Entertainment Style Frugal fashion: how to shun wardrobe waste
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Frugal fashion: how to shun wardrobe waste

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Having spent decades spent working in fashion, I have also spent many hard earned dollars on items that, in the long run, were not worth the investment.

I’ve learnt by trial and error that not everything in a wardrobe needs to be costly.

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Here’s how you can look a million dollars by making smart decisions on a budget:

1. Cheap jewellery

cheap jewellery
Jewellery should be an investment, so avoid the market trinkets. Photo: Getty

I was talking to a stylist friend recently and she mentioned she’d been working with loads of cheap chain store jewellery on a shoot.

“It was literally falling to pieces in my hands as I unpacked it and moved it from the table to the models neck,” she said.

This is a terrible waste of resources, for so many reasons. One missing diamante and your $60 necklace becomes little more than landfill in one swift second.

One or two pieces of investment jewellery will go far further, and become your signature, even if it’s just a simple pair of silver hoop earrings or a small gold locket.

2. White or creme silk shirts

Let me break this down.

A white linen shirt is fine, as they are machine washable and bleach nicely, and cotton also launders well.

But silk? Forget it. You will spill something on it before 11am, no question, and they will collect stains under the arms and around the collar, even just sitting in the wardrobe.

Save yourself the interminable dry-cleaning bills and buy it in a darker colour, or pattern.

3. Jeans

designer jeans
Pricey designer jeans just aren’t worth it. Photo: Getty

I don’t really understand the concept of designer jeans.

Jeans should really be chosen for fit rather than fashion. If they look good on you, who cares what the label says.

My favourite low cost denim is from Uniqlo (the Japanese are masters with denim). Women should try on men’s jeans too, for extra options.

I like things to be a little oversized, so I often shop in the men’s section for things like denim jackets, cashmere sweaters and even overcoats.

4. Trends

A more cost effective way to shop is to spend money on pieces that you really love and will want to pull out time and time again.

The new designer at Gucci, Alessandro Michele, is doing a sterling job with this philosophy, creating crazy, opulent pieces that can be worn all together, or just bought as one delightful signature item.

They already look vintage, and so in that sense are timeless, and beyond seasonal trends. A patterned silk kimono, an embroidered bomber jacket, a gold loafer, they become personal statements that you can wear and enjoy for years.

5. Lipstick

lipstick getty
Once it’s applied, who can tell? Photo: Getty

Yes there is something highly satisfying about the look of an expensive lipstick and the click of a quality case closing, but once lipstick is applied, who would know the brand?

I chased a woman down in a restaurant this week after admiring her gorgeous deep wine lipstick and she admitted it was a discontinued Maybelline she found on a sale table.

I raided Priceline and bought every one they had left in that shade, so I’m sorted until about 2025.

6. One-time wears

We all at one time or another have to buy something specific — such as a formal dress for a wedding, black tie event or ceremony. But don’t then let it hang in the cupboard gathering dust.

Wear it out. Literally.

If it’s a long dress, wear it later with sneakers and a leather jacket. Break the suit up and wear it with jeans. Don’t save things for “best”. Aim for best everyday.

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