Stylish On Any Budget

Stylish On Any Budget


Do you ever get bored with your wardrobe? Do you feel your choice is restricted due to a tight budget?

Through a country styling shoot, I wanted to demonstrate that you can afford to look and be stylish if you know where and how to look for the right pieces.

The models wore a mix of garments and accessories sourced direct from designers, as well as consignment, vintage and op shops.

So how to go about it? Read on.

Know what styles look good on you and your body shape. While a stylist/image consultant can help, think what parts of your body you want to accentuate and what you’d like to disguise – does the outfit achieve that? Does it feel right? If not, try something else. Note: you need to try the garments on!

stylish on any budget

Scarf, earrings and cuff from op shop; Dangerfield dress from consignment boutique

If you’re not sure of the colour of the garment, do a blink test or ask someone else to do it for you – close then open your eyes…is the first thing you see the colour or you? If it’s the colour, it’s wearing you. People should notice you, not the garment so try something else!


Dress, gold bangles from op shop; stone bracelet from vintage fair; Country Road belt stylist’s own

Look for quality in fabric and cut. If the fabric’s cheap, the stitching has come apart, the colour is faded, the cut is bad….it’s not worth it no matter how much you think it’s a bargain – it won’t be flattering. If the garment’s made from quality fabric but has some minor flaws that can be fixed or may not fit properly, take it to a tailor if you love it.

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Brown necklaces from op shop and African boutique; dress from Bohemian Traders; hat and boots model’s own

Be imaginative: can you customise an item that catches your eye? Can it be dyed, modified and modernised, can the shoes be painted another colour? Can a button down dress with a great print be changed into a jacket? Can the sleeves from a long jacket be removed to create a stylish sleeveless vest? Can a long jacket be worn as a dress? Can you change the buttons on a garment? Why not distress jeans yourself instead paying a fortune for a pair? (tip: use scissors and grater) Look at magazines and blogs for some inspo.

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Dress and cuff from op shop

Be open-minded: a garment may look ordinary on the coat hanger but could look fabulous on.

Get to know fashion, brands, the latest styles so you know what to look for. But be mindful to ensure the style/trend suits you. Bring along pics or make a Pinterest board of styles you love that can help guide you in finding the pieces you’re after.

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Gown and heels from op shop (note: pic taken just as it started to rain)

Allow yourself plenty of time to search the racks to find hidden gems. Op shop volunteers are often too busy to keep clothing orderly all of the time. Check the children’s and men’s racks as someone may have misplaced the perfect garment in there.

Don’t forget to look at the accessories – there are many hidden gems waiting to be found.


Straw bag from op shop; ring model’s own.

If you’re looking for something, keep going back as you can never predict when that longed-for item will be disregarded and donated by someone. Also let the op shop volunteers know; they are often very willing to help.

Act now, think ahead – if you love the item, grab it or don’t leave it there too long and risk the disappointment of it being snatched up by someone else. If you see a great winter coat and it’s in the middle of summer, grab it anyway and the cold months will come in no time! Think how smug and stylish you’ll be at little cost!

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Dress and cuff from op shop; earrings model’s own

Go shopping mid-week when volunteers have had time to sort through new items donated over the weekend – it’ll also be quieter so you can peruse more.

Support op shops and the volunteers – by donating, you’re helping them to raise money to support many great causes in your local community.

I’d love to hear about your op shop treasures. Happy to answer any styling questions.