Practical Tips For Looking Classy On A Budget

Yes, it’s possible to look like a million bucks without spending a mint.

By Nea Logan3 min read
Practical Tips For Looking Classy On A Budget

Contrary to popular belief, we need not empty our purses in the pursuit of perfect style (as laid out in “6 Essential Things That Every Sophisticated Woman Needs”) True, there’s nothing like the original, and in some areas we shouldn’t skimp. But don’t let these IG feeds fool you into brand loyalty when a basic fix will do. Instead, look to them for inspiration and then craft your own classy vibe at a fraction of the cost.

Bank on a Base Outfit, Then Accessorize on a Budget

Inspired by minimalistic trends, you’ll want to find a quality article of clothing that will act as your “base.” This could be a solid color shift dress by a quality name brand. Since this will be the core of your look each day, you’ll want to actually spend more money here (because you want it to last). Then dress it up with a variety of less expensive accessories such as layers of necklaces, a contrasting sweater for a pop of color, or a pair of cute shoes to dress it up. 

Not only does this template take the guesswork out of what you plan to wear each day, but it will ultimately cost you less than trying to buy an entirely new outfit every time you shop. It will also spare you the frustration of forcing every article of clothing to work with the rest of your wardrobe. This takes practice, but when you do build your “core” outfits and are happy with your day-to-day style, you'll be less likely to fall into shopaholic tendencies that have you constantly chasing look after look. 

Do Some Second-Hand Shopping

Second-hand shops and thrift stores are gold mines for accessories that can give you a ritzy look for less. Or, if you find yourself waking up early Saturday morning, then get up, grab a dollar coffee from McDs (it’s actually good), and go hunting for yard and estate sales. The bargains you’ll find will amaze you, and the vintage grabs will liven up any boring closet.

Blend Vintage with New-School Style

Old, “antiquey” things just have a way of looking expensive. So polish up that brooch or pair of retro earrings that you found at the yard sale from last Saturday, and wow your friends. Also, reach for inexpensive versions of vintage looks because no one ever asks if your pearls are fake. Honest.  

Nails That Won’t Make Your Wallet Say No

I’ve been getting the biggest compliments on these blingy, high-end press-on nails by Kiss that rival any full set mani. For $18, no one knew I skipped the salon for two weeks. Plus, the kit comes with reusable adhesive pads that can give you up to three wears. Not into fake nails? Do your own nails with a nude color polish and a classy white French tip (because it goes with everything, saving you time and money).

Dig the Interwebs for Makeup Dupes

When I learned that NYX Professional had a near exact match for my M-A-C Studio Fix in NC45, I made a beeline to my nearest Target cosmetic aisle. Drugstore makeup is giving department store brands a run for their money with quality products that rival the originals. And so with a little planning, you can cop your favorite iconic look or shade for a steal. Audrey Hepburn’s iconic peach lip from Breakfast at Tiffany’s can be all yours in this dupe guide

You can also stick to a more simple makeup routine. You don't need the latest color of eyeshadow or the coolest highlighter to look put together each day. Instead, find a simple routine that leaves your skin looking glowy and fresh without all the effort of caked-on makeup. We definitely don't want to overdo it - that's not classy.

Master the Monochromatic

A single, solid color from head to toe can draw all the looks, as frequently rocked by the fabulous Zendaya. Simplicity and sync give you swagger that won’t stop. Besides, an all-white linen party is a pretty fly way to say farewell to summer. 

Use a No-Heat Hairstyle

Not only will this save you tons of time when getting ready in the morning, but you won't have to spend a bunch of money on expensive curlers or straighteners. A whole bunch of strategies have gone viral on TikTok, but we have our own guide to waking up with perfect hair no matter its texture.

Always Buy Good Shoes (on Sale)

Nothing will punish your wallet (or your feet) quite like a cheap pair of shoes. Not only can they leave you with a lifetime of foot and back problems, they'll also start to fall apart faster than the rest of your wardrobe.

But buying good shoes doesn't have to break the bank. Hit up outlet stores like Nordstrom Rack or wait for the really good seasonal sales at Macy's. Look out for high-quality shoes that are at least 50-70% off. You'll be spending what you would on full-price cheap shoes, but enjoying the quality and comfort of a much better pair.

Closing Thoughts

When it comes to being classy, it’s not the money that counts. Sporting class is easier – and cheaper – than you think. And while there’s nothing like swinging a beautiful Brahmin Duxbury Satchel, there are ways to give off those fashion icon vibes in a frugal way. A good rule of thumb is to splurge where it matters, then add a hint of bling on a budget, for a pulled-together look that’s easy on the purse strings. Maybe these cost-saving pointers could even help you get the bag you really want.

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