top of page

How To Look Stylish For Less: 11 Ways To Be Classy On a Budget:

I’m sure many of you can relate to wanting to have style and look classy, but feeling like it can only be achieved with lots of money at your disposable. What if I was to tell you that that isn’t strictly true…

A stylish, classy looking woman, looking downwards and wearing a dark grey jumper, mid grey woollen coat, light grey trousers and sunglasses.


True, classy style can be created with the right finds and knowing how to make the best of your budget, no matter how big or small. Once you learn these secrets (many of which I have personally used over the years to build my own wardrobe), then you will be on your way to developing the look you have always wanted, but without the price tag.

So, here are eleven ways in which you can look stylish and classy on a budget:

A woman looking away from the camera towards a clothing rail full of clothes which she is examining.


One: Look At Your Existing Wardrobe:

Before you begin looking at budgeting for new clothes and accessories, take a look at your existing wardrobe first.

You’d be surprised at how many of us don’t actually know what’s in our wardrobes. However, taking stock of the clothes and accessories that you already own will tell you what items you need and those you don’t.

Tip: create a checklist of the items that you already own and highlight those that your wardrobe definitely doesn’t need. This will ensure that you don’t waste money on repeat and impulse buys.

For a full guide on how to effectively de-clutter your wardrobe, feel free to read my blog post: Jade Style Coaching’s™ Guide on How to De-Clutter and Organise Your Wardrobe.

A close-up of a range of colourful smart casual clothing items hung on hangers on a clothing rail, to form a wardrobe capsule


Two: Organise Your Wardrobe Into Capsules:

Organising your wardrobe by capsules is a budget friendly way of ensuring you can effortlessly create stylish outfits each morning. With some careful thought and planning, it’s possible to create multiple outfits with just a few key pieces that can be easily coordinated. Think 30 different looks from a dozen clothing items and accessories.

Although there are many ways to categorise your capsules, I would recommend organising by lifestyle. Lifestyle capsules contain a mix of clothes and accessories that are suitable to be worn to a particular occasion, such as casual, smart casual, work, formal and leisure. This would mean that whatever the event, you would always have an array of potential outfits ready in your wardrobe, without the need to spend a fortune.

Tip: if you’re a little stuck with forming your first capsule, start with adding basic items (like a pair of trousers, skirt and coat) in neutral colours, since these will work with any other colour combination. Then, add a pop of colour to your outfits with some coloured tops, scarves and jewellery pieces.

For more information on how to build your own capsule wardrobe, feel free to read my blog post: The Benefits of a Capsule Wardrobe and How to Create Your Own.

A close-up of a woman’s manicured hands, writing her clothes shopping list on a notepad


Three: Make a Shopping Plan:

Writing a shopping plan before you shop (whether this is in-person or online) will ensure that you only focus on looking for items that your wardrobe actually needs and not waste money on impulse buys you don’t need. Think buying more camisole tops when you already own ten of them.

Tip: consider what clothes and accessories you could do with to complete and update an existing wardrobe capsule.

Also, don’t forget to set yourself a budget and stick to it! Remember there’s no reason why you can’t look classy without spending lots of money…

A portrait shot of a woman (looking at the camera, smiling), wearing a classic, timeless outfit of a grey t-shirt and camel coat.


Four: Look For Classic, Timeless Items:

From experience, the key to creating a stylish, classy look is to keep it simple and invest in your wardrobe basics and classics first, before adding other more unique items into the mix.

Classic, timeless items (think a tailored white shirt, a classic blazer and day dress) are the perfect building blocks for any chic and classy capsule wardrobe. The trick is to find these in clothing styles that suit your style and body shape, as well as in colours that enhance your complexion.

Other items to look for (if you don’t already own them include:

  • Classic black dress

  • A trench coat

  • A pair of black trousers

  • A pair of jeans

  • A good quality jumper

  • A skirt

Tip: always try on items before purchasing, to check for fit and whether it suits your body shape, style and complexion.

A closet rail full of clothes (with shoes on the bottom shelf and two messenger bags hanging either side); forming a wardrobe capsule


Five: Quality Over Quantity:

As a general guide for your wardrobe, it’s better to invest in fewer quality clothes and accessories, than to buy loads of low quality made items that are less durable in the long-term. This will not only keep your wardrobe tidy, but will help you to achieve the classy look you have always wanted.

Just to clarify, I’m not suggesting that you go out and spend hundreds on designer items. I recommend looking at online sales and in charity, vintage and second hand stores [see below] for some good bargains. Usually you will find high quality items (sometimes even designer from experience) for a much smaller price than their original asking price. You look great and save money at the same time, so win-win!

So remember, it’s not about spending more money; it’s about knowing where to look…

A close-up of a charity shop window display, with a mannequin wearing a vintage outfit: a lilac dress, white cardigan and hat


Six: Buy from Second hand, Vintage and Charity Shops:

If you like wearing quality clothes and accessories (but without the price tag), then consider browsing your local charity, second hand and vintage stores. You may surprise yourself with what you find…

Tip: set yourself a challenge to create yourself an outfit from second hand clothes and accessories for under £20.

A close-up of a woman wearing work attire, sitting at a desk, looking down at her laptop, completing online shopping


Seven: Browse Online Sales:

With the number of online sales that go on all year round, you are never far away from an opportunity to buy clothing at discount. This particularly applies to mid to high end high street and luxury brands, where you likely discover clothes and accessories at more affordable prices.

Tip: browse the sales and reduced sections on retailer websites at the end of the Summer and shortly after Christmas and New Year. This is the time when retailers are trying to clear last season’s items to make way for the new season stock. Take a look, as you’ll never know what you'll find.

A close-up of a woman taking a selfie in a full length mirror, wearing a bright pink camisole, green cardigan and pair of jeans
I chose a watermelon pink top for this outfit, as it’s on my light Spring colour season palette

Eight: Buy Tops In Your Wow Colours:

Wearing colours that harmonise and enhance with your complexion, hair and eye colour will:

  • Give your face a fresher, younger looking appearance

  • Reduce any visible lines, blemishes and dark circles

Why wouldn’t you want that?

Having a classy style isn’t about wearing the colours that are “in” right now. It’s about wearing colours that suit you and your style and those that don’t overwhelm your features.

Tip: to add some variety to your outfits, buy tops, jumpers and cardigans in your “wow” colours, as these will best enhance your features. Plus, it’s a great way of adding a pop of colour to your outfits too.

For more information on how to incorporate more colour into your day to day outfits, feel free to read my blog post: 8 easy ways to add colour to your outfits.

A close-up of a woman wearing a baby blue blazer, a periwinkle blue V-neck top and a silver necklace with an aqua blue pendant


Nine: Accessorise, Accessorise and Accessorise:

One of the best ways to dress up an outfit is by wearing accessories. Accessories are brilliant for updating and adding a touch of class to your look, as well as for conveying your own unique style.

Although the best part, accessorising doesn’t have to cost you a lot.

Look at investing in two to three necklaces; a good quality belt and a couple of scarves (one woollen and one silk), to get you started. Then, build your collection from there…

Tip: look in second hand, vintage and charity shops, as well as online sales to find yourself some really good deals on accessory pieces that won’t break the bank.

A close-up of a woman posing and wearing a white and blue patterned dress, black ankle strap heels and holding a tan bag


Ten: Invest In Neutral Coloured Bags and Shoes:

For maximum versatility with your outfits, invest in a couple of good quality pairs of shoes and handbags that can be coordinated with multiple outfits. Ideally, look for one black pair and one beige pair of shoes, so that you can take looks from winter to summer and day to night, I would also recommend doing the same with your handbag collection - as a minimum, own at least one black and one nude handbag, as these are easy to coordinate within many outfits.

As a general guide, beige shoes and bags work well for summer and day outfits, whereas black works better for winter and evening looks.

A close-up of a woman looking and posing towards the camera; wearing and tilting her cat eye framed sunglasses downwards.


Eleven: Choose Sunglasses To Suit Your Face Shape:

Wearing a pair of sunglasses not only protects your eyes from the sun, but are a stylish addition to any outfit on a bright summer’s day. You have to admit they do look chic?

If you’re looking to invest in a quality pair of sunglasses (and no I don’t necessarily mean designer frames), then you need to choose frames that best suit your face shape.

Here’s a guide to what frames to choose and avoid for your face shape:

  • Round face shape: choose angular, rectangular frames, cat eye or wayfarer styles. Avoid rounder frames, as these will make the face appear rounder.

  • Oval face shape: choose cat eye, round, aviator or wayfarer frames (your choice) and avoid oversized sunglasses.

  • Heart face shapes: look for square and aviator styles, whilst avoiding oversized frames.

  • Square face shape: choose rounder frames and avoid geometric styles.

To Finish…

It is more than possible to look classy on a much smaller budget. You just need to be more savvy and discerning with what you buy by only purchasing what you need and what suits you and your lifestyle. Know where to look and how to shop effectively is key to creating a classy style on a budget.



bottom of page