How to Shop Affordably

how to shop affordably

I, like many other fashionistas out there, like to mix affordable pieces with expensive pieces. I think it’s a great way to build an outfit and keep some money in the bank. The tricks to knowing how to shop affordably are knowing being able to choose affordable pieces that add value to your closet, knowing when to pass on items that would have worked had they been better quality, and understanding fast fashion. 

My go-to’s for affordable shopping are Nasty Gal, ASOS, Missguided, Zara, Storets, Lulu’s and Romwe. Just because these are my go-to’s, it doesn’t mean that their items are always going to be great. I’m not gonna lie to you, there have been times that I had to send things back because the quality just wasn’t there… but on the other hand there have been time’s that I’ve gotten things that I could have sworn I saw in a really expensive store. Like this top:

I bought this top from Missguided for $63. Then I walked into Intermix a few days later and found this top for $355:

Sure, they are different. One is more green, one has bell sleeves… but for a $292 price difference, I think they are close enough. Since the quality is there, why spend almost $300 more?

Also, some of the above mentioned retailers do have expensive pieces. You need to dig through things, shop the sales, and then analyze what you already have. Yes, that $20 skirt is amazing but how many things is it really going to go with that you already own? Don’t just buy something because it’s cute and not expensive. Make sure it is going to add value to your style and your closet.

Think about it – If you buy that skirt because it’s cute and affordable but don’t consider what you already have to wear it with, you might be wasting your money. There’s a chance you’ll get home and end up having nothing to pair with the skirt. Then you’ll either have to buy something to go with the skirt or return it. Fingers crossed that wasn’t a final sale!

It’s so easy to say ‘omg, that’s cheap – I might as well just get it!’ —> I’m look at you $5 rack at H&M. Don’t fall for it! Shopping takes planning. Think things out and don’t just buy things because the price is enticing.

Next, just because something is cheap and could be cute, doesn’t mean you should buy it. The key word here is ‘could’. I used to be so guilty of buying things that could have been cute had the color been slightly different or had they used a better material. I told myself that I would find a way to make it work. Sometimes I made it work and sometimes the clothes just looked so cheap that I don’t think the Fashion Gods of the world could have done those pieces any justice. If the quality of something is questionable, I would say not to buy it. More often than not, you will end up with a bunch of unwearable clothes that will sit in your closet until your next haul to Plato’s Closet.

Fast Fashion is the last thing I think about when looking for affordable pieces. Fast Fashion is where production processes are expedited. This is done to get new trends to the market as fast and inexpensively as possible. Most people, especially environmentalists, will argue that there are mostly con’s to Fast Fashion but I think if you understand it and don’t fall pray to it, then there is nothing wrong with a little Fast Fashion shopping.

The great thing about Fast Fashion is if there’s a super trendy look that I want to try but I’m not sure how often I’ll realistically end up wearing it, its easy to head to Forever21 (or something like it) and find a cheap version of the trend to test the waters. If I end up wanting to wear it all day-every day, then I might want to upgrade to better quality. Also, if I know there is a trend I like but I don’t think it will be around long term, I can pick up a few different styles from a Fast Fashion retailer. The pieces I pick up will most likely only last a season due to quality but it’s okay because I did not invest much money into it.

It’s important to remember how wasteful Fast Fashion can be both for the environment and your wallet. Because of this, I like to invest in basics. If I know something will be a closet staple, I try to buy based on quality and have it last.

Understanding how to shop affordably will help you build a functional wardrobe and prevent you from wasteful spending.


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I’m Michelle, the founder of life & style blog, She’s Not So Basic. On the blog I write about all things related to style advice, self-love, finding happiness, and so much more while wearing both my heart and my scars on my sleeve. My path through life has been anything but basic and it’s left me feeling lost, lonely, and insecure. Every day is a journey towards feeling confident and finding freedom one not-so-basic outfit at a time. Connect with me to see how we can work together, to tell me your #NotSoBasic story, or just to say hi!

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