5 Ways to Cut Your Clothing Budget in Half

5 Ways to Cut Your Clothing Budget in Half trying on shoes at store

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Cutting your clothing budget down is something that many of us are faced with when our discretionary spending takes a hit. (I definitely have had to in the past!) Whether it’s a job loss or life circumstance change, a re-shifting in our priorities, or even a forced statewide stay-at-home order, there are times when we need to take measures to tighten up our finances. The clothing budget is often one of the first places to find some wiggle room, but there is still a way to get the clothes you need for HALF (or less) of what you are currently spending. When times are tough, here are 5 painless ways to cut your clothing budget in half:

How to Cut Your Clothing Budget in Half

1. Do a clothing swap with friends, family, or neighbors

Right now many people are unable to sell their extra clothes, as garage sales and other outlets have dried up (though I’m still having some luck on Poshmark – get $10 when you sign up using my referral code CARLYJCAIS). A great way to increase your wardrobe options and help others get rid of their unwanted items is to organize a clothing swap amongst friends, neighbors, or family members (who are not ill or immuno-compromised). You can have everyone drop off a bag of unwanted items at a location at a designated time, lay out the items, and have people return to look through what’s available (in small groups or in staggered times to be safe). Observe social distancing and group gathering protocols, or even snap photos of the items and share them to the group. Decide what you will do with unwanted items and you have yourself a clothing swap!

Also: Here’s a great article about treating clothes that may have coronavirus on them, and how to be safe handling them. (There’s still a lot we don’t know though experts say the risk of contamination is low.) A good precaution is to wear gloves when handling someone else’s clothing, and

2. Shop at thrift stores and used clothing shops instead of buying new

Deemed essential businesses in many states, many thrift stores and used clothing stores are still open to the public (though many have suspended taking in new donations at this time). As stores reopen, do your part to shop (still being careful of course). So many of the raw materials for my shirt makeovers have come from the local Goodwill! (Goodwill is my absolute favorite thrift store hands-down, partially because of their global supply chain and that they ensure every donated piece of clothing is not wasted. It completely blew my mind when I researched how extensive their organization is and the amazing things they do. Check out my article on Goodwill’s ability to keep clothing out of the landfill and their sustainable practices for more information.)

3. Style your pieces differently to create a whole new look

Sometimes it just takes fresh eyes to breathe new life into your wardrobe – which is why it can be fun to share outfit ideas with a friend remotely. But if you’re looking for styling ideas by yourself, you can always search on Pinterest for the specific piece you have in your closest that you want to style differently (“striped shirt” or “outfit ideas” for example). I also keep a ton of old clippings from magazines – cool pieces, clothing I’d love to make, DIY ideas for this site…as well as whole outfits. One source of inspiration that I love is The Uniform Project – even though it’s more than a decade old now – because Sheena Matheiken’s sense of style and different ideas she came up with for that little black dress were amazing and so versatile! It always starts me thinking about similar pieces I have in my closet – and the cool stuff I could do with them that are a little outside my normal go-to.

4. Purchase just the tops

With the proliferation of Zoom and online meetings as a part of everyday life, many of us are having to appear on camera…but only from the waist up. A great way to keep costs down is to only purchase from the waist up! Instead of a whole dress, buy a top only (and wear sweatpants below…shh! no one will know!). A pretty pair of earrings or nice necklace and you’re done – for only a fraction of the cost of your normal shopping budget.

5. DIY and makeover clothing you already have!

Of course, this one is nearest and dearest to my heart! You can find hundreds of tutorials for clothing makeovers on my site, the DIY Men’s Shirt Makeovers System, or on Pinterest. Refashioning, upcycling, and giving clothing a new life is what allows your closet to survive fashion trends, and ensures you squeeze every last drop of usefulness out of your wardrobe. Hope to see your DIY projects – with your own personal stamp on them – soon!



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How to Create a High-End Look on a Low Budget with Stylist Amia Serrano

chiconthecheap_aliceoliviaAmia Serrano is a noted fashion stylist who has styled photo shoots and editorials for numerous magazines, lookbooks, and websites, and is able to make the most mundane items sing by pairing high-priced with affordable finds. She is guest-posting today to offer her tips for getting a designer-inspired look-for-less just in time for Summer. Take it away, Amia!


Hi Chic Steals readers! My name is Amia Serrano and I’m so eager to share my great finds for you. Enjoy!

Many designer looks walk down the runway, leaving audience members and online viewers in awe, but these are already known to have a hefty price tag attached.

As a fashion stylist I often work to re-create designer-style looks, but on a real-world budget. Today I’m here to show you how to style a designer-inspired look from Alice + Olivia’s S/S 2013 Collection without breaking the bank. It mixes pops of bright color and on-trend florals: the perfect match for a Spring-meets-Summer ensemble.

Here are some affordable yet chic pieces to re-create the Alice + Olivia look for a fraction of the cost:
chiconthecheap_aliceoliviaRhinestone Cluster Stud Earrings – No need to over accessorize, so keep it subtle with these everyday studs.

Merona Women’s Trench Coat – A colored trench is a perfect way to add a pop of color to any look, especially for gloomy rainy weather.

Camellia on Club Ivory Floral Print Romper – This versatile floral dress can be worn casually or for a night out on the town.

Studded Faux Leather Wristlet – The studs outlining this handbag keeps the edge going, allowing the whole look to flow.

Embellished Spike Heels – Spikes are trending and pairing these edgy beauties with an overall feminine look goes perfectly.

This fun ensemble will take you from a a Spring day of shopping or to a fun Summer girls’ night out!

Until the next post, take advantage of this one and please do share what you find and come up with. I’d love to see them!


Thanks Amia! It was wonderful having you here. Don’t forget to leave a comment, lovely readers – did you like this feature? Want to see more Chic on the Cheap from Amia? Let me know below!!



cache_711097404 Fashion Stylist Amia Serrano has styled photo shoots and magazine editorials for publications such as Open Lab Magazine, Relapse Magazine, and Bridal Tribe Magazine. She has also worked with recording artist Mashonda to style the inaugural video of her video series #LifeStyleHer for GlobalGind.com, and Hemma Collection’s New York Fashion Week show. Working with brands such as Rehna Pendse, joe Dahan’s Seduka Jeans, and GET NYCE Clothing, her philosophy is to find great style using the resources you have.  Check her out here:

Website  /  Instagram  /  Twitter

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Winter Wishlist Under $80: Warm and Cozy Creature Comforts Holiday Gift Guide

Oh the weather outside is frightful…but I’ve got a shopping list chock-full of comforting picks for the holidays.  A veritable shopping stew, if you will, with offerings that will thaw even the most frigid Scrooge’s heart.  A little bit utilitarian, a little bit vintage/outdoorsy, here’s a grouping of gifts with a hefty dose of tongue-in-chic humor.  (And everything’s under $80!)

1. Sweep Me Off My Feet Sweater Cardi, $54.99
2. Crystal Garden Wish Flower, $14
3. Kimchi Blue Cummerbund Short, $34.99
4. Triple Thrill Belt, $69.99 
5. Cupcake Beanie, $30
6. Puckered Salutation Scarf, $32
7. Alternative Apparel Large Collar Jacket, $80
8. Jeweler’s Bronze Whitetail Deer Antler Ring, $55
9. Nostalgic Fireplace Decoration, $16.99
10. Blowfish Jasper Boots in Taupe, $79


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LuShae Jewelry: Affordable, Pretty, and oh-so-Sparkly!

When it comes to online shopping for budget-friendly sparkly jewelry (wedding bands, engagement bands, promise rings. etc.) there’s a lot out there – and it’s expensive!  When I heard about LuShae Jewelry I was not only impressed with the prices on their website, but I was also intrigued as to whether the actual pieces were as quality as the descriptions.

I was first shocked at how quickly the package arrived (from Australia, no less!); I ordered it on a Thursday evening, and received it Monday in the mail.  (And this was choosing the “regular shipping” option at checkout!  I’m also on the U.S. West Coast, for reference purposes.;-)

Secondly, what was in the shipping box was a beautiful canvas-covered navy-and-cream buttoned jewelry box – a jewelry box design I’ve never come across before (and I have jewelry-makers’ supply catalogs from just about everywhere).  It wasn’t too frou-frou (it could work as a gift box for a woman or a man), but it wasn’t cheapy either.

Thirdly, I was impressed with the quality of the ring within.  Sure, the photo looked nice on the website but you never really know.   The silver was beautiful and bright, and the stones were clear and pure in their colors.  Here is the ring I chose from their site:

Isn’t it incredible?  (CZ Sculpture ring, $69)

Now, the offerings on the site are probably more geaered to the classicist – they offer some very classic, tasteful designs that are likely to withstand the test of time.  [On another note, I was also interested in the wedding band replacements they offered since mine and Hub’s wedding bands, which are Cartier and made of platinum, are scratched unbelievably.  Open a door?  It gets scratched.  Pick up my chain-handled bag?  Scratched?  Do the dishes?  Scratched.  I had no idea platinum was so soft – it’s like buttah.  And my Tiffany’s sterling silver engagement ring has also suffered the same fate.  I have had them proessionally polished multiple tmes – and they just end up a mess of scratches almost immediately after.  Thus I rarely wear my wedding/engagement rings, and since our 10th anniversary since we met is coming up, we were thinking of replacing them with something that won’t scratch and look so messy.  So if you are in the same situation, and don’t want to wear your real wedding band every day (perhaps it’s extremely precious; could get lost or damaged etc.) then LuShae has some great options in stainless steel, like this 2mm Gold Band.

Even though I had a hard time choosing from the jewelry on their website since so much of it is classic (and I’m not really a classic gal, to tell the truth), I was taken with this Rhodium-finish ring, with its bars of jonquil, light amethyst, and peridot CZ.  I have honestly never seen a design like this, with alternating gemstone bars at different angles.  It’s lovely, bright, springy, and oh so unusual.

If you are in the market for sparkly, affordable jewelry (that’s far more quality than what you can find at the mall) – definitely check out LuShae Jewelry and browse through their rings, earrings, and necklaces to see if anything captures your fancy.:-)


I was gifted a piece of my choice from LuShae Jewelry – see my disclosure policy for deets!

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