9caa2793658f3cc387f216157300b1ce_MWe all want to be fashionable, to appear as if we’re on top of the latest trends and fashions. We don’t all have the budget for it, but that’s no reason to opt out of being stylish. Follow these tips on how to look like a million bucks for a lot less, and your friends and co-workers will be asking you for style recommendations in no time.

Invest Only in Essentials

Every woman needs a handful of essential pieces in her wardrobe. Invest in quality in these pieces and you won’t need to spend too much on the trendy items you’ll use to compliment the essentials. Tim Gunn says there are 10 essential items that need to be in every woman’s closet. They include:

  • A black dress – The little black dress is the key to a stylish woman’s wardrobe. Audrey Hepburn made it popular and taught us that a simple black dress can steal the show. Invest in one that fits perfectly and looks great – one you can wear to a business dinner or a party.
  • A white shirt – For a casual look, pair this with jeans, underneath a sweater or a suit. A white shirt is an essential layering item.
  • A great pair of jeans – A good pair of jeans is hard to find. When you do find a pair you’re happy with, consider their versatility. The ideal pair will be casual enough for the park on weekends, and work well with a trendy top and heels at a club.
  • Black heels – A good pair of medium height black heels is a must. Choose a pair that will go with anything from a dress to jeans.

Supplement with Less Expensive Trendy Pieces

  • Shop for designer clothes at discount retailers like Ross, Marshall’s, Loehmann’s and TJ Maxx. These stores are good places to look for your essential items, but also great places to find some unique, trendy pieces to jazz up the essentials. Find a cool sequined top to pair with your jeans and black heels and you are ready for a night on the town.
  • Other places to find hip yet inexpensive clothes are stores like H&M, Forever 21 and Target. These stores have low prices, and their designers are always on top of the latest trends.
    Also shop the sale racks at department stores. Check out thrift stores and consignment shops, too. These can be treasure troves of never-worn, or seldom-worn designer clothes.

Accessorize

  • Accessories can spruce up any outfit and they don’t need to be expensive. Wear small pearl earrings and a necklace with your black dress during the day at the office. At night, swap the earrings for big gold hoops. Add some bangle bracelets and a funky bag, and you can head out for dinner with friends.
  • Look for costume jewelry and other accessories at the stores mentioned above. H&M, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx and Target have big accessory departments. Another place to find accessories is eBay, especially if you’re looking for a good deal on a designer purse. Sometimes carrying a brand name bag will give your entire outfit a boost in terms of perceived expense and sophistication.

Grooming Tips

  • Some beauty procedures are worth spending time and money on, and some that are not. The two most important procedures are eyebrows and manicures. Your eyebrows frame your face. Having them shaped by a professional once a month or so isn’t terribly expensive, and will help save on your overall beauty routine.
  • A manicure is also important. Nice looking hands imply overall attention to your grooming. Try to give yourself a manicure every week, or go to a salon every other week. A pedicure, while fun and fashionable, isn’t as important as a manicure. Get a pedicure monthly instead of bi-weekly.
  • Beauty treatments that give you less bang for the buck than manicures and eyebrow shaping include facials, scrubs and other spa work. These are special occasion treatments. Don’t indulge in them on a regular schedule.

Looking like a million bucks is not difficult. Start with a few key essentials, layer with trendy accents and accessories, and top your look off with styled hair, shaped brows and manicured hands. No one will suspect that your secret is frugality.