Budget-shopping is TOUGH–especially when we’re all inundated with ads EVERYWHERE WE LOOK. I for one, love to find beautiful new pieces to add to my wardrobe BUT, I don’t love to have an empty wallet.
I grew up in a household where saving/budgeting/living within your means was an important concept, one that all of my siblings and I have carried into adulthood. I know that there’s no purchase that feels better than a nest egg, and DEFINITELY no purchase that validates putting yourself into debt over.
That all being said, it is SO not important to spend all of your money buying the latest trends in clothes and shoes and handbags and makeup and… well, you get it. Bottom line: THERE ARE SO MANY MORE IMPORTANT THINGS TO SPEND YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY ON.
(I feel like I’m not supposed to admit these things as one who blogs about clothes?)
The truth is, there are PLENTY of retailers that offer really amazing items at great price points, so that no matter your budget, you can indulge in a few pieces each month or season–enough to treat yourself to something that makes you feel good. Don’t misunderstand me, I believe there are certainly pieces worth investing in–high quality winter coats, or a pair of classic pumps, for examples. But, if you’re looking to add just a few trendy items to your wardrobe as a seasonal refresh, then these affordable retailers are your new go-to’s.
ASOS is my go-to for unique dresses. Any time I have an upcoming wedding or special event, this is the first place I look. They carry extended sizes, which is awesome, but since they carry a variety of brands, the sizing varies from brand to brand. Sometimes I wear 0P and sometimes I wear a 4P. They have a ton of options that are under $100 and even under $50. In addition to unique occasion wear, ASOS is a great retailer for swimwear and trendy workwear. If you’re new the site, they are a UK based company, so standard shipping could take over a week unless you qualify for 2-day shipping. If you order from ASOS, allow plenty of time for initial and return shipping.
Between their WHO WHAT WEAR, A New Day, and now Universal Thread brands, Target is a true gold mine for shopping on a budget. I’ve always said that they are a hidden gem for affordable shoes, but their recent clothing lines have raised the bar. A New Day is a great option for professional but fun workwear (the day it launched, the girls at work made a few emergency shopping trips during lunch), and Universal Thread is comparable to Madewell in style. It goes without saying that the fabric quality won’t be on par with Madewell, but if you’re shopping for short term trendy items, you likely won’t need them to last more than a season or two.
H&M has been one of the stores that I shopped at during college for its affordability, but have stuck with while transitioning from 20s to 30s because of its [often] minimalist styles (I have a simple peplum top that is 3 years old and I still wear regularly). I find their sizing to run smaller than other retailers so, being petite, I can usually get away with regular sized items. H&M also carries a selection of baby and children’s clothes, men’s clothing, and home goods–more reasons to give it a try. I prefer it for affordable basics like striped t-shirts and denim jackets. I’m a big fan of their outerwear, especially trench style coats and toppers. H&M has also been a go-to when I want something trendy in a hurry and don’t want to break the bank.
LOFT is such a staple for me when it comes to workwear. They have extended sizing (petite and plus) and it is a brand that works for my body. I check them first when I need to invest in new blouses, sweaters or conservative dresses for work. They almost always have some sort of sale going on too, so I practically never pay full price. I do find that they often sell out of the sizes I’m after, so I don’t always find the availability that I’m after, but the pieces I have purchased are some of my all-time favorites for work.
J.Crew Factory is your store for classic, casual and all things preppy. It’s a great store for business casual pieces that can be worn from work-to-weekend. I’ve also snagged a lot of their jewelry pieces (statement earrings and necklaces) to freshen up my wardrobe each season. Some of the items are previous seasons from J.Crew but there are also a significant amount of “Factory First” pieces sold only in the Factory or Mercantile stores. I usually frequent J.Crew Factory for things like shorts, cardigans, plain colored t-shirts, and statement jewelry.