Five Paychecks to a Classy Wardrobe Update: $200 Budget

2 Feb
Classic Looks for Less

H M sleeveless dress, £15
H M striped shirt, £9.99
Old Navy double breasted trench coat, $22
Wet Seal low rise jeans, $20
Dorothy Perkins flat shoes, $35
Pearl chain necklace, $40
Blu Bijoux linking ring, $26
Juicy Couture rhinestone stud earrings, $40
Wet Seal plastic sunglasses, $7.50

Welcome to Part One of the Five Paychecks to a Better Wardrobe!  Read the introduction here!

Today, we will be focusing on the Economy Fashionista.  Working from the logic that she has $40 each paycheck to put towards a new wardrobe, we established that her overall budget is $200 for new clothes.

Let’s get started!

Paycheck One:   An amazing coat.  

I am a HUGE advocate of coats, and honestly, they’re one of your better investments (fashionwise).  Often, people will only see and judge you based on your coat, and it functions as an outfit that you wear every day.  (If you work in an office like mine, which is FREEZING all the time, then you might even wear your coat indoors!)

For purposes of building a classic wardrobe, I’m going to recommend you go with a trench coat.  A nice trench will NEVER go out of style, unless the future suddenly gets here and we all start wearing spandex bodysuits 24/7.  (Mine will be leopard, for the record.  RHYMES.)

Luckily for us, stores are releasing their spring lines, and most have coats on sale.  STRIKE WHILE THE IRON IS HOT, LADIES!

Delia’s Double Breasted Trench $39.99
Old Navy’s Tab-Sleeve trench $49.94
Also comes in a bright, happy green!  SO PREPPY AND CUTE!

Old Navy’s Tab-Sleeve Trench $49.94

Averaging the cost of the two coats gives us $45.  That’s five dollars over what we originally had for this paycheck, so we have to remember to compensate accordingly.

We started with $200.  We have $155 left.

Paycheck Two:  Denim!  

While trendy, printed denim is fun, you will never go wrong with a well fitting, dark rinse jean.  This paycheck, look for the perfect fitting jean.   I love a skinny jean because it pairs so well with my lifestyle, but maybe you’re more comfortable in a traditional bootcut.  Whatever your choice, find a store with millions of jeans, and be willing to try on everything.   

Now, if you already have the perfect skinny jean, then buy a nice bootcut you can wear to work.  Or, look for white jeans.  We’re focusing on not only building up your basics, but expanding your outfit possibilities.   Yes, those leopard print pants are cute, but white jeans are so much more wearable and timeless.

Whenever I need a new pair of budget-friendly jeans, I always go to Delia’s.  They have all inseams (up to 37″) and a million different styles and rinses.  Plus, they’re always doing buy one, get one half off deals.

Mallory Mid-Rise skinny jeans from Delia’s for $9.99
Yeah.  You heard me.  Ten bucks for new jeans!  At that rate, go buy two more in other washes, and you totally win at life.  (Wait.  Darn it.  We’re on a budget.  I always forget.)

Other wallet-friendly jean stores are Charlotte Ruesse and Forever 21.

I’m going to budget $40 for your jeans.  Maybe you luck out and just go nuts at Delia’s and pick up a few pairs, or you spend a little more and just get one pair.  Whatever your philosophy, remember to stick to a nice dark wash that will never go out of style.

Budget:  $155
Money spent this paycheck:  $40
Remaining:  $115

Paycheck Three:  Cute Dress!

 I live in dresses.  It’s the easiest way to feel put together.  This paycheck look for two of the most perfect dresses–one for work, and one for the weekend.  My suggestion if you are trying to go for the ultimate classic wardrobe?  Find the perfect dress.  If you’re like me though, and you already have 23 perfect LBD’s, then my suggestion would be to go for another color you love:  like navy or red.  (Those are just my favorites–your favorite color might be green!  Or white!)  

Prints are always fun too, but stick to the classics–polka dots or stripes are your best bet.

 (Also, one of my best tips for party dressing is to not resort to your basic black dress.  Everyone else will be doing the same thing!  A bright happy dress not only ensures you’re different, but that you’re memorable.)

My favorite site for budget friendly dresses is F21!

Wrap Skirt Dress from F21 $24.80
Seaside Stripes Dress from F21 $24.80

Peekaboo Shoulder Tail Dress from F21 $27.80
Our budget is $115
Let’s say you spent $30 on a cute little spring dress.  
We have $85 left.

And, so far we have a new trench coat, a new pair (or two!) of jeans, and a new dress!

Paycheck Four:  Leopard Shoes!   

People might argue with me, but I think leopard is not only absolutely timeless, but it’s actually a neutral.  Name a color!  Any color!  Leopard print will look fabulous with it, guaranteed.  Red?  YES.  Blue?  YES.  White?  YES.  Purple?  YES.  Black?  HECK YES.   I promise you, little touches of leopard makes your otherwise neutral outfit a little more interesting.  Leopard can be abused (see all of New Jersey) but when done right, it’s really amazing.  

One shoe I wear a few times a week is my leopard ballet flats.  I work in a conservative office environment, and pairing my leopard print ballet flats with my all black (or all navy) outfits makes me happy. 

Madden Girl Hoops Leopard shoes $39.95
Madden Girl Hype leopard shoes $39.95

Merona Mattie Cap-Toe flats from Target for $12.48

Oh man, those Target flats are SO cute and SO cheap, I might have to pick those up myself!

Okay, so our budget was $85…
Let’s assume $40 for shoes.
Which leaves us with $45.

Paycheck Five:  Accessories!  
Here’s where your personality can shine through!  With your leftover money, have a mini-shopping spree!  Need new leggings?  Nordstrom Rack and DSW have the best quality selections.  Or, maybe a pearl necklace?  F21 is great for inexpensive jewelry that doesn’t look totally cheap.  Or, perhaps some giant, movie star sunglasses?  Nordstrom’s BP department has all the latest styles of sunglasses for only $10!

Have money leftover?  Then treat yourself to something else that you really want!

Hopefully this has been a nice, classic boost to your wardrobe.

Tune in later this weekend to see it all over again with a higher budget!

I’m curious to know how you guys handle your shopping budget.  Do you budget at all?  Or do you buy on a whim?



3 Responses to “Five Paychecks to a Classy Wardrobe Update: $200 Budget”

  1. joelle February 3, 2012 at 11:42 am #

    love this post!! and love the budgeting stuff! great ideas!!

  2. Donna February 5, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    This is fun and really helpful! Its giving me ideas!

  3. Lexi February 6, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

    I am in total agreement about the leopard flats – I have 3 pairs and love them all!♡ LexiFASHION: Glitter & PearlsWEDDINGS: Glitter Weddings

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