Article by Fabafterfifty
It’s more than possible to look good on a budget. It just takes a bit of planning and clear idea of what clothes work for you.
The key to looking great for less is understanding your own bodyshape your own style. By the time we reach our 50s, we tend to know what does and doesn’t suit us. The secret is to look current but not to follow ‘trends’ that don’t suit . Most clothes look great on catwalk models , but don’t look as good on us mere mortals! Think about how many items you’ve bought in the past to remain practically unworn in the wardrobe, while old ‘favourites’ are brought out time and again! Think about why those favourites work for you- is it the shape, colour? What are you wearing when you are paid compliments about your appearance?
Take a close look at your wardrobe and make a list of things you already have that suit you and you really want to keep. Then think about the gaps! Make a list of the things that will compliment what you have already and will help to update your look. Buying from a list will keep you focused and minimise costly impulse buying.
Buy good quality key pieces
Buy the best quality key pieces- for me I build my wardrobe around great fitting pairs of jeans- in denim, black and white. A summer and winter blazer, black pencil skirt, black trousers, crisp white shirt, black top, and classic ‘little black dress’. I look out for these at sale times- always looking at cut and quality of fabric. Look for the best- they’ll look better, last longer, wear less, wash better and as a result, you will save more money than buying lots of inferior-quality pieces that will only last a few wears. They’ll form a good basis for your wardrobe. Some of the department store classics have excellent tailoring- don’t be afraid to buy a great fitting jacket and buy some quality buttons to lift and make it your own!
For big items like suits, dresses, coats: buy classic styles. These will stand the test of time and not date . Add colour and a bit of ‘oomph’ with small items like bags and accessories, buy the most trendy, fashionable ones so you look up to date and go for the brightest colours (they will not make you look fat!).
Buy in the sales whenever possible. Look for quality pieces at half price or even less . If you buy ‘classics’ you won’t be out of fashion’. You can grab yourself some really good bargains on the last few days’ of the sales in famous shops like Harrods and Harvey Nichols. TK Maxx is always worth having a browse in- you never know what hidden gems you might find! And buy online, on ebay if you are internet savvy.
Swap small items with friends
Swap small items like hats and bags with your best friends (of course, those with good taste only). There is no point in spending a lot of money on something you are only going to use once (Well, it will be embarrassing if you wear the same clothes to your important parties). So share them with your friends. Look out for ‘swishing’ events, where you swap quality unwanted pieces with others. Check out charity and second hand shops – I have one friend who buys most of her clothes in second hand shops- she hunts out the shops with good post codes and is convinced she has benefited from celebrity cast offs in a second hand shop she found in Hampstead!
Dressing well doesn’t have to cost a fortune. If you take a little time and put some effort into planning you can look great for less