Nov 192010

For as long as I can remember I have been on a tight budget, but that does not mean that I live a life without fashion. It is amazing how far frugal living can take you, if you are just a bit fashion conscious and very creative in your day-to-day looks. Whether you are a high school senior living on your own, a college student working two or three jobs to get yourself through college or a stay-at-home mom on a very strict budget, it is possible to be fashion forward. I would like to share 10 tips for weaving the hottest runway trends into your day-to-day looks.

1. Study the magazines. There are countless of ways to get free subscriptions these days, and most libraries have a great selection of fashion magazines as well. If your friends are fashionistas like you, swap magazines and discuss the latest trends.
2. Keep your style classic, so you do not have to switch out your entire wardrobe every season. Instead focus on one or two trends from the runway each season that you can incorporate into your own style without breaking your budget.
3. Copy! That $500 dress can be found in your local department store for $50 or less. You do not have to wear name brands to be fashionable, it is all about how you wear the clothing. If you look and feel confident no one will even question what clothing brand you are wearing.

4. Know your materials. Get familiar with fabrics, what fabrics hold up well and which ones do not. Which fabrics can be washed in the washer, and which ones need to be hand washed. There is no point in buying a new piece of clothing only to find that it looks worn after a few washes. Follow the care instructions and treat your clothing carefully and respectfully.
5. Scout out sales. All stores have sales, and the department stores have lots of sales. They are all competing for your purchase, so make sure to make a smart decision as to where you buy your clothes. Know when the best sales hit, and even better yet get to know your sales associates.
6. Use those coupons and sign up for the mailing lists. Lots of companies mail out coupons these days, or send them out via email. Do not miss out, these coupons can save you lots of money, and if you combine coupons with sales you can stretch your budget far.
7. Accessorize. The accessories are often what makes the outfit. Once again study the magazines, know which accessories are in style, and find them at your local department store. Add them to an existing outfit to make it current and up to date with the latest fashions.
8. Study your closet. Spend some time going through what you have in your closet, and plan out outfits. Constance Dunn the author of Practical Glamour, which I recently reviewed, suggests that you keep an outfit ready to go out in your closet. I love this tip, and it is one that I have implemented in my own closet. It works! If I am called up from the school and have to run out of the door, I do not have to look like a complete slob. Instead I can present myself in the best way possible, and I may even be able to add a little bit of runway touch by adding the latest runway accessory.
9. Shop the clearance aisle. It is amazing how many items end up on the clearance rack, and it is not just because they are out of style. If you know your own style, if you have studied your fashion and the latest trends in the magazines, then you will know once you find the right item for you on the clearance rack. 
10. Finally, not everyone can wear the hottest runway trends. Know what works for you, know your colors and your fit. If you try to hard to fit the hottest runway trends into your wardrobe without having a plan and an idea of what works for your body type and skin tone, then you might very well end up failing completely. 
You do not have to have a big income to be able to follow the hottest runway trends. It is all about being knowledgeable about fashion and keeping yourself updated without being a slave to fashion. When I was in college and after college I worked in New York City, the fashion capital of the world, and I loved studying the different ways that women made themselves look fashionable. I would have my flats on until I reached the office, and then I would quickly change into the high heels. I have always had a tight budget, and when I worked in New York City I still had a family to provide for, so I have never been able to spend a lot of money on the latest trends. Combining frugal living with a fashionable wardrobe is all about creativity though, and I will never forget the day that I wore last season’s high heals from Payless and received numerous compliments from my college peers. I smiled and said thank you, and knowing that I had bought them on BOGO and on clearance made me feel even better about the fashion compliments.

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