Summer relaxed style on a budget. (Yes, it is possible.)

Nikki ParkinsonFashion 55 Comments

Have you walked into a discount department store lately?  And looked, really looked, at what fashion options are on offer?

I put the “really looked” in there because, from experience when working with clients, you need to do this if you’re determined to find budget fashion pieces that actually look anything but the price showing on the price tag.

Because you are looking in a large store with a huge amount of stock on the floor, it is a case of taking your time and working through each rack until you find the handful of gems that will make you feel super smug next time someone asks you, “where did you get that?”.

I work with clients on all budgets so was excited to hear (and see) Big W’s new fashion brand, Emerson.

Yep, Big W.

Emerson slub henley tee in Microstripe $14.98; belted chino crop $29.94 (navy in store end of September, colours may vary by store); white plimsoll Shoe $5.96

Emerson slub henley tee in Microstripe $14.98; belted chino crop $29.94 (navy in store end of September, colours may vary by store)

What Big W says:

Emerson’s knows fashion and they’ve designed a range that mixes quality essentials with classic looks so you can mix and match to make it your own. They’ve taken the colours of the season: blues, watermelons, greys, corals, whites and imagined them in a resort setting. The end result is a stunning blend of one-shot colour, feminine florals, nautical-like stripes and indispensable easy-wear basics. It’s easy to put this piece with that or that piece with this for a relaxed, yet oh-so-stylish look.

What I say:

Emerson, you had me at your on-trend shoes for under $40!  What I really like is that you’ve taken a sector of the market – young, busy mums – and given them an affordable option for updating their wardrobe on a budget. I mentioned those shoes … well, nothing in the entire range is priced over $40.  That’s a huge win.  Take these separates or either dress below, add a few killer accessories or a summer scarf and you have a summer look that will turn plenty of heads.  My two rules of buying clothes still apply: each piece has to fit and flatter you. AND you have to love it.  If you don’t find yourself in the change room seeing a spark in your eyes reflected back at you, walk away from purchase and look for something else.  Sizing is 8-16 but Big W also has a new size 16 and up range, Avella, which I mentioned here, that’s definitely worth checking out too.

Emerson at Big W

1. Stripe dress $19.93 | 2. Ruched sleeve top $24.97 | 3. Linen cap sleeve dress $34.96 | 4. Heels $34.96 | 5. Flare skirt $24.97 | 6. Heels $39.92

Have you discovered Emerson at Big W as yet?  What’s the best bargain find you’ve discovered recently?  And how hot are those shoes? 

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Comments 55

  1. I bought a couple of pairs of Emerson pull on pants last year, they were fantastic, fit really well no bulges where you do not want them. Unfortunately when I went back to buy some more they did not have exactly the same ones. There are some that look like them but when you try them on they do not fit well and the material is not so nice. I am desperate for some more as mine are getting shaby due to over wear. I do have the keycode 8246847. Hope Emerson make this style again, I will buy at least 6 pairs to be sure I have some to keep me going. Would it do any good contacting Emerson direct to see if they will be making any more of these?

  2. Yesterday I tried on Emerson highrise bootcut jeans and they made me look soo skinny! Im tall and a weird shape so normally I have to soend hours trailing the shops for a decent pair of Jeans most of the time they dont fit right because I have to get them a size bigger for the length but I slipped right into a pair of size 12’s not only were they a beautiful indigo color they also fit perfectly! And they reach down past my ankles woop woop! I eneded up trying on almost everything and ended up putting 200bks of emerson clothes on layby, snapped myself up a beautiful indigo trench coast as well for 39bks bargain! As a single paren low income earnert I needed Emerson!

  3. I know both tops won’t be in my wardrobe for the long haul, but they’re the perfect addition to a few of my existing pieces and a cheap injection of colour to my summer wardrobe. UNBELIEVABLE. Thanks Nikki, great range for us on a smaller budget. Saw similar in Trenery for $200, and not as good a cut.

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  4. I really like it too, had a look yesterday and bought the no-sleeves version of the linen dress. My only gripe is the sizing – it’s erratic. I’m a size 8 and some of the items were really big, more like a size 12. And the shoes are SO cute but size 6 was the smallest and it’s a big size 6. Fantastic value though, well done Big W.

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  5. Thanks Nikki, great range for us on a smaller budget. I LOVE the linen dress. I must added it to my wardrobe. Still can’t believe the price!

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  6. I went in looking for the Peter M. Stuff. Big W just make it so hard to find anything. I need to start the dreaded toy Christmas shopping so will be in there again soon, hopefully there is something left other than the dregs from last season.

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  7. My sister is a fashion designer and she used to work for a company that designed the leisurewear and knits for BigW. She was often frustated but how badly merchandised things were in store because a lot of work had gone into creating several pieces that all worked together. Taking her shopping with me meant I bought some fantastic stuff at Big W. It only lasted a season but at those prices it still felt like I was buying well and then, the following year I could buy again and look up to date. Loved it!

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  8. As my style is usually “BARGAIN”, I will be checking this out and seeing how I can funkify it up into my usual look. Thanks for the tip! (Oh and I saw today that Coles will begin selling clothes and accessories next month… crazy!)

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  9. Thanks for this tip Nikki, I shall check it out. Amazing prices.

    Lately I’ve found some bargains at Cotton On. They seem to always have their simple tops (short & long sleeve) on sale, and if you keep checking you can find awesome pieces which can serve as the “base” of an outfit (under blazer etc). Got a striped boat-neck for $5, not bad.

    Oh. One other thing. They have black and navy blazers for $50, lovely cotton on outside and stripey lined inside so you can roll the sleeves up and show it off. Saw similar in Trenery for $200, and not as good a cut.

    P.S. Anybody after a Leona Edmiston dress for $60??!! Check out her website sale – Talina Tie in red (last time I checked it was available in all sizes). I just received mine in the mail and it’s GORGEOUS. Now I don’t feel so bad about paying full price for a Yummie Tummie slip to go under it.

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  10. Wow I purchased the Emerson slub henley tee in Microstripe $14.98 on Saturday, I can’t say I look as good as the model above but I do feel nice in it! I think I will have to go back to get the belt and check the white dress out as I missed that one! Thanks for this Nikki. 🙂

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  11. I haven’t been in to Big W for years, I have to go a bit out of my way to get to one, but I think I’ll make the effort to go there now.
    I have been looking, really looking in target lately, and have picked up some great pieces for next to nothing. Great for work.

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  12. Nikki, you’re brilliant! I actually was looking at the pants yesterday, until mr 13 dragged me away with the cry of You don’t need anything mum!! Will just have to go back when he’s not around!

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  13. I bought two very on trend pieces at Dotti yesterday for under $100. Both pieces were styles I had seen at more expensive chain stores and high end Australian designers. I know both tops won’t be in my wardrobe for the long haul, but they’re the perfect addition to a few of my existing pieces and a cheap injection of colour to my summer wardrobe.

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  14. I’ve been really impressed with the Emerson range, I bought a very on-trend coral, navy and white boat-neck tee for $14.97, and a pair of white 3/4 chinos for $16.97. Such a great price-point, for really very well-made clothes.
    I’ve also been impressed with Target this season, I’ve found a couple of great t-shirt and tank dresses for under $25, which means that I can buy a couple, instead of just one from somewhere pricier like Country Road, Witchery or French Connection!
    I’ve been asked where I got them, and I’m a bit sneaky, I’ve not told people, because I don’t want everyone to find the amazing bargains and wear the same dresses as me! Naughty Katy!

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  15. What? That dress is under $20? Love! I have always mixed and matched brands with discount department stores. Maternity leave and two kids in quick succession did that! Today I have on Target thongs with a black maxi skirt from Kmart, Witchery singlet and Country Road scarf. Tis my dirty, little secret!

    Speaking of secrets, our local Coles has had a boarded up no go zone – they’re about to launch the Coles fashion line. I saw the media launch a month or so ago, so looking forward to seeing what they’ve got. Sausages and skirts. Sugar and shirts. Who knew?

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  16. Really impressed by the emerson range. I got a pair of red and white nautical stripe flats for under $10 from the range. Love the black skirt too but i worry i would look like i was going to work.
    Kmart has a great range of basic singlets and tops for $5 great for summer!

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