7 Ways to Have Great Style on a Budget

7 ways to have style on a budget
7 Ways You’ve Never Heard of Before to Look Stylish on a Budget

A budget is subjective. One person’s “save” is another person’s “splurge,” but everyone works within some financial parameters. Today, I’m sharing some of my best tips to have great style on any budget. 

Creating a classic wardrobe that feels sophisticated yet comfortable is a lesson in nuances and simplicity. It’s also ever-changing. You will forever be editing and updating your wardrobe.

Keeping your wardrobe modern is my goal.

Most of our readers aren’t looking for crazy trends or head-to-toe designer looks.

Instead, they want to keep it simple and classic with the occasional trend thrown in, and most of all, easy to pull together.

Looking fabulous while being smart with your money is more about exercising a deft hand in how you dress and what you buy rather than bringing more into your closet.

If we were chatting over a glass of wine, this is what I would tell you to do to look stylish on a budget.

How to Have Great Style on a Budget

7 ways to have style on a budget

BONUS: Download our FREE Wardrobe Building Checklist to See Everything you Need for a Classic and Chic Closet Full of Clothes.

Stop Wearing Old Crap

Perhaps the best piece of advice I can give you so you can build a modern, chic style on a budget is to get rid of your old stuff. 

Inevitably, every time I say this, I am flooded with emails telling me about this one fantastic garment that someone is still wearing after 20 or 30 years. So let me say this, yes, fair enough, there can be a handful of things with real staying power.

These are exceptions, not the norm. 

And, of course, you will wear your Burberry trench or your grandmother’s Chanel jacket for a lifetime because you’re supposed to. You’re paying for their quality, craftsmanship, and enduring style upfront.

I spent ten years as a personal stylist for very normal people with very normal budgets. I have stood in thousands of closets, and the one common thread (pun intended) is that too many women are holding onto and wearing their old crap.

– An astonishing number of clients would try to keep stained and damaged pieces because they could “put something over it.”

– Even more, they would be physically uncomfortable in clothes too small because they refused to buy the next size up.

– But the most common offense, the real reason I was there, was that they didn’t see when items were becoming dated. 

For Great Style on a Budget Remove Your Dated Pieces

Styles and fashions evolve. It’s why it is so easy to throw an 80s costume party. The older a piece is, the further we get away from a decade, the look becomes more specific. 

So hop in your closet and give it a good edit. 

Define Your Personal Style

If you want to have an enviable style on a budget, knowing what you like and what you don’t will save you so much time and money and help you make better choices when shopping.

Our preferences and needs change drastically over the years, yet we tend to stay stuck in a particular time when it comes to our clothing.

The best way to maximize your budget is to create a framework for your style.

I used to have new clients create style inspiration boards with pictures from magazines and categories and, as time went by, on Pinterest. (You can see my Pinterest boards here.)

Having a visual of what you like is the most efficient way to make the most of your budget because it gives you a structure through which to filter your choices.

When you get clear on what you like, you start to see those things in other places. 

For example, I’ve always loved the look of Theory. I love monochromatic outfits, mixing neutrals and textures, and I love fitted blazers with jeans. But I can’t wear head-to-toe Theory because I have to put three kids through college. 

Once I broke down the style elements, I started to see it in other places, and now I can easily recreate those looks with pieces from stores like H&M and Zara. 

Here’s an example of a texture-rich, monochromatic outfit I recently wore with an inexpensive sweater from H&M and a clearance skirt from J.Crew Factory.

High Style, Low Cost

 
 
 
 
 
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🎉How many unknown outfits are hanging in your closet?? . 🥂For date night I gave myself 2 challenges: . 1. Find an outfit I didn’t know I had, . 2. No jeans! . 🤚🏼So many of us go to jeans all the time. . I know I do because my life is super casual and jeans just fit me better. . I’m THRILLED with this outfit. . I had both pieces in my closet and never thought to put them together – and this is what I do for a living! . It shows how important it is to have an organized closet (you have to see your stuff!) and you have to give yourself a minute to look through what you have. . I love a monochromatic moment that combines various textures like the knobbiness of the sweater and the shine of the silk skirt💕 . And, this outfit was so affordable. The sweater was under $30 and the skirt was on clearance for $20. . So carve out some time and see if you can find the hidden looks in your wardrobe! . Swipe to see tagged retailers in picture. . 👼Photo-bomber just turned 14 months and is fresh out of the bath💕

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Figure out what you like and those items will start to jump off the rack at you!

Related: How to Define Your Personal Style

Keep Your Nails Polished with this Hack

How to give yourself a salon manicure at home

There’s no doubt that polished nails elevate your look in a big way, but weekly manicures add up and are total time killers. While I try to get a manicure every couple of weeks, I can’t always sneak out for one (especially these days).

When I am out of time, I do it myself using this quick hack, and my nails look like I just walked out of the salon. You can see my step-by-step guide here.

Match Your Hardware

“Hardware” is anything extra on an item like a belt or shoe buckle, buttons, zippers, chains on a bag; you get the idea. By coordinating your metal color, you create a cohesive look. It’s subtle but has a significant impact.

This means that if you are wearing a navy blazer with gold buttons, don’t wear a shoe with a silver buckle. Instead, wear one with gold, or skip altogether.

Along with keeping your hardware the same, be careful not to wear too much. Hardware will weigh down your look, and it doesn’t look sophisticated when there is too much.

For example, if you are wearing a zipper-heavy moto jacket, avoid pairing it with pieces that have additional hardware. Also, be careful of pairing heavy hardware with busy patterns.  

Work with Neutrals, Texture, and Basics

style on a budget
H&M tweed jacket paired with better basics

 

For a hight style look within a budget, focus your resources on basics, neutrals and pieces with texture, (like the tweed jacket above paired with black basics).

You’ll get more use out of your pieces, but you’ll also look more pulled together. When neutrals are paired together, they create a richness to your look, regardless of how much you spent.

Neutrals are more than just white, tan, brown, and black. Navy, gray, and burgundy are also give the same effect.

Patterns can be neutral too. Animal prints, pinstripes, and even textures like tweed (like above) and croco count. Incorporating these and pairing them together will elevate your look in a big way.

If you want to include patterns in your wardrobe, look for more sophisticated prints that feel like a neutral and wear them with modern basics. 

Making a Pattern Neutral

Don’t Mix Patterns

Contrary to what most fashion blogs will tell you, mixing pattern takes a great deal of technique and an understanding of color theory, balance, and composition. If you do it haphazardly, you will look like a hot mess.

There are so many patterns out there that lack sophistication and will ruin your outfit instantly. 

Wonder what you should have in your closet? Download our FREE Wardrobe Checklist Here.

Avoid Super High Heels

Walking around like a newborn fawn isn’t a great look. Heels and platforms that are disproportionately high cheapen your look and throw off your balance, both literally and figuratively.

There are ways to give yourself some extra height other than wearing an extreme heel. Making sure your pants are hitting at your best length and wearing elongating necklaces and necklines can add the appearance of height.

You’ll also dumb down your look if your shoes are ill-fitting. If you can slide your finger between your heel and the back of your shoe, they don’t fit.  If you keep stepping out of your shoe, it’s time to donate.

Our guide to the most comfortable heels is a helpful place to start to organize your shoe collection. 

Creating the wardrobe you love takes a little bit of time upfront.  What I know for sure, after years of helping others get dressed and feel great in their clothes is that you don’t need to spend a fortune.  You just need discipline and an awareness of changing styles and trends to stay modern, current and classic.

Style on A Budget Recap

This is a lot of information! Let’s break it down:

  1. Purge your closet of old, dated, and damage items to make room for updated classic. 
  2. Clearly define your personal style so it’s easier to shop and to create outfits that best reflect you. 
  3. Grooming is high impact and can be low cost. Have your nails manicured with our simple hack is an easy way to look polished on a budget. 
  4. Create a cohesive look by matching your hardwares. Keep gold with gold, silver with silver. It makes a huge difference. 
  5. Work with neutrals, textures, and better basics. Divide your resources so you are investing in workhorse pieces. These allow you to then layer in less expensive and/or trend focused pieces.
  6. Avoid patterns. Most patterns lack sophistication and look cheap – even if they aren’t. Also, skip mixing and matching patterns unless you are really good at it.
  7. Skip super high heels. No matter the cost, if you can’t walk in them, or if the proportion is too high you’ll look sloppy. Instead, spend what you can on quality shoes that help elevate your outfit. 

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Our Style Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please  follow on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

 

 

How to Look Stylish Every Day

7 Secrets to Look Stylish Everyday

Let’s talk about how to look stylish every day because it’s easier than you may think. It doesn’t matter your budget, lifestyle, or body type. All it takes is some upfront time and a little discipline to look your best, whether you are running around in yoga pants or headed to the office in a suit.

For over a decade, I was a personal stylist. I didn’t work with celebrities or high profile women. I didn’t have clients with limitless budgets or closets full of couture. Instead, I worked with women like you. Hard-working, budget-conscious, busy – oh, so busy.

How to Look Stylish Every Day: Seven Easy Tips 

How to Look Stylish Every Day
How to Look Stylish Every Day

My clients were in all seasons of life: stay at home moms, seasoned executives, single professionals and recently retired. While they were diverse, they all shared one thing in common: they wanted to look stylish within their lives without having to fuss and fret about it.

Today, I thought I would share what I learned from working and speaking with thousands of women. I didn’t pull these tips out of thin air. These are the strategies and advice that worked for my clients time and again. 

Not on this list are the standard go-to’s like have fresh manicure, keep your make-up dewy, and hair styled. Of course, these things make a HUGE difference, even if you’re just wearing a sweatsuit. But today’s list a little deeper, to the real core of making daily style easy. 

They are practical, simple to implement, and will help you look stylish all the time. 

1. Get Rid of “Just Okay” 

The key to looking stylish is only to wear things you love. 

One of my biggest “Aha’s” was when I realized how many clothes women buy that are “just okay.”

Think about how many things you have bought just because (1) it fit, (2) it was on sale, (3) you needed something, or (4) all of the above. 

Almost every woman I know has an article of clothing or an entire outfit that they make do with, but they don’t love it or even like it. Sometimes it doesn’t reflex their style at all. 

If this sounds like you (and it probably does because this is all of us), get rid of it. I do this for a living, and I can immediately think of three to four things I wear that I am, at best, lukewarm about. 

2. Let Go of Dated Clothes 

How to Finally Let Go of Clothes You Don't Need

In a similar spirit, if you want to look stylish, please stop trying to get a lifetime’s worth of wear out of your clothes

Clothes. Wear. Out. 

Of all the advice I give, this is the one I get the most push back over. I promise you on all that is holy; if you are wearing clothes that are 20 years old, they are dating you. 

You are not supposed to keep clothes for decades. There are, of course, exceptions, but they are the exception. Even the most basic garment will become dated with time. This is simply because lines, cuts, and silhouettes change and slowly start to date your look.

Patterns, prints, and color combinations will go out of style too. 

How long should your clothes last? That’s a difficult question to answer because it depends on what it is and the frequency of use. While there is no specific expiration date, it’s safe to say goodbye if you are hitting the 20-year mark.

Staying aware of trends and the expected shifts in fashion will help train your eye to notice when a piece isn’t up to date anymore. Also, ask your best friend, sister, or daughter; they’ll tell you the truth 🙂 

3. Choose a Neutral Color Palette

This tip is not for everyone; however, if you lean more classic and traditional, with a twist, stick to neutral, tonal colors is an easy way to look stylish. Not only do neutrals mix and match easily, but you can also quickly create a monochromatic look – which is pretty much the epitome of chic. 

Love bold color and pattern? Go for it! The key for you to stay current is to evolve with the ever changing cut and construction of clothes. And as I mentioned above, patterns and prints will date you eventually, too, so let them evolve within your wardrobe as time goes on. 

4. When In Doubt Wear Black 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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🙋🏼‍♀️Do you need a few “going out tops”? . The kind you wear for drinks with friends or a date night? . Overwhelming, this is the biggest void in most of my readers wardrobes. . And it makes sense. After spending our days working and taking care of our families, on the rare night we can go out for a little, we have nothing that feels special . Isn’t that a crummy feeling? . Standing in your closets, flipping through pieces you either JUST wore to work or maybe they don’t feel fun or special. . So over the next few weeks I’ll feature some pretty and affordable pieces you can mix into your wardrobe so you have a few things on hand when you get a minute to have a grown up night out. . Today I’m starting with wrap-style tops. These are flattering for all body types and quickly dress up basics you already have. Like this textured faux wrap blouse from @jcrew ☝🏼follow the link in my profile for all the well priced, size inclusive options.

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When did people start hating on wearing all black? I find the resistance to wearing black baffling. All-black outfits translate across so many styles. It can be artsy, euro, classic, city chic, anything! You can wear it unadorned or use it as a canvas to showcase statement jewelry.

Some of the chicest women in history made head to toe black a classic. So if you like black, wear it, it’s always in style, it’s simple, and it helps you look stylish on days you don’t want to think about what to wear.

5. Invest in Simple Upgrades

Three items you could spend on that will instantly elevate your look:

a great coat in camel or dark grey

a better quality handbag in a similar neutral tone

and your everyday shoe.

If you are always grabbing your boots, invest in the best quality you can afford. Spend your day in sneakers? Buy one that you can wear with outfits for a sporty yet pulled-together look. 

When you combine a higher quality item in your everyday outfit, you add a sophisticated element that creates an elegant style.

Related: How to Mix High and Low Fashion

One of my favorite things to wear in the cool weather is a turtleneck and jeans. It’s an easy go-to for me when balancing working from home and life with my kids. But if I have to run out to an appointment or meeting, I can immediately up my style factor by throwing on a camel coat, grabbing a classic bag, and wearing a better shoe. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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I love neutrals. Whether I’m investing in a piece or picking up a bargain I always opt for neutrals. So when I throw on an outfit it looks chic and sophisticated.

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Play around with the elements in your daily look to add a touch more style. 

6. Consider a Uniform 

Often, when I reference a uniform, readers think I’m suggesting you wear the same thing every day. That’s not necessarily the case. Of course, if you want to take the Steve Jobs approach to dress, go for it.

However, a more realistic way to translate a uniform would be to create different versions of your favorite, stylish outfits that you to wear every day. For example, one of my “uniforms” for work is jeans and blazers. But I don’t wear the same jeans and blazer every day.


 

Instead, I use similar elements to build out different looks. Some days it’s light washed jeans and a casual blazer, other days it skinny jeans and a moto jacket. For a meeting, it might be slim-lined black pants and a sleek blazer. By duplicating looks, I can keep my style harmonious and “feel” like me without being overly repetitive. 

7. Have Enough of What You Need

Think about how often you stand in your closet wanting to wear something, or could build an outfit, except your favorite pants are at the dry cleaner, or you JUST wore that perfect white tank.

These are the items you need more of, not similar, but more of the exact same.

I own three pairs of black Theory ankle pants because I wear them so much. I also own multiple pairs of Paige skinny jeans in dark wash blue, several of the same pure white tanks, and at least three of the same black crew neck cashmere sweater.

Why? Because these are building blocks to my wardrobe, and if I don’t have a black sweater on hand one day, I can’t create 3-4 outfits. That’s limiting and makes it difficult to look like your most stylish self every day. 

Consider your building blocks. What are the items you wear all the time, what’s always being washed – create a list, and pick up a few more of the same. This way, you’ll look stylish every day without feeling like you are reinvention the wheel every time you have to get dressed. 


Our Style Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please  follow on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.


 

 

What to Buy at Old Navy in January

What to Buy At Old Navy in January

Second only to Nordstrom, Old Navy was our most popular retailer of 2020. No surprise since work wardrobes as we know them went on indefinite pause, and on the rare day we wore jeans our kids asked us why we were so “dressed up.”

I’ve long been a fan of Old Navy. As a content creator committed to size-inclusivity, they are one of the only retailers that make my job a little easier. They truly offer all sizes, including regular (or missy), tall, petite, and women (or plus).

When shopping at Old Navy, it’s important to know what you are looking for, otherwise, the sheer volume of options, whether you are in the store or online, will feel overwhelming. I focus on casual basics, loungewear, jeans  and sweaters in the cooler months. 

My best advice is to layers these with your better quality pieces to create a timeless, classic look. For example, wear the black check flannel below with your Spanx “Perfect” Pants, or the Rockstar jeans with the Sam Edelman Penny boots.  

What to Buy at Old Navy: January 2021

 

What to Buy At Old Navy in January

Our What to Buy at Series has become our most popular post. Here, I round up the best of the new arrivals at popular mainstream retailers to make shopping easier. And because the goal here at The Well Dressed Life is to help you create a chic and functional wardrobe, I use many of these pieces throughout the season, so you have multiple, mix and match options for any occasion. 

Plush-Knit Lounge Set

Plush knit Lounge set in grey

Plush Knit Jogger, $35 and Plush Knit Pullover, $25 

Let’s start with the obvious, since, so far, 2021 looks exactly like 2020. There is something about wearing a matching loungewear “set” that makes me feel like I have my life in order. (Oh, how the mighty have fallen.) I scooped this cozy set up in the light heather grey. Together the set is about $40 on sale. It’s nice to wear on a chilly day working from home, or to hang out in on the weekends at home. 

Details: Available in regular and tall in sizes XS – XXL, each piece sold separately, 30% discount taken at checkout. Jogger here, pullover here

 

Waffle-Knit Cowl-Neck Sweater

Waffle Knit Cowl Neck Sweater in Moonstone

Waffle-Knit Cowl-Neck Sweater, $40 

If you are looking for a few updated sweaters to pair with jeans as we ride out the colder months at home, grab this beauty. It looks like something you would see at a better department store, for a fraction of the price. I went with the color above, called “Moonstone Green.” The muted color is sophisticated, and pairs well with black or dark denim bottoms. 

Details: Available in regular, tall and petite in sizes XS – XXL in a variety of colors for under $30 with the discount at checkout. 

 

Rockstar Jeans

Rockstar Jeans

Rockstar Jeans, $40 

If you haven’t given their Rockstar Jeans a try, do it now. These are a long-time reader favorite and make it on our Best Jeans list every year. 

Details: Available in regular, tall and petite up to a size 20. Right now they are on sale for $28!

Oversized Boyfriend Flannel Shirt

Flannel Shirt in black and whiteFlannel Shirt, $25 

If you rock a flannel shirt with boots and jeans, then grab this oversized boyfriend flannel. I’m featuring it in the black check, but I also LOVE it in the navy plaid. 

Details: Available in regular, tall and petite in XS – XXL, several color options, currently marked down to $17!

Long Sleeve White Tee

White Long Sleeve Tee

Long-Sleeve Tee, $8 

This tee shirt is $8. EIGHT DOLLARS! And guess what, that’s how much a white tee shirt should be. This works as a stand-alone piece or as a layer. I sized up because I wanted a more relaxed fit to wear with light wash jeans and sneakers.

Details: Available in regular and tall, in XS – XXL, scoop it up in black and white. 

Olive Cargo Pants

Skinny Cargo Pants in Olive Green

Skinny Cargo Pants, $35 

Olive color bottoms are a bit of a staple around here, especially in the spring and early fall. But they are not always easy to find in all sizes.

Now, they are not for everyone. Pass on these if you carry weight in your thighs since the cargo detail will only highlight that. However, if you are straight up and down or have skinny leggings and want to create some shape, these would be great.

Details: With the additional 30% off, you can grab these for under $25 right now.  Available in regular, tall and petite up to a size 20. 

French Terry Hoodie

French Terry Hoodie in Dark Ivy

French-Terry Hoodie, $28 (see FIVE star reviews here)

I’ve tried all the fancy-pants athleisure brands, from Lululemon to Fabletics. They all have their good points, but no one beats Old Navy, which balances updated styles, quality, and affordable price points.

Their new arrivals always have several gems, like this cross-front, french terry hoodie in this gorgeous dark ivy. Throw it over a sports bra or tank and pair it with your workout leggings or their rockstar jeans.

Details: Available in XS – XXL in two colors. 


Our Style Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please  follow on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

 

How To Find Your Style

How to Find your Style

Today we’re talking about how to find your style.

Discovering your personal style seems easy enough, but start to dive into it, and you’ll quickly realize it can be confusing and a little overwhelming.

Have you ever sat down and thought about what kind of clothes and outfits you like?

Probably not, because as busy women, we have no time has the time?

For many, myself included, there comes the point in life when we end up with less of a style and more a closet full of clothes we accumulated over the years.

How to Find Your Personal Style 

How to Find your Personal Style

 

The decades since I graduated from college are a jumble of personal style trial and error.

I fully embraced the late nineties style with my low rise jeans and mid-drift tops, not so much a personal style as a required uniform for frat parties and college life. 

After graduating, I remember trying to look like a “grown-up” or my version of one. Thankfully, that was a quick phase, and I spent most of my twenties and early thirties experimenting with different styles, all while having babies and building a business.

While I’ve always understood the fundamentals of dressing, like proportion and fit, it’s very different to navigate personally. As we age and watch our bodies change, it took me a minute to understand that what worked in my 20’s and 30’s doesn’t work on my body at 40 after three pregnancies – no matter how much I work out.

At my core, regardless of my age or size, I’ve always loved classic American Style. As a young girl, I worshiped Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrara. I was mesmerized by their shows, models and dreamed of growing up to exude their effortless elegance.

But it wasn’t until my late 30s and now at 40 when I felt like who I am as a woman and my personal style match. Like they are finally meeting at the same point. 

Because for years, I convinced myself that that was too boring. So I bought things because:

  • I thought I should like it.
  • It was on sale.
  • I was just happy it fit.
  • Or all of the above.

Maybe that’s the beauty of aging, the confidence you get in being able to say, this is who I am

So how do you create a personal style that feels authentic?

What are you supposed to do when you like everything?

And where should you start if you have no idea?

Today, we’ll talk about how you can find your personal style, based on what worked for me, and the strategies we used to help clients over the years.

How to Find Your Personal Style in 6 Easy Steps 

How to Find Your Personal Style

How to Find Your Style in 6 Easy Steps

When I worked with clients, the first step in our process was to figure out her style. 

I created a client questionnaire, which included a section that asked them to think about women with a style they admire. It could be anyone, but it always ended up being celebrities from Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly, Laura Hutton, or more current famous women like Jen Anniston or fictional characters such as Olivia Pope. 

It was an easy first step to get a sense of what the client liked. 

To start this process, ask yourself, who do I think always looks great?

This is like a brain dump; it can be anyone with any style. THEN, take that list and narrow it down to who you want to dress like. 

For example, I love Diane Keaton and Helena Bonham Carter. I appreciate their bold, wild, and unique style. But do I want to dress like them? No. 

Readers often tell me they get stuck here because they like everything. And I get that! 

It’s a lot like when you’re in the process of decorating your home. You can enjoy all kinds of style, but what do you want to live in? 

Can you want to live in more than one? Sure!

And that’s what makes your style unique. It’s how you combine those elements in your unique way. 

I narrowed my list down to three:

  • Gwyneth Paltrow
  • Oliva Palermo 
  • Carolina Herrera

What do they have in common? They all share a classic American style with some modern elements that feel relaxed and casual.

Who’s on your list?

create a visual

Of course, we don’t have the resources (budget, stylist, make-up artist, etc.) to dress like a celebrity every day. So we want to create a visual to help practically guide us. 

This step is by far my best, most well-received tip. We go through this process in detail in our free Wardrobe Challenge (coming back in September!).

It’s the most effective way to break down the difference between styles you appreciate and how you want to dress every day. AND it helps you build a wardrobe you love quickly and easily. 

Spend some time on Pinterest. Create a personal style board, and “pin” all the looks you like. Then, and this is important, go through them and edit down to only the ones you love.

You may have pinned all different styles. But remember, there is a difference between appreciating a style and wanting to live in it. The pins you keep should only be the ones you want to live in.

After you gather a few dozen pictures, look for cohesive elements. 

Do you prefer:

  • Pants or skirts?
  • Silver or gold?
  • Mixing prints and patterns or monochromatic?
  • Romantic or tailored pieces?
  • What colors show up over and again?

You’ll quickly discover there is a thread of commonality within the looks you keep. 

Having clarity around your preferences is the first step in understanding your style and making better choices going forward.

Once your board is together, use it as a guide while shopping. Before you make a purchase, ask yourself if that piece will help you create the look you are going for. 

Purge

Armed with your Pinterest board, do a quick edit purging everything in your current wardrobe that doesn’t get you to your ultimate style goal.

Quite literally, stand in your closet with your Pinterest board open and see if your current wardrobe is a reflection of it.

Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t. That’s generally the takeaway.

Follow our tips on how to organize your closet in 60 minutes.

Be ruthless. You’ll feel lighter when you get rid of items you don’t like, need, or use.

Pick a Few Signature Pieces

As you look at your favorite styles, try to determine the pieces that keep showing up.

For me, my signature pieces ended up being dark skinny jeans, an animal print flat or bag, a crisp button-down, white tee shirts, a tan boot, and better jewelry and, for work, sleek dresses and neutral-to-me pumps.

These pieces work as an anchor for your style. They are the items you can always count on to ensure your outfit “looks like you.”

Follow the Rule of Three

One of the reasons your wardrobes and style goes off the rails is that we don’t put the proper time and strategy into shopping. We need to be intentional about what we bring into our closet. 

A simple tip to follow when building your wardrobe is only to buy something you can wear three different ways.

The pieces that meet this criterion are what should be your core wardrobe pieces. These will help define your personal style and make it easier to get dressed.

Of course, you’ll buy items that you can’t wear three ways, but they should be few and far between. 

Trust your Instincts

As you move through discovering your style, you’ll start to feel more confident in your choices. It’s essential to trust your instincts.

Don’t talk yourself into a purchase you’re not thrilled to make.

Stop wear something because someone told you to.

Avoid buying something just because it’s on sale.

The process of building a wardrobe takes time. Try not to feel overwhelmed by everything you might need. Write a list of what you could use to pull some outfits together and only purchase from that list.


Our Style Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please  follow on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.


 

 

What to Buy at Banana Republic’s Black Friday Sale

What to Buy at Banana Republic

Our last stop in our What to Buy at series, is Banana Republic. For their Black Friday sale everything is 50% off so you can stock up on some readers favorites like this silk and cashmere sweater that’s under $30. or these always popular cargo joggers in regular and petite sizes.

Today, I gathered up a few items that feel different. Not the same old basic but rather pieces that will elevated the simplest moment without busting your budget this holiday. 

 

What to Buy at Banana Republics Black Friday Sale

What to Buy at Banana Republic

Once again, sale items this year are flying off the shelf because they started with limited inventory.

Ombre Sweater

Banana Republic tan ombre sweater

Ombre Sweater, $55  

You have a choice of two gorgeous colors options for this sweater, the Ivory (above) and Black. For the Ivory pair with dark jeans or grey bottoms, and wear the Black ombre with your favorite black pants for an elegant look. Available in XXS – XXL. You’ll be able to wear this during the holidays and all winter long. 

Pajama Set

Banana Republic zebra satin pajama set

Pajama Set, $55 

If you plan on spending a day, or a few days, hanging around your house over the holidays, why not make it glamorous? Turn on the fire and sip a mimosa while the kids run wild around you and imagine you’re someplace actually relaxing. I ordered these in the Zebra (above); there is also a pretty navy option in XXS – XXL. These would make a lovely gift too. 

Scuba-Knit Set

 

Banana Republic Scuba Knit Set

Scuba Knit Set: Sweatshirt, $29.75 and Pants, $34.75 

In recent weeks my loungewear has taken a nosedive. To say I need a few fresh pieces is putting it kindly. (What I need a spa day to get plucked, waxed, and painted back to my usual self). For now, an updated sweatsuit will have to do and I love this polished set. It’s available in regular and petite, in XXS – XXL. Buy each piece separately,Sweatshirt, $29.75 and Pants, $34.75 , but wear together or mix and match with other casual pieces.

Waffle-Knit Sweatshirt

Banana Republic Waffle Knit Sweatshirt

Waffle-Knit Sweatshirt, $29.75

One thing I learned about our readership this year is that anytime I can highlight an updated sweatshirt, it’s a winner. This one is so, so pretty with a waffle-knit texture, oversized turtleneck and full sleeves. You can wear it with everything from joggers to jeans to straight-lined pants. Comes in Blush, Ecru and Navy (above) in XXS -XXL. 

Coccoon Coat

Banana Republic Cocoon Coat

Cocoon Coat, $124.50

Sales are also a fantastic time to pick up a statement piece, like a coat. I LOVE coats. L.O.V.E.  This Coccoon coat reminds me of something from Eileen Fisher: simple, elegant with a gorgeous drape. It’s available in Grey (above) and a Cherry Red. But unlike EF, this version is about a quarter of the price. In sizes regular and petite from an XXS – XXL. 

Missed a Post?

Be sure to check out the top  sale picks from all our favorite stores below: 

What to Buy at : J. Crew Factory, Boden, LOFT, and Nordstrom 


Our Style Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

What to Buy at Nordstrom’s Cyber Sale

What to Buy at Nordstrom's Black Friday Sale

We’re heading to Nordstrom for today’s What to Buy at.

Nordstrom starts their Holiday sales early this year, with a week-long Cyber event featuring discounts up to 50%. I spent a few hours going through their inventory. There are hundreds of pages of things you truly don’t need, like a spaghetti strap party dress or another floor-length cardigan.

Even I was getting bored, so I started searching specifically for pieces I know you’re looking for, like winter layers, coats and cold weather shoes. 

What I found is a short list of  some of our favorite brands that will help you get out the door if you live in an area already in a wintery mix. 

What to Buy at Nordstrom for Cyber Week

 

What to Buy at Nordstrom's Black Friday Sale

Please keep in mind because these are deeply discounted, they will sell out quickly. 

Novelty Sweater

Green Bobble Ribbed Sweater

 

Bobble Ribbed Sweater, $50  

Typically, I pick up a few seasonal sweaters this time of year to perk up my standard jean and ankle boot outfits. So I ordered this sweet sweater (in Kelly Green, above) to wear either the night we pile in the car to buy the tree or the night at home we decorate it. It’s under $50, and comes in six colors in sizes XXS – XXL. 

Winter Coat

Down & Feather Jacket

Down & Feather Jacket, $113 (Marked Down from $225)

This is a fantastic price on a high-quality, stylish coat that will keep you warm and dry by Cole Haan. You’re not going skiing in this, but you are running to the grocery store or taking the dog for a walk. Available in Black (above), Forrest and Mauve, in regular and petite sizes. Runs small, so size up. 

Wool Blend Coat

Orange Wool Blend Coat

Wool Blend Coat, $150 

I have a similar classic, wool-blend coat in Camel and wear it all the time. It perfectly finishes an outfit, whether you’re wearing a sheath or jeans and sneakers. This option from Sam Edelman is timeless and well priced, available in sizes 2 – 16 in four colors, including “Cayenne Orange” (above), Black, Ink, and my favorite, Camel.

Waterproof Booties

Blondo Waterproof Booties

Booties, $90

Over in our Facebook Private Group, I’ve received many requests for cold, wet weather boots, so I’m sharing two options today. First, this pair is from one of our favorite brands, Blondo. They are comfortable and look great with jeans or other casual bottoms.  They are available in Camel (above), Grey, and Black. These are waterproof boots you can wear all day, marked down by 40%. Sizes are getting limited.

Barbour Rain Jacket in Olive

Rain Jacket, $250

Another popular question I get asked is if Barbour Jackets are worth the investment, to which I say, “absolutely.” I adore them. These classic jackets are one of the few items you could have “forever.” Especially this rain jacket, available in their classic olive or navy. It’s also waterproof, lined, with a removable hood and a flattering straight length that keeps you warm and dry. Sizes are European, so they run small.

Hiking Boots

Cole Haan White Hiking Boot

Hiking Boot, $150

Finally, the last pair of boots are by Cole Haan. These boots are waterproof, shearling-lined, and have a heavy-duty rubber sole to give you traction in bad weather. Tuck your jeans into them, or wear them with your fleece leggings. I’m featuring them in White (above) because they are adorable. More practically, you can pick them up in Black or Brown. These are also selling out quickly.


Our Style Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

 

 

What to Buy at LOFT for the Holidays

What to Buy at LOFT for the holidays

Happy Monday, Ladies!

Today starts a short holiday week, and thank goodness, because my kids restarted virtual learning this morning, and I don’t know if we’re going to make it, lol. (Side note: If you are a teacher, GOD BLESS YOU.) 

With holiday shopping looking very different this year, sales are going on everywhere. I thought it would help to narrow down the best options from your favorite retailers in a week-long What to Buy at feature, starting with LOFT. 

So, I went through our last few months of analytics to find the retailers you love the most and all of your requests to pinpoint the categories I know you are looking for at the best possible prices. 

And the prices are fantastic. I don’t know what the post-COVID retail landscape is going to look like or how mainstream retail is ever going to go back to selling inventory at full-price. But for now, we can take advantage of a few deals to help fill some voids in our wardrobe. 

*Please keep in mind that inventory will sell out fast in many of these categories, and prices are subject to change. 

What to Buy at LOFT for the Holidays 

 

What to Buy at LOFT for the holidays

LOFT has grown on me over the last few seasons. It’s one of my favorite, most dependable resources. I still prefer to shop them online. I never see anything I like in the store, then I go online and order a dozen things.

Right now, there are some fabulous options, especially if you want to make a low-key holiday at home a little more special. Most items are an additional 50% off with code THEBEST.

Holiday Sparkle

 

LOFT Sequined Blouse

Sequined Top, $42 

Even if we’re spending New Years Eve on the sofa, we can still add some glamour. A sequin blouse is just the thing to pair with comfy jeans or joggers. For something a little more relaxed, I love this sequin sweater in black or taupe. 

Boutique-Style Sweater 

LOFT Flecked Sweater

Flecked Sweater, $47 

This multi-color flecked sweater reminds me of something you would find at a little boutique, or Anthropologie for much, much more. It’s unique yet easy to wear, just throw it on with dark jeans and ankle boots. It’s boxer than it looks and works well with a higher waisted bottom. Available in XXS – L. 

Fair Isle Coziness

LOFT Shimmer sweater

Shimmer Fair Isle Sweater, Under $30

This Fair Isle sweater is gorgeous with a lovely bit of shimmer. It has a pretty “shirt tail” hem so it looks finished when worn out but is thin enough to tuck in (or half-tuck). Wear it with jeans, or a skirt with high boots. Available in regular, petite, and plus from a XXS – 24/26. 

 

Holiday Jammies

 

LOFT plaid pajamas

Plaid Pajamas Top, $21 and Pants, $24 

Long time readers know my affection for holiday pajamas. While I don’t go as  far as to make my entire family match, we all love wearing them all season long. These are adorable, available in regular, petite and plus. Note, the bottoms are suppose to be cropped. 

Top Pick! A $40 Moto 

LOFT Faux Suede Moto

Faux Suede Moto, $42

Are you thinking about finally trying a moto jacket? Give this one a try, marked down from $130 to just over $40, in regular and plus sizes. Available in plum (above ) and tan. I just ordered the tan option to wear with black pants or dark jeans. This is the kind of piece you can wear now, and well into the Spring when life (please God, fingers-crossed) is back to normal.

Best-Selling Joggers

LOFT green drawstring joggers

Drawstring Joggers, $79.50 

The go-to pants of the year are joggers and these are relaxed with a bit of structure. Available in moss (above) and dark grey, in XXS – XXL. 


Our Style Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.