Stylish on a budget: how to look cool without breaking the bank

Who said being stylish had to be expensive?

Mia Dale
26th April 2023
Image Credit: Instagram @saversisters
With trends constantly changing, there is certainly a pressure to look stylish all the time, but the cost of keeping up with ever-changing trends can be daunting. It is easy to feel the need to spend a lot on clothes, but as students, this isn’t always possible. Looking stylish does not have to be expensive – you just need to be crafty in your choices!

1: Investing in basics would probably be my top tip. Buying a few cheap basic t-shirts or crop tops, a pair of jeans, and a couple of sweatshirts will set you up well as they can be dressed up and down to suit any occasion. Selecting staple products that can adapt with the varying trends, such as black jeans, trench coats, or white trainers, will really help to save money. Choosing basic colours like black, white, grey, or brown can also help save money as they can be paired with pretty much anything. These can be found in shops like Primark, H&M, ASOS, Pull&Bear, and Stradivarius, which are just some of the more affordable brands for the perfect basics. 

Image Credit: Instagram @hm

2: Accessorising is also such a crucial part of fashion, with little earrings, sunglasses, or clutch bags significantly transforming your outfit. Gold seems to have been the most popular jewellery recently, but silver is slowly creeping its way back in. Whichever you prefer, owning a couple of dainty necklaces, earrings, and rings can make your outfit look so much more put together – it looks like you have made a lot more effort than you really have! Similarly, owning a shoulder or cross-body bag can complete your outfit perfectly.

Selecting staple products that can adapt with the varying trends, such as black jeans, trench coats, or white trainers, will really help to save money

3: Blazers, oversized leather jackets, and trench coats are extremely popular at the minute, overall creating a business-chic look. Personally, I love the fact that blazers have risen to fame … whether you wear them with trousers, over a bralette, over a dress or even with leggings, you can’t go wrong. These staple jackets can elevate any look from comfy and casual to ‘got-your-life-together’. Whilst these might be on the slightly pricier side, you only need one or two for your wardrobe; they are so versatile that they can be worn with such a variety of looks, so investing in a couple of staple pieces like this can be a great way to look stylish without spending loads on a huge wardrobe.  

Image Credit: Instagram @hm

4: Though requiring a bit more creativity, DIY-ing your own pieces can be a great way to look stylish at a low price, such as adding studs to your jeans, tie-dyeing t-shirts, or even cutting your clothes. YouTube and TikTok have so many video hacks on how to style certain clothes, encouraging you to design unique pieces that no one else will have. DIY-ing jeans in particular can be a great way to change up your outfit, as you can bleach them, distress them, cut them, or even patchwork them. 

5: As students, we are all guilty of borrowing our friends’ clothes for a night out, but if we did this more often, we could save a LOT of money. I mean, why do we all need to buy the same blazer (that you will probably only wear once), when you can share them with your friends. Alternatively, passing on the clothes that you no longer wear, or swapping them with friends, can freshen up your wardrobe with no cost. 

Second-hand shopping is becoming much more popular in the light of the climate crisis

6: On a similar note, the rise of second-hand shopping is certainly an affordable way to re-vamp your wardrobe. Second-hand shopping is becoming much more popular in the light of the climate crisis and is even promoted by TV shows such as Love Island, which is now sponsored by eBay, preventing the islanders from wearing fast-fashion brand that are significantly less sustainable. From Depop to Vinted, buying used clothes online can save significant money, allowing you to purchase fashionable pieces, sometimes brand new, for a reduced price. It also often means that you have pieces that are no longer available, meaning you can create stylish but unique looks.  

Image Credit: Instagram @vinted

Ultimately, wear what works for you. If you love what you wear and wear it with confidence, you will always look stylish! Invest in a couple of basics, look for some nice accessories, get creative, and make use of second-hand shopping. But ultimately, wear what you feel good in!

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