How to dress next-level chic when you're on a strict budget.

Anyone who works in the fashion industry or has a penchant for style will tell you that looking "expensive" has little to do with how much money you're willing to spend on an outfit and more about how you style the pieces you already own.

I've written several stories about styling and wardrobe basics - not only because I want everyone to know how to wear the items they already have in their closet, but because I don't believe in overconsumption.

Funnily enough, the minute I decided I was going to stop buying into trends and build a capsule wardrobe, my style elevated, despite me wearing the same few pieces on rotation. Mind you, my journey into culling my entire wardrobe didn't happen overnight. In fact, it took years, and an overfilled cupboard for me to reflect on my consumption habits.

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I was buying things because I saw them on my favourite influencer, not taking into account how it would look on me, or whether it would even fit with everything else I own. 

I was adding things to my cart just because it was on sale, 'girl mathing' my way towards a hoarding habit.


Another part of me thought I *needed* a new outfit for every occasion, not realising that you can style one piece in many ways, making it look fresh and on-trend every single time. 

That's not to say that I don't buy new clothes and accessories, but I'm a lot more thoughtful about it than I once was. I never shop impulsively, and I always think about the many ways I can wear said item - if a top I'm lusting after only works with one pair of jeans, then I'm probably not going to get much use out of it.

I swear by a capsule wardrobe. Image: Instagram @basmahqazi.


Of course, if there's a one-off item that makes no sense for you to own but you can't stop thinking about it, then buy it. Life is short, and treating yourself from time to time is necessary.

At the end of the day, fashion is not about the clothes you wear or the brands you own. It's about how you style your favourite items together.

Once you nail the art of styling, you can make a thrift store find look like it came from a department store, and that's what I'm going to walk you through today.

So if you want to know how to look chic without draining your bank account then keep reading, because I have some affordable tips that will change the way you dress.

Iron your clothes.

Ironing makes the clothes you're wearing stand out in the best way. Image: Getty.


I know, I know, this seems juvenile but I can't stress enough how important this is. 

I get it, ironing is tedious and time-consuming. In fact, it's one of my most hated tasks, but I can't sit here and deny the impact of a well-steamed garment.

Looking chic is all about looking put together, and a crinkled shirt or a pant with no crease can make you look unkempt. Get into the habit of ironing your clothes the night before so it's ready to go in the morning, that way, you'll walk out wearing a wrinkle-free outfit without having to add another morning chore to your list.

If you really don't want to iron or steam your clothes, then head to your local grocery store and grab yourself a wrinkle releaser. It won't give you as good of a result, but it helps.

Pay attention to the details.

Matching your shoes to your handbag is one of the easiest ways to look put together. Image: Getty.


One of the first styling tips I learned was to hone in on the details. For example, if you're carrying a handbag with gold hardware, then pair it with gold jewellery.

Or if you're wearing red shoes, then opt for a red lipstick. Believe it or not, these tiny little things make an enormous impact, and help tie everything together.

A personal favourite trick of mine is matching my shoes and belt to my handbag - remember, these may seem insignificant individually, but styling is all about how the outfit looks as a whole.


Pair the right colours together.

When in doubt, go monochrome. Image: Getty.

When I say the word "right" I want you to know that there isn't any right or wrong in fashion, but there are colours that complement each other. For instance, navy blue and white make for an expensive look, and orange and grey is perfect for when you want to make a statement.

On days when I just can't be bothered styling an outfit, I go with a monochrome look. Brown pants paired with a brown jumper, or even all-black will never fail you. Take a look at your wardrobe and see what colours you wear most, and then think about which colours work best with it.


That's how you know what to invest in and what to ditch.

Rather than buying clothes, buy tools instead.

If you own a pet, then a lint remover is a necessity. Image: Getty.

Here are the tools and gadgets I firmly believe every woman should own: A lint remover, a pill shaver, fashion tape and a stain removal pen.


These items have not only saved my life more times than I can count, but they help increase the longevity of my clothes. I have jumpers in my closet that I've owned for years, and whenever they pill (which they all inevitably do), I run a pill shaver over it and it's as good as new.

Or, when I have a neckline that's a bit too low, instead of using a safety pin to make it higher, I stick on some fashion tape - it's invisible and it doesn't damage the fabric.

Lint removers are a necessity if you have a pet at home, and stain remover pens are self-explanatory. 

Tools I recommend:

Philips Fabric Shaver, $19.

Image: Philips, The Iconic.


Kmart Pet Lint Roller with Refill, $3.00.

Image: Kmart.

Hollywood Fashion Tape, $21.

Image: Woolworths.


Magic Mini Stain Remover 2 Pack, $9.90.

Image: Woolworths.


If you don't mind spending money, then splurge on tailoring.

Look into tailoring pieces you regularly wear, or for special occasions. Image: Getty.


Nothing, and I mean nothing, looks better than a piece of clothing that's made for you. This isn't something I do with all of my clothes because it adds up, however, if you own an expensive dress, or you're planning on wearing a certain piece of clothing to a wedding or special occasion, then getting it tailored will completely transform your look.

I also like to invest in tailoring for items I wear all the time, for example, my black trousers or my white button-up shirt. 

Try it out, but be warned, it can be addictive.

Of course, I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't leave you with some recommendations.

These are the key items I think are worthwhile investments:

Pull&Bear Basic Poplin Shirt, $55.99.

Image: Pull&Bear, The Iconic.


Assembly Label Cybil Bateau Dress, $120.

Image: Assembly Label, The Iconic.


Atmos&Here Curvy Caribbean One Shoulder Linen Blend Dress, $119.99.

Image: Atmos&Here, The Iconic.

Target European Linen Blend Relaxed Blazer, $70.

Image: Target.


Kmart Buckle Trim Loafer, $20.

Image: Kmart.


PETA AND JAIN Kendrick Buckle Belt, $29.95.

Image: PETA AND JAIN, The Iconic.

Charles & Keith Gabine Bucket Bag, $83.

Image: Charles & Keith.


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Featured Image: Getty.

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