Your style Q’s answered: How to find clothes in your budget, what colours go together, and finding clothes that fit your body
Today, I’m playing personal stylist on demand and answering 3 of the most common questions I get asked about style.
And I bet at least one of these have been on your mind.
Q: How do I find clothes in my budget? Everything is so expensive now.
This is hands down the number one style struggle that plagues us all. And my best advice I give all my clients is this:
Your goal shouldn’t be to find cheaper items. Your goal should be to buy less, and choose it better.
Get radically intentional about the pieces you buy. A good place to start is with this: if your wardrobe only had ten (yes, 10!) pieces in it, what would you want them to be?
Would your t-shirts make the cut or would you want dressier tops that you could wear from the office to the weekend? Would shorts still be in your summer capsule or would it only be a couple dresses you loved?
These 10 pieces are where you should spend your money—and forget about filling in the rest of the pieces. Not every closet needs the colour black, a pair of denim shorts, sandals, or anything else that appears on a “pieces every woman needs in their closet” list.
Avoid the sales racks for the sake of sales racks, unsubscribe from store emails (that entice you to buy things on sale that you don’t need), and stop reading magazine articles that tell you what you’re “suppose” to buy.
Instead focus only on your power pieces—those 10 pieces—the ones that go farthest in your closet. And buy only when you find one that checks all the boxes. Meaning:
- It’s in your budget
- It’s a perfect fit (or you’re accounting for tailoring)
- You feel completely comfortable and totally confident in it
- Aside from tailoring, there’s nothing you would change about it (aka you’re not saying “I like it but I wish it had buttons instead of a zipper.)
You’ll save money by staying focused on only the pieces that will make the biggest difference in your closet, and by only buying pieces you’re in love with.
But, where should you shop for these items?
There are two trade-offs when it comes to shopping in a lower budget.
You can either:
- Trade quality
- Trade your time
Which one is more important to you?
If your time is more important, you’ll be trading quality. I suggest shopping at places like Forever21, H&M, and Zara which have affordable pieces and a good mix of styles. Whatever you’re looking for, you have as good a shot finding it here as anywhere.
If you live in the U.S., and perhaps, europe as well, there are lots of budget online retailers that will offer you free return shipping. If you're on a tight budget, I only recommend shopping online with FREE return shipping.
If quality is more important to you, there is no better way to get quality on a budget than shopping secondhand. Thrift stores (here in Canada we have Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Value Village) garage sales, clothing swaps, flea and clothing markets are all places you can hunt for quality pieces for single-digit prices. But, with the hit-and-miss nature, you are trading your time, risking not finding anything each time you look.
Q: What colours go together?
My answer to this can be liberating or unsettling, but the truth is this: all colours can play well together.
Yup, I’ll even repeat it:
Every colour can be worn with any colour.
Now, of course, the caveat is this:
Just because you can wear anything together, doesn’t mean the result will be in line with your personal taste and style.
So I encourage you to do these 2 things to get an idea of what colours are in line with your style:
1) Get inspired by colours you see together.
Look for colours you see side-by-side in people’s outfits you pass on the street, as well as in nature itself—the colours of your garden or the window display of the cutest shops in your neighbourhood. Look for colours together in outfits you pin to your Pinterest board. Make notes of the colour combinations you are drawn to.
2) Try them on.
If you’re in a dressing room not sure if you’ll get wear out of this beautifully coloured top, grab some bottoms in colours/materials you already have and see how they look together.
Play in your own closet—what have you never even thought of trying together? Try them on—because you won’t know until you try.
Q: I never know what size I am, and things never fit right. How do I fix it?
Ah yes, I’ve felt the dressing room dissapointment and it can be REAL. When something you were excited about—something you had no way of knowing would be this unflattering on your body—makes you feel totally defeated once you zip it up and look in the mirror.
The problem is not you, nor your body—not even the store and it's confusing sizing. The problem is that you think it only happens to you.
We really are those unique special snowflakes, and it's perfectly logical that 99% of the clothes out there don't fit with our style OR fit on our bodies.
Spend a day looking at women’s bodies and try to find one that looks exactly like yours—pretty rare isn’t it?! Given this, I think it’s pretty amazing that we find as many pieces that fit as we do.
So my solution is this:
You go into everything like it's online dating. You don’t expect that everyone you’re compatible with on paper (AKA every piece of clothing in your “size”) to be a match made in heaven. Instead you try them out until you find the ones that are. Never expect your body to fit into the garment—neither your body nor the piece of clothing are responsible for fitting with everything out there. So, you try on before you buy, you return, you get it tailored, you wait until you find a piece of clothing that magically fits you and your unique curves.
And it goes full circle here: it’s for the best (just ask your bank account) that we don't find these pieces that are a perfect fit more often.
Got a style Q we didn’t cover? Feel free to ask it in the comments.
Your personal stylist,
I have good news for your style—the books are open on my one-on-one Step Into Your Signature Style sessions! You can click here to learn more, and hear what my clients say about how I can help your style feel effortlessly elegant, and perfectly you.