Spring Budget Fashion Tips

The weather is warming up and that means wardrobes are being updated as people adjust from boots and winter coats to spring looks.

Buying an entire closet of new clothes can be expensive! How can you get the look you crave for less? We asked several respected fashion bloggers from the Boston area, where BeFrugal is based. Here are their spring budget fashion tips.

Emily from Haute Fashion, Northeastern University's style blog, encourages wardrobe recycling. Create new looks from old clothes! She advises, "Instead of going out and purchasing all the new pieces, take a close look at your closet and see what you can repurpose!" Here are her suggestions to get more mileage out of the same garments:

  • If you always wear that one skirt with that striped top, put the top with a pastel pant or pair the skirt with a nice floral top.
  • Adding fun accessories are also a great way to give an old outfit a new pop!

Noelani of Mon Petit Chou Chou agrees about looking at what you currently have before buying new items. She says, "Be sure to shop your closet and do an organized clean-out before shopping for spring. You may be surprised what trends have cycled back around that you already own!" You can actually cash in after you've shopped your closet! She lists clothes with consignment shops once her clean-out is complete so she can earn credit at consigment shops or get the cash. Here are more ways to save from Noelani:

  •  Always do a quick search for coupon codes when buying online.
  •  Follow brands you like on social media; they often tweet, tag, and post about special deals there.

Lei Ann from Lei Ann Off Duty  says to do a thorough closet cleaning to assess what you do and do not have. Lei Ann explains: "See what you need to round out your closet. I can't tell you how many times I've bought an item of clothing only to see I have something in my closet similar to it!  For example, I got rid of a lot of ill-fitting dresses, but still have a lot in floral pattern, so I won't buy any more florals.  Black & white stripes are hot for the season, so that's what I'll be keeping an eye out for. Having targeted items to buy saves your wallet from indiscriminate shopping."

Allie of Allie Wears says pile it on a get a new look.  "You can get more out of your closet by layering; you can re-vamp an entire look just by layering!" she says.  Here is her layering advice:

  • Wear a collared shirt under a sleeveless dress.
  • Rock a leather jacket over a jean jacket.
  • Knot a sweater over a dress.

Elissa of Style Wire wants you to get your money's worth out of what you buy. Here are her tips:

  • If you are a regular at a specific store, make friends with an associate to get details and deals first. "I know I'm happy to help a regular customer save a few bucks by sharing coupons and inviting them to sales and events," she says.
  • Save your receipts, and keep the tags on until you're ready to wear new items so you have the option to return them. "You may take the tags off and try it on with a million different items before you realize it just doesn't work in your wardrobe. If you don't wear it within the first few weeks, you probably won't be wearing it much later," she explains.
  • Don't give into every low-priced clearance buys. Resist the urge to buy unless it fits well or you're willing to pay to have it tailored to perfection. Elissa admits, "I learned this the hard way with a final sale item from Bird by Juicy Couture."

Choe from The Chicest Degree has a stand-by store with great style and affordable pricing. She shares her secret, "For anyone wanting to look great this spring on a budget, Zara offers chic, affordable and well-designed clothing for an affordable price. Known for straight off the runway inspired looks and variety, Zara continues to be a fashion-pack favorite."

Kristen, The Boston Fashionista, has a two-step process:

  • First identify a few staple items. "For spring, this might be a trench coat, a denim jacket or scarves," she suggests.
  • Then find the items in prints and colors that speak to you to ensure you have the pieces you need, but that you own your look. She says, "If you love color, pick up a trench in a floral print. Like an edgy look? Select a denim jacket with studded spikes. If you have a more sophisticated palette, choose scarves in classic navy or gray wool."

Kara, The Bostonista, has a few favorite trends to tell you about.  Kara breaks it down from designer to affordable fashion to DIY: "Candy colored moto jackets and blazers are big for spring with designers like Jenni Kayne, Rag & Bone and 3.1 Phillip Lim jumping in on the trend. To get the look on a budget, try ModCloth's leather-like Pastel Destinations Jacket (bonus trend: It's mint!) or wear Loft's Hot Pink Drapey Crepe Blazer to work. If you're feeling extra adventurous, grab that old jean jacket from high school and dye it the color of your choice (fabric dyes are around $4 each at craft stores) for a truly personal style."

Lindsey from L's Fashion Dish says to be selective with which items you spend money on. She suggests, "Invest in spring staples like a great pair of white jeans, but go the cheaper route when purchasing trendy items like metallic pumps or a graphic-print black & white dress."

Kaitlin of Lux and Concord also believes in quality over quantity. She explains, "To save money, I try to only buy things that I really love, that are high quality, and that I think will stay in style for more than a season or two. I used to buy a lot of really inexpensive clothes. Now I buy fewer items, but I make sure they're worth the investment. I adopted this mentality when my husband and I moved into an apartment in Boston with one closet...that we had to share. If I do come across an 'of the moment' trend that I'm dying to try, I still buy the H&M version."

Jaime from La vie...J'aime shares this philosophy. "Every season I have my eye on a few key items that I want to add to my wardrobe," she says. How do you pick the right pieces? Here is her process:

  • Go to try them on in the store.  Sometimes it may not live up to expectations and there's no use pining over an item that you don't even like!
  • Narrow it down to 1 item within your budget. This is one must-have garment, but don't break the bank on it.
  • For the others, set up a "Sale Alert" email. Jamie uses PopSugar Shopping. Once she's alerted and if she still wants it, she can get it at the sale price.

Samantha of Glimpse of Glamour agrees about choosing new closet additions carefully. She points out, "This season, trends are ranging everywhere from great printed pieces to expressive graphic tees, long and flowing maxi dresses to teeny tiny crop tops, sophisticated harem pants to shredded daisy dukes and everywhere in between. The best way to celebrate the springtime without breaking the bank is to be picky & deliberate about which trends to spend your money on." Samantha has another budget fashion tip for you: "Purchase simple accessories that will completely transform your look, for little money. Want to inject a little neon into your wardrobe, but afraid to glow too much with a head to toe ensemble? Try a tribal print scarf from Forever 21, and brighten up your whole look for less than $10."

Diana from Dressed Up Alligators echoes Samantha's second tip. She says, "I love buying trendy, designer-inspired costume jewelry at Forever 21 or H&M. I've gotten some really great finds for under $10 that have lasted for years. H&M and Forever 21 are also my go-to stores when I want to try out a trend -- like floral pants or a bright color -- before I invest in a more expensive version." Diana has more tips for you:

  • Have a list ready for end of the season sales, which are coming up soon. "I find having a list of what you've been eyeing all season, as well as how much you want to spend, helps curb impulse purchases. It's so easy to get overwhelmed with so many reduced finds in one place, but having a plan keeps you focused and on budget," she explains.
  • Wait it out on big ticket items. "Avoid expensive impulse purchases, especially on new arrivals. If I really, really love an expensive item, I will walk away, and revisit it later," she says. You may forget about it, it may go on sale or you won't be able to stop thinking about it and you'll know it's a must-have piece you will not regret buying.
  • By used when it comes to high quality items. Diana shares: "Classic purses are a great investment piece, but I love the worn look some of these pieces have. Check out local vintage stores and consignment shops often, you never know what you might come across. I stumbled across a Coach Willis bag for $20! Much better than the $250+ price tag and something I know I'll have for a long time."

How will you shop smart and look great this spring?

Image thanks to Rubbermaid Products on Flickr.

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