Michelle Obama has proven that even the future First Lady of the United States doesn’t have to spend a fortune to look fabulous. Just last month she appeared on The Tonight Show in a canary yellow J. Crew (yes, that’s right, not Chanel, not Dior) ensemble that she purchased herself, proving to Americans everywhere that we don’t have to sacrifice style during a shaky economy—we just have to be smart about it. Here are a few shopping tips for dressing great while spending less
Shop Out of Season
As the winter months get closer, you may want to wrap yourself up in cashmere. But perhaps you should consider shopping for spandex instead. Most stores are trying to clear their summer stock and swimsuits are usually marked down first. “You can find one for 80% off the original price,” says Kathryn Finney, founder of TheBudgetFashionista.com. “Buying off-season is a great strategy, particularly for coats, boots, sandals, and swimwear,” she says.
Scour the Internet
Not only does buying online save you time, it can save you money, too. But you have to be careful: “You shouldn’t buy something online unless you’ve tried it on before,” says Finney, who cautions buyers to consider shipping and return policies before clicking the “checkout” button. Also, make sure and search for online-only sales and discounts for your favorite shops. “Type the name of the store plus the word ‘coupon’ into your search browser, and you’ll find coupons for that particular store,” she adds. It’s that simple.
Want to overhaul your wardrobe for free? Throw a clothing-swap party. Invite friends with similar styles and ask each person to bring a bag full of unwanted, gently worn clothes. Chances are someone else’s castoffs will fit nicely in your closet while your “hand-me-downs” will find a gracious new home. The trick is to keep the exchange “fun and light,” advises Finney. Serve snacks, maybe a glass of wine, and turn up the music.