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Style & beauty

How to look expensive on a budget

(54 Posts)
HettyMaud Tue 10-Sep-19 21:34:11

No doubt some of you are like me - I spend most of my spare money on going out and on treats for my AC and DGS. Clothes for me are way down the list. I don't look anywhere near as smart as I did when I was younger. I feel as if I look as if I'm always wearing cheap clothes (which I mostly am). How can I achieve a more expensive look without breaking the bank? (Don't much enjoy shopping).

Funnygran Wed 11-Sep-19 13:15:15

missfoodlove my DD told me that matching bag and shoes was only for old ladies so that was me told!

EmilyHarburn Wed 11-Sep-19 14:51:43

20 years ago I got myself sorted by having a make up consultation and a fashion consultation at
They sell some good books. I am careful to buy items with the correct type of seaming and style that suits me. I try to get natural materials that have a small amount of synthetic so are washable.

I have chosen to go for a colour coordinated look and have many scarves bought over the years on holiday to support my look. i do not believe in getting into neutrals and blacks etc.

grandtanteJE65 Wed 11-Sep-19 15:19:05

Stick to the advice we were given as young girls:

Make sure colours match or complement each other, not only for clothes, but shoes, handbag, etc.

The other piece of advice I was given, which has proved useful over the years was, buy one good skirt or pair of trousers and lots of blouses or jumpers that go with them. That way you avoid wearing exactly the same outfit all the time.

I second the advice on charity shops, but taking up dressmaking is quite a good way to look smart on a small budget. It makes it easier to find a style that suits you and has the added advantage of making it easy to tone down or disguise features you feel less than proud of, if any.

Your local library will have loads of books on basic dressmaking or can order them for you from another library.

HettyMaud Wed 11-Sep-19 15:21:00

Oh my goodness. So many wonderful and great suggestions. Thank you everyone! Am going to read each one later when I’m quiet. Intend to act on them. Wait for the new me!!

grandtanteJE65 Wed 11-Sep-19 15:22:08

And the other piece of advice from the dark and distant past was to choose your "foundation garments" carefully.

I am not advocating a return to girdles (shock for those who had actually forgotten those horrors) but I find a good bra invaluable if I want to look and feel smart.

bikergran Wed 11-Sep-19 15:53:02

You've made me want to go and sort my wardrobe out now lol.

M0nica Wed 11-Sep-19 15:57:34

It is not what you wear, but the way that you wear it. Some people can look a million dollars in a black binbag.

Look confident, tell yourself you are confident, Stand tall and if people try to fluster you take a slow deep breath before you respond.

Beyond that as long as you are clean and tidy and do not smell, anything looks good.

Misha14 Wed 11-Sep-19 17:09:04

Get your colours done. Once you know what suits you and what doesn't you will always look good.

SunnySusie Wed 11-Sep-19 17:34:07

If you are not sure dont buy it. Particularly with expensive items. I try to schedule two shorter shopping trips, rather than one long. I get bored after a couple of hours and lose focus anyway. The first trip is to spot what is available and try things on, only buying if the item is a dead cert. The second trip is to check out those things I wasnt sure about. I find its really not a good idea to wait until the last minute to try and buy a particular item for a special occasion, much better to do it as long in advance as possible so you dont end up buying something which doesnt suit all in a panic. My other tip is to try clothes on without looking at the price tag and then decide what you are prepared to pay for it. If you love the item, but its way over your guesstimate then walk away. I very rarely buy on line because I think the fit of the garment is really important. Its hard to look smart in something too large, or even worse too small. I know I am lucky to live half an hour away from a town with really good shops and some people rely on internet shopping, but it doesnt really work for me.

dogsmother Wed 11-Sep-19 18:28:00

I’m not certain if it was here that I read the other day but I took the advice to heart as perfect.
DO NOT Buy anything that you don’t imagine you will get at least thirty wears out of.
How many things do I have that sit in my wardrobe that just don’t really do it, because I thought...maybe...
It’s going to be be a new rule for me.

annodomini Wed 11-Sep-19 18:55:36

Thirty years? If I took that advice, I'd be buying a shroud.

GabriellaG54 Wed 11-Sep-19 19:05:45

I agree about underwear being the first layer to get right.
Matching bag and shoes went out with the ark so that will date you as will colour coordinating clothes. Red and pink can look fabulous depending on the tone of each but camel and green would look awful...IMO.
What you think you look like in an outfit may be the opposite to the way others see you.
Smart isn't nessarily comfy and vice versa.
Do your own thing.

GabriellaG54 Wed 11-Sep-19 19:08:09

dogsmother said WEARS not years.

Soniah Wed 11-Sep-19 19:59:51

I buy 90% of my clothes in Charity shops, I like expensive brands and quirky styles and really wear what I like and what I'm comfortable in, I'm amazed at how many people (mostly complete strangers!) come up and compliment me on what I'm wearing - I think it is because I wear colourful clothes and many clothes are so dull now or maybe it's because my clothes make me feel happy,. Charity shopping is good for the pocket, good for the charity and good for the environment - win, win, win (mind you you have to go in often and be selective!)

JackyB Wed 11-Sep-19 20:27:08

Wear a smile.

Hetty58 Wed 11-Sep-19 20:30:57

I hardly ever buy clothes, especially brand new. Here's my 'style':

Clean, tidy and, above all, comfortable!
Wear a bra if going out or having visitors.
Keep a waistcoat near the door in case of unexpected callers (to disguise the no-bra situation).
Never use a handbag.
Always wear comfortable shoes.
Perfect your posture.
Wear a smile.
Radiate confidence.
Never wear black anywhere near your face.

Why do you want to look 'expensive' HettyMaud? It reminds me of that Dolly Parton quote;

It costs a lot of money to look this cheap!

Sheilasue Wed 11-Sep-19 20:47:15

Primark have changed there sizes so I have a problem finding things I like in my size.
Have shopped on line recently looking at sales Boden can be expensive but there often is something in the sale. Matalan have some nice clothes I buy my leggings from there very reasonable. My gd love the split knee leggings and they are only £8.00 TK max have some good sales. Just look around.

HettyMaud Wed 11-Sep-19 23:11:47

More great ideas. BTW has anyone looked at their rear in those angled mirrors that they have in some clothes shops changing rooms? I tried on a dress, looked great from the front BUT the rear view was DREADFUL. Agree with GrandtanteJE65 - foundation garments are so important.
Hetty58, I want a more expensive look as lately I actually think I look poor and that's okay if you are young because you can look good in anything but not now!

Madmaggie Thu 12-Sep-19 00:07:43

Plain stuff with either a chunky wow necklace or a pretty scarf or a belt. Have a look online for things & keep eye out for their sales.

sarahanew Thu 12-Sep-19 14:14:39

A few well Co-ordinated items bought from charity shops. They have donations coming in all the time and if you chose one or two to spent a short time looking at once a week you won't spend much time shopping or much money and you'll always have new stock to browse

MawB Thu 12-Sep-19 15:23:58

Wear a bra if going out or having visitors
Keep a waistcoat near the door in case of visitors to disguise the no bra situation

I fear that is the root of the “looking like an old lady” stereotype (see the parallel thread) why on earth would you not wear a bra?

Nanna58 Sat 14-Sep-19 21:22:00

First, hair ,nails and makeup should be top notch. Then, good bags and shoes ( eBay a good source) then, whatever you wear, and wherever it’s from will look good!

Hetty58 Sun 15-Sep-19 08:01:57

HettyMaud, it's impossible to tell the rich from the poor by their clothing these days. Yes, that rear view is very important. Anything tight or clingy on a sagging bum looks dreadful. That's where padded and uplifting underwear would be good!

MawB, I'm comfortable braless and it's OK for me (being thin and small-busted) but not a good look for larger ladies. I think handbags, scarves and glasses are 'old lady' things.

petra Sun 15-Sep-19 08:18:36

glasses are old lady things
Tell that to young men and women who spend hundreds of pounds on designer frames with non prescription lenses.

MawB Sun 15-Sep-19 08:22:32

Totally agree Petra!
As for the scarves and the bags, all depends on the scarves and the bags doesn’t it? hmm