Seven pieces of clothing you should always buy cheap.

This week I took a long, hard look at my bank balance and where all my money is actually going. The short answer? It’s hanging up in my wardrobe, staring back at me, telling me I need to get my act together… or put something really nice on, I’m very confused as to which.

I love to shop. But as someone who loves fashion — I run Aceyacey — yet doesn’t have the budget to buy all the clothes I want (thanks, mortgage and all those coffees), I’ve learned to become an expert of knowing when to invest a little more money in a designer piece, and when to pick up a cheap buy.

It’s like mixed lollies for adults; you need the cheap jelly lollies just as much as you need the scorched almonds. Then you dig in.

1. “Fashion” jeans.

Classic cut, comfy jeans are always worth spending coin on. But when it comes to the cropped frayed jeans popping up in just about every store this season, you’re better off scrimping. It’s called a trend for a reason — it will fly in and fly out, and there’s no point watching your money fly away when hipster flares come back.

It’s an easy item to work into your existing winter wardrobe (frayed jeans, meet my boots, coats and knits), but I’m afraid this is one item that doesn’t pass the Wardrobe Staple test. They’re cute for now, like a guy at a bar who’s handsome but can’t spell ‘cerebral’.


Our picks:

Left: New Look jeans at ASOS, $49.74. Right: Mango, AUD$78.

2. T-Shirts.

Unless you’re after a one-of-a-kind statement, sequinned or slogan T-shirt, for goodness' sake do not fork out your precious money on very plain, very expensive versions.

Newsflash: it’s a white T-shirt. Or a black one. When was the last time someone said, “Oh my God, I just love your plain black T-shirt, I have to get me one of those?” Doesn’t happen.

The key is to go simple. I always pick grey, black or white T-shirts because, while safe, they’re the colours you’ll wear the most.

Our picks:

Left: Target T-Shirt, $10. Right: Bonds Besties Crew Tee, currently $14.95.

Watch: A white long-sleeved shirt is another brilliant staple. (Post continues after video.)

3. Sunglasses.

We’ve all been there; you buy a fancy pair of $300 sunglasses, only to scratch and ruin them on day two when you bend down on a street corner to give life-saving CPR. Meanwhile, the high street stores are now selling an almost exact replica for $30.

Sunglasses styles are forever morphing and there are so many to choose from, which means you’re better off buying a cheap pair that won’t be so hard to part with if you’re over them by next season. Or you lose them before next season. Or you’re going to be saving more people’s lives on the footpath next season.

Just be safe and be sure they’ve got adequate sun protection.

Our picks:

Left: Karen Walker at AceyAcey, $140.00; Right: Le Specs at Surf Stitch, $49.95.

4. Off-the-shoulder tops.

Never before have our shoulders had so much air time. Feel that breeze, people. Before you dismiss this as a summer-only trend, I must say I have a lovely Jacquemus navy off-the-shoulder top I wore out the other night over a sleeveless skivvy, teamed with a leather skirt. Elegant and fun. See? It can be done.


This trend isn’t likely to stick around in your closet long enough to acquire MVP status, so stick to the high street to save. Plus, as it’s off-the-shoulder it’s missing quite a bit of fabric so I wouldn’t be parting with hard-earned cash for half a top. Just saying.

Our picks:

Left: Sportsgirl, $89.95. Right: Supre, $40.

5. The bomber jacket.

Silky. Embellished. Sporty. You’ve probably noticed the bomber jacket is hanging off the frame of every fashion blogger and “influencer” lately.

They are divine. But while trench coats, denim jackets or blazers are all investment pieces, the bomber is just a bit too playful and is never going to gain entry into style Mensa. So delete the Gucci Pre-Fall version (that’ll cost you a small car) from your Pinterest wish-list and shop smart instead.

Our picks:

Left: Pre-loved Tigerlily at Aceyacey, $70. Right: Cotton On, $39.95. 

6: Sportsluxe sneakers.

Heaven in a shoe — they're comfy, and a great performer if you have to run away from people who are boring you. Just the right touch to make it look as though you don’t give a fig. You can never start the day on the wrong foot in the right pair of sneakers.

The humble runner is now a wardrobe staple (when Kate Middleton’s wearing them out, you know it’s a “thing”) and with every designer ever releasing their own version, and sneakers becoming just like the new “It girl” handbags, research is crucial to avoid bankruptcy.

Our picks:

Left: I love these by Adidas Originals available here at The Iconic. $120. Right: New Balance at Hype DC, $99.95.

7. The slip dress.

Straight out of the ‘90s style archives comes the bias-cut slip dress that’s recently been worn by the likes of Kim Kardashian West, Rihanna and Gigi Hadid. Yes. Yes. Yes. They can wear anything, but you can too.

Slips are flattering on so many body types and it’s all about getting the right fit. So be sure to try on so many options the sales assistant has time to make a voodoo doll of you and poke needles into your eyes.

It’s a versatile option (wear it over a turtleneck skivvy in winter, or on its own in summer) and you can get away with not forking out on the expensive options. Tip: Watch the fit around the hips.

Our picks:

Left: ASOS dress, $38.94. Right: $40, Alice in the Eve dress at General Pants Co.

What style staples do you buy cheap, and which do you fork out for?