7 Ways To Be Fashionable AND Frugal

I still have the first designer piece I ever purchased. I had saved up a little money from modeling and bought this Missoni dress I'm wearing in the picture above. At the time, it was a small fortune. But Missoni is timeless--and guess what? I still wear it. Yes, it's a little tight. But that point is--it still almost fits!

With that said, I believe in spending money on your core wardrobe (aka core'drobe) and investing in forever fashion that you'll wear over and over again. But I also love a good deal and sale as much as anybody. Luckily, there are ways to buy forever fashion at a reasonable price.

Here are some of my tips for fashion-forward frugality straight from my book, The Everyday Supermodel:

  1. Shop Vintage, Consignment, & Thrift Stores: You have to be patient and you have to look, but you can find incredible finds and even core classics and expensive labels. This is a great way to secure signature or fun pieces that no one else will have and you will have acquired for a steal! You can often score gently worn designer handbags here at a fraction of the retail price.
Gia Canali Photography
Gia Canali Photography
  1. Clothes Swap: Get together with fashion-minded friends and have some fun. Trade items you are over for items they are over. You can refresh your wardrobe for the cost of a shared bottle of wine. Also, there are great swapping sites like Swap Style and Snob Swap. These are fab online places to swap pieces that aren’t designer.
  1. Cash Out When You Closet Clean: Using sites like Ebay and Etsy is a great way to sell directly to consumers. Poshmark and Tradesy are also excellent for cashing out your clothes. They are especially good with designer pieces. For mid-range pieces, try finding a store like Buffalo Exchange or Crossroads in your area.
  1. Flash Sites, Sales, Discount Retailers, & E-Tailers: This has become all the rage and you can get incredible deals. Warning: do not buy something just because it’s on sale. Even if you are getting a huge discount, you should still LOVE it. Whether it’s $10 or $1,000, don’t buy anything you don’t love. Think about it, all those “cheap” impulse purchases that you’ve never worn could have been that one designer piece you’ll have forever!
Gia Canali Photography
Gia Canali Photography
  1. Wake Up Your Wardrobe: If you have a nice-fitting blouse or coat that could be beautiful if it wasn’t for the cheap buttons—swap them out for nicer ones. Same goes for a skirt with a cheesy belt or poor-quality zipper—replace them with quality pieces and you’ll upgrade your look.
  1. Keep ‘Em Separated: Instead of buying a dress or jumpsuit—buy separates. You will always get more use out of them because separates are simply more versatile.
  1. Leasing Luxury: Websites and stores like Rent The Runway and Lending Luxury allow you to “lease” fancy designer pieces for a few days at affordable prices, usually around 5-15% percent of the retail cost. You can look like a million bucks without spending it. Another word of advice: Have social media savvy. If you know you are going to be photographed a lot, and splashed all over Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram wearing something don’t spend a lot on it. You likely won’t want to wear it again. This is when a great knockoff, or rental dress comes into play.