Flip through the pages of any fashion magazine and it probably won’t be long until you come across a supermodel or celebrity in a totally swoon-worthy outfit. The top, the pants, the shoes — they all go together effortlessly, leaving us mere mortals with major wardrobe envy. If only we had all that money to spend on clothes and accessories, right?
Well, the good news is that you don’t have to be famous or rich to look like a million bucks. In fact, anyone can enjoy looking stylish and chic on the regular — all it takes is knowing a few tricks of the trade. That’s why I went to the experts to find out exactly what it takes to look classy on a budget.
Always wear lipstick
I love me some makeup. From falsies to smokey eyes, getting dolled up can make me feel unstoppable. The only problem is that I don’t always have the time for getting glammed up. And, if I’m being really honest, when the occasion calls for me to channel my inner Adele with a fierce cat eye, I usually pay someone to do it for me because, well, my makeup skills aren’t exactly the best. Luckily for me — and anyone else who lacks those makeup artist skills — you don’t need to wear a face full of makeup to look classy. All you need is a bit of lipstick.
“Lipstick is a simple way to look polished and put together on any budget,” Tiffany Reese, marketing lead for Stitch Fix, told me in an interview. “Pull your hair up into a chic Kardashian-inspired bun, with some classic red lipstick, and I dare you not to look classy.”
Sport an updo
Emmy award-winning celebrity hairstylist Kiyah Wright is also a big fan of updos. “No matter your hair type or hair color, wearing a ponytail (or updo) is the perfect inexpensive hairstyle to look put together,” Wright, who’s worked with stars like Heidi Klum, Ciara, Khloe Kardashian, and Laverne Cox, told me in an interview. “They allow your hair to be away from your face, which actually accentuates your facial features.”
Plus, these styles help focus attention to your neckline, ears, and face, which Wright says allow accessories and makeup to be on full display.
Invest in your wardrobe
I love fashion. But I’ll also be the first to admit that keeping up with trends can be overwhelming — not to mention expensive. While it might feel like you have to buy every cute top or pair of shoes you come across, shopping strategically for investment pieces will likely yield a better pay-off.
“Investing in well-fitted staple pieces for your closet and mixing in budget friendly, trend-driven items is a smart way to get more bang for your buck,” said Reese. Her must-haves: “Jeans that make you feel amazing, a little black dress (that can be styled a hundred different ways), and a well-fitted bra are the essential foundations of a woman’s wardrobe.”
Shop off season
Besides being strategic in what you buy, it’s also important to be strategic about when you buy. “Shop off-season,” Homa Zaryouni, founder and CEO of 10wooster.com, told me in an interview. “Putting together a fall wardrobe at the beginning of fall is expensive. And summer purchases in May often lead to regrets. Avoid temptation and save your dollars for when nobody else is buying; buy your swimsuit in late fall and your winter coats in April. You can scoop up great deals that way.”