Budget style: create a new winter look for under $250

Nikki Parkinson Life 24 Comments

Whenever I’m not blogging, I’m found at the shops.  Working.  Yes, my other day job is as a personal stylist.   I actually consider it a privilege when someone contacts and books me to help them get back on their style track.

Digging into someone’s wardrobe really is PERSONAL.  We carry a lot of baggage around with our clothes and often our clothes can be a bit of a stumbling block to looking and feeling our best.

(As an aside, I’d happily carry around my baggage in one of these Thursday Friday bags below.)

Thursday Friday bags $59 each. Known as the anti-statement bags, this is probably as close I'll ever come to carrying a Birkin shopping. www.miijo.com

So every time I work with someone new, it’s really like sitting down to start a 1000-piece jigsaw.  I start around the edges and work my way in to discover what’s really going to work to make this person feel nothing short of a amazeballs.

Yesterday, new client Sandra set me a challenge.  (And boy, oh boy, do I LOVE a challenge)

As a mum of four, the 33-year-old hasn’t had a lot of time for herself lately.  When she’s not caring for her own children, she’s working in childcare.  Busy and on a budget.

I ask the budget question with each of my clients because I believe real change CAN be made on any budget (once I edited a wardrobe and came up with 12 different outfits for a client from her existing pieces; the only new thing she had to buy was a pair of black heels because her existing ones had broken).

So what was Sandra’s budget?

$250.

Yep, you read correctly.  My eyes lit up immediately.  This was SO possible.

Yes, you have to sift through the racks in discount department stores with more of a keen eye but with a bit of time and effort, it will pay off.  And it did.

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Where we shopped

Target:  Khaki draped long vest, necklace and black long-sleeve top.  Total:  $71.20

Just JeansLevis Demi Curve ID boot rinse jean; black belt.  Total:  $149.90

Kmart:  Black pointed-toe flats.  Total: $20

GRAND TOTAL:  $241.10

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What we learned

1.  Adding a layer and an accessory to a casual outfit can create a huge impact.

2.  If you can fit more than two fingers into the waistband of your jeans they are going to be saggy and baggy by the end of the day.  If in doubt do a series of lunges down the change-room hallway and you’ll soon find out how easily they stretch.

3.  If your hips and thighs are your wide point, than be careful of colour blocking that area.  Break it up with a belt.  It’s all about creating an illusion.

4.  Extend the line of your leg with a pointed-toe flat.

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Have you created a style challenge for yourself lately?  I’d love to know.  And remember if you ever want to have me on tap for style advice and direction, you can sign up to become a member here.

Comments 24

  1. Cudo to you! Fab outfit.

    You cant go past Target and Kmart when shopping for basics and not willing spend a fortune. 🙂

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  2. Yes, what a difference! The necklace really makes it special. I love the layered look with the scarf but always avoid it myself because it makes me feel too frou frou. I suppose we all want to look stylish without looking like we’ve tried to hard….

    You definitely nailed that here:) Thanks for sharing the story Nikki:)

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  3. I grabbed a pair of Trenery jeans off the $9.95 rack at my local CR this week… then got to counter to find it was another 40% off, so they cost me, ahem, $6 !!!

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      1. Haha…maybe if/when it goes on sale. Morrison are actually having an online sale at the moment, bought draped t-shirt style dress for $59. Check out their eboutique if you don’t already know about it!
        (and I am in no way associated with Morrison, just love to buy it!)

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          Don’t worry, I’m as big a fan of Morrison and yes, I’ve been known to stalk their eboutique! Also, lucky to have a great boutique here that stocks them. Tried on the leather jacket in butter colour the other day and just about cried. Because it was so gorgeous and so not going to happen!!

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  4. I have been loving target and kmart for my Mummy wardrobe this last year. But the kmart shoes are a big dodgy for me, they barely last a few outings…of course being so cheap you could go back and get more.

    Last year in the target sale I got 4 pairs of jeans for ten bucks each. Now if only they would do a decent work suit.

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      Kmart shoes can be a bit hit and miss. A couple of years ago I picked up some great leather wedge sandals that are still serving me well.

      That’s a great bargain on the jeans. Yesterday, the jean selection at Target didn’t offer the perfect style for my client. I had to do a lot of sifting through the racks (past all the skinny flares … really, no-one wants to buy them? who’d have thought?) to find a few pairs left to try on. They didn’t work as well as the Levis did on this particular occasion.

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