reader question: chic on a shoestring budget

Q: I need to update my wardrobe, however; I have one major problem, I have no money! I'm in my second year of law school and have a very limited budget.  My coveted sweats aren't acceptable any more! I would love to invest in versatile pieces for a very affordable price that I can pair with jeans but still be able to dress up.  I want to look classy and conservative jumping between classes and my internship.  I need your help!

A: When upgrading your wardrobe, on a budget, it is important to focus on investing in versatile key pieces that can be easily mixed and matched with one another.  With jeans being acceptable to wear to class and your internship, don't be afraid to invest in at least one pair of dark washed jeans that can be easily dressed up.  Key layering pieces could include a boyfriend or structured blazer, a chambray button up, a striped shirt, and a structured blouse.  A faux-leather skirt or shirt dresses help keep your wardrobe chic and versatile.  

Using basic pieces, I've created three looks below that would transition great from meetings to internships to class.  {All items used to create these outfits were for under $75.}    

Law School Wardrobe Part 1

If you are interested in spending a little bit more for an investment piece, a tip I've picked up through perusing many personal style blogs, is to try and create at least three different outfits with the article of clothing in question. This helps to ensure that you will wear shirt/dress/skirt/pants/shoes more than once and it won't end up in the back of your closet. 

The outfits below utilize a great structured silk blouse from J.Crew for $98.  You can dress it down to go to class with a pair of dark skinnies and brown boots, pair it with a faux-leather skirt and flats for your internship, then spice things up a bit with color blocking for a night out. {All items used to create these outfits were for under $125.}

Graduate Wardrobe Part 2

Skinny cargo pants are very versatile for the graduate student.  I picked mine up at Gap on major sale {see here}.  Do not be afraid to hit the clearance section of stores like J.Crew, Old Navy, Gap.  These stores offer great basic pieces that once on clearance you can hardly say no to!

Once again, following the rule of three, can be mixed and match to dress up or down even these lovely cargos.  {All items used to create this set were under $115 (minus some of the jewelry).}
skinny cargos

Set 1 {similar}
Outfit #2: Shirtdress, Flats

Set 2 {similar}

Set 3 {similar}
Outfit #2: TeeCargo Skinnies, Wedges

Have a question about how to style that skirt you just found buried in the deep abyss of your closet? Need help finding that perfect dress for an event? Can't find the "right" shoe to match your outfit? I can help! Email me at thebrunetteone@live.com!


Ashley {styleash} said...

I LOVE this post! It's so great the see things that I can actually wear (and afford). I definitely try to only invest in staples that I can wear for years to come (i.e. black blazer) and then save on the more trendy pieces.

Hotsy Malone said...

Great post! I also recommend consignment store shopping as you can find some great pieces! I have an online consignment store called octobermoonboutique.com which sells gently used and new items at great prices. Hope you will check it out sometime.

Quiqui said...

Great advice for everybody. Thanks.

smk053078 said...

Great post!! I couldn't agree more! Love all the styles you put together!
Because Shanna Said So

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