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Frugal meets fresh and fashion forward

A walk down the trendy fashion-forward streets of big cities will show you that it’s not necessary to spend a fortune to be in fashion. In fact, many of the young and hip fashionista’s out there are proud of the DIY artistry of their self-designed threads. If you’re trying to save money, use your creativity and save your dollars.

Here are some do’s and don’ts for the frugal fashionista:

Don’t depend on someone else to tell you what to wear.

If you depend on brand names that cost hundreds of dollars per item or on magazine ads that feature thousand-dollar dresses to tell you what’s cool and what’s in, you’re going to spend a lot more and your fashion sense is going to be more predictable and generic.

Do explore consignment shops.

The old-fashioned notion of consignment shops as a place where moth-balled robes go to die is no longer the case. Just walk down the hip streets of New York City and you will see that the consignment shops that line the streets on every other block show that big-city fashion no longer has a big-city price tag. You can design your own look and you can count on no one else looking just like you.

Don’t go with inexpensive clothing that is poorly made.

Some people just don’t want to deal with digging through thrift store options and would rather find new clothing at bargain prices. Just make sure the bargain price doesn’t come with frayed ends, poor materials and awkward construction. You’ll end up having to replace the item frequently and you won’t be saving any money.

Do find sales and find high-end consignment stores.

The old cliché, you get what you pay for, holds true with clothes. Instead of finding the most inexpensive clothing, find clothing that was once expensive and is now either on sale or in consignment. A great pair of leather boots often needs a little polishing and they can last for year and years. Find the boots on sale or on consignment and you’ve spent a little money for something that will last a long time.

Don’t buy many items.

If you buy several inexpensive items, you will consistently get tired of poorly fitting pants and misshapen blouses. Instead, buy a few basics that you’ll use all of the time.

Do take a tip from the French.

European women often keep their wardrobe simple and tasteful by accruing only the most basic and elegant pieces. A black jacket can never fail when paired with a perfect pair of jeans and a simple white t-shirt.

Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

Don’t get rid of clothes. Instead, find ways to add the newest fashion to class cuts. For example, a pencil skirt can be paired with the ‘in’ colour for the season. A tailor can take hems up as the fashion dictates.

Do take care of what you have.

Follow the care directions on your clothing tags. There’s nothing worse than pulling a now-miniature cashmere sweater out of the dryer. When in doubt, head to the clothesline. If you’re not sure or can’t read the tag anymore, just hang the clothes and steer clear of the dryer. You’ll save your clothes and you’ll save on your electric bill.

Follow these ideas and see your bank account get bigger and let your inner fashionista run wild.

Patricia Freeman is a full-time fashion writer and blogger.  She writes for, where you can find more info on designing your own t-shirts.


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