If you’re struggling to think of outfit ideas for the parties you have lined up, don’t worry. Buying new clothing does not, I repeat does not, have to cost a fortune.
Broadcast host, producer, and on-air style expert, Mana Mansour, is an advocate for creating affordable, stylish looks and she regularly appears on The Marilyn Denis Show, etalk, CTV Morning Live Vancouver, and CP24 Breakfast Toronto.
“The biggest challenge that women face is thinking that good quality clothes are expensive. Often times, women think they can’t have beautiful things if they don’t have a huge budget to work with, but there are so many ways around that,” Mansour tells Daily Hive.
Since fast fashion is becoming more mainstream, it results in garments falling apart faster. In order to find pieces that will stand the test of time and also look expensive, Mansour says it all starts with knowing what fits and suits your body. Here are her top five tips for creating an expensive look on a budget.
Simplify your wardrobe
First off, Mansour says simplicity goes a long way. “Sometimes, the most expensive clothing is often the most simple. Look at Celine, and Hermès, other than their silk scarves, their pieces are quite refined and sleek.”
If you’re shopping at a store like Zara and you’re thinking of buying a studded bag, Mansour says a clean design with very simple hardware might be a better option as it will look more expensive over time. She also recommends buying statement prints in more classic styles, like a leopard or stripe.
Invest in quality fabrics
It’s time to start thinking outside of the box when it comes to quality fabrics. Mansour explains that certain fabrics, even if you’re buying them at fast-fashion price points, will look better over time — silk scarves included.
“Linen is such a great material, and you can find it at Winners. It looks more expensive than polyester, for example. Good old-fashioned cotton is so much better than synthetic materials.” If you’ve got the option to buy real leather, Mansour says always go with that as faux leather options can be quite expensive and still look a little cheap.
Make friends with a good alterationist
Mansour says if a pair of pants are too big, buy them anyway because you’d be surprised what an amazing alterationist can do. “I think that a $20 pair of pants can look much more expensive if taken in properly. I, myself, shop at thrift and consignment stores for designer pieces.”
There are many stores in Canada that have high-end brands in great condition, at a fraction of the standard price. “I think that if you want to get standout designer pieces, thrifting is a great way of incorporating them. Consignment stores often buy pieces that are only one or two seasons old, so it’s really current.”
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Thrift with an open mind
New to thrifting and luxury consignment? Mansour explains that you need to go into it with an open mind. “You can’t go to a thrift store and have a shopping list in mind because you’re going to get frustrated and you’re not necessarily going to find what you’re looking for. So, don’t make a list.”
Wearing comfortable clothing and footwear helps as you can put them on and take them off with ease, allowing yourself to really embrace “the thrill of the hunt.” Mansour says it’s best to thrift shop midweek because stores don’t replenish their stock before the weekend; they do it Monday to Friday. “Keep that in mind when you think of going to Value Village on a Saturday!”
Join a consignment store waitlist
You don’t need to be constantly visiting consignment stores to see if the kind of item you’re looking for has arrived in stock. Mansour says to ask if you can sign up to an email list so you’ll know when the kind of products you’re looking for come into stock.
“Consign Toronto is a store I often work with on my segments and they are online, so anyone in Canada can buy directly from their website, and tell them what kind of stuff they’re looking for.” If you’re not a fan of the hunt for consignment pieces, they can do it for you. “For example, if you’ve always wanted a Chanel flat bag, they’ll email you when they get one in stock,” adds Mansour.