Whether it’s a weakness for great shoes that stretches your budget thin—or a tendency toward “retail therapy” solutions—there’s no denying that funding a serious fashion habit can become a full time job.
That’s where budget-savvy style bloggers like Patrice J. Williams of Looking Fly on a Dime come in, sharing expert tips and tricks for beauty, fashion and fabulous home decor for less.
We caught up with Patrice for inside advice on staying stylish in any season, without blowing your savings.
Smarty Cents: What inspired you to develop Looking Fly on a Dime?
Patrice J. Williams: I’ve always done everything on a budget and been into thrift and vintage shopping for about 10 years. But the push to start the blog came after getting laid off from my job at a fashion magazine. It was the perfect opportunity to create a space for women who love fashion, but have a limited budget.
SC: How would you describe your personal philosophy on style?
PJW: Style should be about individuality and wearing what works for your lifestyle and body type. Magazines and blogs are great for inspiration and can help you step out of your comfort zone. But it all comes down to translating any garment or trend to showcase who you are, and that’s something that a magazine can’t tell you.
SC: Warmer temps are finally here! What are your essential tips for transitioning your wardrobe into a new season—without blowing your budget?
PJW: Transitioning is really just about buying a few key pieces and reworking garments, compared to buying an entirely new wardrobe. Swap out your closed toe boots for a bootie. Rock a summer dress with a cardigan over it or a fitted shirt under it. Also, since it’s not too cold or really warm, layers are great for spring. A few thin cardigans, fitted tops and oversized sweaters will go a long way for the season.
SC: What is your essential rule (or rules) for style on a budget?
PJW: Invest in classics and save on trends and basic pieces. Trench coats, patent pumps, statement bags, etc are worth investing in, while overly trendy clothes and accessories can be found at affordable retailers like Target, Kohl’s and TJ Maxx. If you want to save even more on the classics that will be in your closet forever, hit the thrift stores. They always have the essentials for just a few bucks.
SC: They say fashion is temporary; style is forever. Do you have any favorite ways to repurpose trendy pieces so they continue to work for you as trends evolve?
PJW: I never spend much on overly trendy pieces so if they no longer work, I’m not upset about donating them or having a clothing swap with friends. But when I want to make a trend less trendy, I’ll pair it with a classic garment to really anchor it so the look isn’t so dated.
SC: What’s a good rule of thumb for cleaning out your closet and getting rid of old items? Do you have any tips for selling old items for extra cash?
PJW: My one rule: If you haven’t worn it all season, toss it. If you can make it an entire season without wearing the item, you don’t really love it or maybe it just no longer fits your style, which is completely fine.
SC: Where do you turn for style inspiration?
PJW: I take in inspiration everywhere, from magazines (my faves are People, StyleWatch and Glamour), blogs (Fashion Bomb and Cupcakes and Cashmere) and women on the street. Living in NYC offers an eclectic mix of styles, from super edgy and over the top to the preppiest preps.
SC: What are your personal favorite resources for affordable clothing, accessories and beauty products?
PJW: I referenced a few above (Target, Kohl’s, TJ Maxx and thrift stores).
Most of my beauty purchases come from Sephora. Besides having speedy delivery, the deluxe samples let me experiment with new products without investing in them until I know if they’re worth my time and money.
I love H&M for accessories. You can always find a statement necklace for less than $15 and when they’re having a sale, the prices can be as low as $3.
For shoes, I’m a huge DSW fan. The selection ranges from designer to affordable and they always have coupons, which you can combine. If you follow them on Twitter, they even giveaway 10 pairs of shoes every Friday.
For clothes, I’m always partial to thrift stores. Besides killer prices, you can find wardrobe staples and unique pieces that really help you stand out from the crowd. I even started a Thrifty Threads 365 challenge on my blog.
For a year, I can’t spend money on any new clothes and accessories, I can only thrift. This is my third time doing the challenge and I love showing people first hand that secondhand shops can provide all of your style needs.