Personal Finance

Kat’s Money Corner: Fall fashions on a budget


Plaid outerwear, a 60s mod vibe, suede booties, moto jackets, metallics, A-line skirts, fitted boot cut jeans and animal prints – these are just a few of the new trends that are coming our way this autumn. It can be tough to stay on point with the latest fashions while balancing your budget, but if you spend smart, you can look sharp.

Be Choosy

Having a budget for your wardrobe means you need to focus on quality, not quantity, especially when it comes to closet staples. Tailoring can make any piece of clothing look more expensive so if you find a really good deal on something but the fit isn’t quite right, add alterations onto the total price tag. More often than not, modifications will only make the clothing a better deal.

A pair of first-rate black or grey pants (cotton, twill or lined wool) open up endless layering and color possibilities that you can wear as fall turns into winter. Another must-have item has earned its reputation as a necessary addition: the Little Black Dress. The classic length and cut of this dress can take you from fall to winter as easily as it takes you from day to night. For guys, it’s a high quality navy blazer.

This same school of thought applies to outerwear. Invest in a good coat; it’s an item that you truly might wear every day of the fall and winter. Already have a jacket you love? Update it with new buttons. Another worthy investment is dark denim jeans, which can be worn year round and dressed up or down with the right top. A white button-down shirt is another essential. You can layer this piece under blazers or sweaters or dress it up with jewelry. In fact, every one of these staples can be enhanced with the right accessories.

Accessories Make The Outfit

Belts, shoes, purses and jewelry can make a dramatic difference to an outfit. Adding a little sparkle with gold or silver draws the eye so use earrings to play up a neckline. Long necklaces can make you look taller, too. The right purse and shoes can add a much-needed pop of color and these come in all-different colors, styles and prices.

Personally, I love scarves. From infinity to silk, scarves can dress up almost any outfit. An added benefit of accessories, like scarves, is not having to worry whether or not it will fit correctly. I buy a number of my scarves online because I get frustrated going from store to store trying to find the best deal when instead, I can go to my favorite websites and browse to get what I want at the right price. With free shipping and returns, online shopping is a game changer.

Try (And Then Buy Online)

Thanks to vanity sizing, it can be challenging to remember which size fits you best depending on the store. Next time you’re at the mall, go to your favorite stores and try on some outfits you like. While you’re doing that, write down your sizes. The next time your favorite retail store sends you an email about their big sale, you can browse their website with confidence and even keep an eye on clearance items without having to drive to the mall once a week.

Whether you shop online or off the racks, what you wear can say a lot about you. Don’t let a limited budget keep your closet overstuffed with ill-fitting clothing that affects your confidence. Patience and a keen eye are a great way to make you feel fashion forward and budget savvy.

Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little one, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, click