Style and beauty don’t have to be expensive. With the right approach, you can enjoy a wardrobe full of the right dresses, blouses, sweaters, and jackets — as well as a vanity full of the right makeup and cosmetic products — without breaking the bank.
Beauty the Easy Way
Let’s get this out of the way: You don’t need to be a fashionista to own great skirts and sweaters, assemble great outfits, and stroll out of your home every day feeling your best and most beautiful. And you don’t have to graduate from cosmetology school to pick out the perfect blush or lipstick, either. In fact, mastering a little bit of practical fashion and cosmetology can be surprisingly easy. (Maybe you’ll end up wanting to go to cosmetology school after all! Just because the basics are easy to understand doesn’t mean there’s not a world of cosmetology techniques and products to learn about through a great local cosmetology program.)
Cosmetology programs are great ways to learn how to apply cosmetology knowledge to all kinds of situations for all kinds of individuals, but you don’t need a cosmetology license to master the art of cosmetics for one person: you! Building your own makeup kit is all about figuring out what skin type you have, matching colors and tones, and then applying that basic knowledge about yourself to the purchases you make. Again, it’s not exactly rocket science — or cosmetology school.
Style Can Be Easy, Too
When it comes to fashion, a few things are essential. The most important part is innately understanding how certain styles fit. Different cuts, fabrics, and fits work better on different body types, so figure out which body type you have and dress for it!
Knowing what tones go with your complexion, hair color, and eyes will help you choose colors in clothing, too. In fashion, dressing well is all about knowing what does (and what doesn’t) flatter your natural beauty.
Where to Shop, and When
Knowing what colors and fits work best for you is a great start. But you don’t just want to look your best — you want to stay within your budget while doing it, too. With that in mind, be smart about where you shop.
If you live in the United States, then you’re lucky enough to have access to a wide range of stores in different budget categories. Look for a great source of clothes that fit you well. Different brands and outlets have different cuts, so try to get a sense of which stories work for you — and which ones don’t. The same goes for cosmetics, of course.
It’s not just where you shop. When you shop matters, too. You can up your style game with a few great new arrivals, but don’t buy all your shirts, sweaters, and accessories in that new arrivals department. Instead, look for chances to grab things off-season and on sale. Sale sweaters abound when the weather turns warm, and even bestsellers can go on sale. When the season (and the sleeve lengths) change, look for your last chance sales and off-season discounts. That big sweater sale in the summer might just land you the sweater that you’ll wear every fall and winter for years to come.
Building a long-term style strategy
Off-season shopping doesn’t always work, because sometimes styles of clothing and accessories (and even cosmetics) go out of style. Each new season or school year could mean a whole new look. But it doesn’t always have to. In fact, smart and stylish folks make sure that they root their wardrobe in well-fitting clothes in timeless fabrics and styles.
Staples like the “little black dress” or a simple, sensible white blouse or power suit for your best professional work outfit can help anchor your wardrobe and keep fleeting styles from making your savings just as fleeting. Remember, changing fashion isn’t just a reflection of new ideas and better solutions; it’s also a business model for retailers. Don’t get suckered in. Complement your basics and your classics with the latest and greatest new arrivals, and be smart about which pieces you spend big on. Make sure that a piece will last — both in the sense of avoiding ripped fabric and in the sense of fashion trends — before you plunk down more cash than you’d normally spend. If you’re strategic, you’ll find that you can make limited spending last for a much less limited time.