Four fashion hacks that'll transform your winter wardrobe (without spending a cent).

I feel like a fashion ninja, because somehow, I’ve managed to trick everyone I know into thinking that I’m very cool and stylish. Yes, it’s true – I, the romance novel-reading, bespectacled, nerdy mum from the suburbs, have recently heard acquaintances describe me as “fashionable”, “hot” (!!!) and “cool”.

And it’s all because I’ve added some very easy and super cheap styling tricks to my usual jeans and t-shirt! Of course, I could not keep these fashion hacks to myself. I want to share my new powers of style and cooooool with you all. Sharing is caring, right? Or at least, that’s what my 3 year old daughter tells me when she wants some of my chocolate.

Starting point: the base outfit:

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Here I am, in my standard mum-uniform. Stripey t-shirt, blue jeans and black flats. If I met this lady walking down the street, I’d describe her as “clean” and “okay”. Is that what I want on my gravestone? NO. Personally, “Fabulous, and a witty force to be reckoned with,” is one gravestone suggestion that I shall put in my will for my husband to read. Oh, and yes, a bit of fashion magic is required. Read on!

Calves, cuffs and colourful flats.

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Jeans today are all about that slightly cropped length. Ankles are “in”, I guess. Isn’t it weird that a body part can be fashionable? Anyway, to instantly transform your jeans into something that looks a little more stylish and chic, just roll ‘em up a few times to expose a bit of ankle. I feel like I’m winning when I do this, mostly because I saw a designer pair of cuffed jeans selling for $320, and all I did was roll up my $19 Target jeans. See? This fashion makeover was practically free!

Another way to add bounce to your step is to wear bright, colourful ballet flats. My ultramarine flats are a few seasons old, from Novo. Two other great places to get cheap, cheerful flats are Kmart and Target. I mean, look at these leopard-print flats from Kmart, for only $7!

Add (faux) fur.

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I always get excited when winter rolls around, because it means I can bust out my favourite faux fur jackets. Look at how this vintage fuzz takes my outfit from “blah” to “babe” (in MY humble opinion, anyway!). I think it’s an attitude thing, too; whenever I’m wearing a big, fake fur jacket, I feel like the biggest bad-ass rock chick.

My hot tip is to scour op-shops for faux fur. I’m forever stopping myself from buying just one more furry jacket from Vinnies. At $30, this jacket was expensive by op-shop standards, but I feel good knowing that I’m recycling clothes while also helping a good cause.

If op-shopping gives you a case of the icks, then don’t worry, I’ve still got your back. Hit up the stores at the very end of winter, to find heavily discounted, fabulous faux fur jackets. Check out Miss Shop (Myer) for faux fur jackets that are on the right side of trashy.

Make it fun with cartoon characters and colour!

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My daughter is obsessed with Hello Kitty, and one day, she forced me to buy this t-shirt from Kmart so that we’d match. And the most curious thing happened: whenever I wear it, people feel obliged to tell me that I’m “cool”. It’s so puzzling. I mean, I’m wearing a t-shirt with a mouthless cartoon cat on it! I think there’s just something about a big, goofy print on a t-shirt. It lets everyone know that you are fun and weird, and people can’t help but smile. Wearing a colourful cardigan on top makes me feel extra arty and cute. So, don’t be afraid of wearing a novelty t-shirt, or a bright cardie. It makes everyone’s day better – especially yours.


The power of the beanie.

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Here’s my biggest, strangest tip. If you wear a slouchy beanie or beret, people will immediately think that you are extremely hip and kind of wild. Once, back when I was a receptionist, my friend saw me arrive at work wearing a soft, felt beret. She shook her head and said wistfully, “People in hats always have more fun.” I mean, I was wearing it to keep my noggin warm during my long commute! And somehow, my friend thought I was just trying to sass up my look!

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Recently, I’ve been wearing this yellow beanie to cover my dirty hair during daycare drop-offs. It was only $9.95 from youth store, Factorie. One morning, a favourite educator of mine was wearing a similar beanie, and she said, “You inspired me. I hope I look as hot as you in this.” Me? Hot?! Uh, okay…I guess that’s the magic of fashion for you.

What are your fashion hacks for looking stylish? Sharing is caring after all!

For more tips, find Carla on Instagram and Facebook.