a long dress so it looks like a skirt. Layer!  Make sure to include accessories where you normally wouldn’t … an old-school brooch to wrap a cardigan together, rolling a scarf up really thin to make a necklace, or even doubling a necklace up to make a bracelet. Take pictures to remember how you styled these pieces if you want, and make sure you give yourself a goal.  For example, create at least 5 new outfits with stuff you already have.
Step 3.  Get Picky
Now that you know the gaps in your wardrobe (what you need more of, what you like and works for you, and what brings you joy), it’s time to pick out things that you can invest in.
The main areas that make a big impact are shoes, bags, and coats/jackets. These are the areas people notice first and areas to splurge. It’s also the areas that take the most abuse, and are easier to fall apart quick, or look shabby, if they’re not quality.
Keep your wardrobe basic with quality fabrics, neutrals, layering pieces, and pieces that flatter.  Use the “uniform method” where you hold true to your unique style uniform that works for you, but don’t be afraid to change it up with different styling techniques.
Jewelry and accessories can be a style transformer, so experiment here with a trendy, budget-run, accessory arsenal full of different pieces of jewelry, hats, belts, hair pieces, scarves, etc. This is where you can make a big impact – people will think it’s a totally different outfit, when in reality, it’s just a similar one, styled differently and paired with different, fun and unique accessories.
Alex, I hope this post helped.  Did this help the rest of you?  Your action item takeaway this week: Clear the clutter, and let me know in the comments below if you were able to build a quality wardrobe on a budget.
Stay on your style game!

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