Our Guide to Looking Stylish on a Budget

Have you ever walked down the street and seen someone looking chic and trendy, and wondered why you’re not as stylish, until you remember that your bank balance won’t allow it?

Fortunately, there is an answer! We got in touch with Alicia Doumanis, a fast-growing blogger who runs THE_SYDNEY_SIDER on Instagram and Facebook. She quickly taught us the ins-and-outs on looking chic and stylish without breaking the bank.

Do you believe you can look stylish on a budget?

Alicia Doumanis: Absolutely, I believe that looking stylish is a combination of looking tasteful and adopting trends that suit who you are in your personality and to suit your body type. You don’t need to invest in the ‘IT’ designer Knitwear to keep warm this winter. It’s about choosing an item that is suited to your body, compliments your personality and has an air of class about it no matter the price tag. In saying this, there are cheap brands at market that produce cheap clothing, so always keep an eye out for quality to last otherwise you will find yourself investing in that cheaper jumper more than once and may have opted for the more expensive option.

What’s your favourite lower-end brand?

AD: My favourite lower end brands are a mixture of Bardot/Finders Keepers and Sportsgirl. I think that all of these brands have staple pieces mixed with some new and trendy designs. They let me stock up on items that are anywhere from $30 to those that are between $150-$250, and I find myself looking trendy, confident and feeling like I haven’t just burnt a hole in my wallet.

What’s your favourite higher-end brand?

AD: My favourite higher end brand is Manning and Cartel/Zimmerman and Josh Goot – I couldn’t just pick one. All three of these designers offer up a mix of ultra-stylish & well-made clothing that you enjoy wearing because they aren’t mass produced, and each has a distinct look. I love the quality of these clothes and that their ranges can be worn for more than one season. After all, if you are going to pay the $500+ price you would want to be able to wear this item a little longer than a year, right?

Do you think it’s worth investing in a good, designer handbag?

AD: Yes! Clothes are one thing. Owning a special piece that you can wear with your Bardot jeans, Finders Keepers t-shirt and Sportsgirl suit-jacket is another. I think the key word here is investment. Invest in a good quality designer who has timeless leather pieces that you will keep for years! I have a simple black Givenchy that I bought 6 years ago. Still in style, still in good shape and worth every penny.

Where do you find trends to follow?

AD: Everywhere. Walking down the street; Instagram; friends and family; magazines! Trends are everywhere and I am always keeping an eye out for a trend or piece I could see myself in and something that would suit my style.

What are the best colours to wear this season? What colours should we avoid?

AD: Sadly enough, I don’t preach colours. I personally think colours depend on the person and the day. I would definitely keep the basics stocked such as your grey knits, black suit jackets and coats. However if you’re feeling a little adventurous which I sometimes do, I hot up the bold colours. A dark red, an emerald green a bright orange. Something to break it up.

What tips do you have for looking stylish on a budget?

AD: Lots! Don’t let the clothes determine your budget! Always stay true to how much you would like to spend and hit up more than one shop. If you are on a budget, Westfield is normally always the trick. Check out the racks in DJ’s and Myer’s first to see if there are any pricey brands on sale and then move on to your Bardots, Sportsgirls and boutique shops that sell not so well known brands but are stylish and in trend. Be smart as to the pieces you choose – make sure you can make as many outfits out of as little pieces as possible.

If a person likes to try and buy, then obviously most stores have sales racks, however a step up from those is the constant designer clearances that are held which you can find out about from designers social media pages (Josh Goot and Ellery are having one this weekend), this way you can buy the more expensive designers for cheap.

Also another method for the try and buy people is to go to places like DFO and Birkenhead Point (Drummoyne, NSW) which have name brands’ factory outlets.

For those fortunate ones who don’t need to try before they buy and who know their sizes in each brand, online shopping is key. Obviously Brands Exclusive and Ozsale are good entry-level websites; MyNetSale and Shopbop for those up a tier, and Gilt for those who wish to splurge. Accessories are easier to buy than clothes as a bag is a bag but dress has a certain cut. Those who are good online shoppers will definitely make huge savings.

After taking Alicia’s pointers into account we hit Westfield, and put together three budget outfits for three different occasions. Let us know you thoughts below!

Casual Look


Ray ban sunglasses → RB3025 Aviator Golden Brown Polarised (314438) $290
Black and white knit/top Cotton On → Easy Viscose Rib Top. Black/white Mad Stripes (231114-30) $19.95
Red mid heel suede boot Novo → Debra red (86844) $59.95-69.95
Sportsgirl jeans → Stevie Jean black (014749-001) $79.95
Witchery cross body bag → Gabrielle Crossbody bag (60166008) $179.95
(Source: Fredrick Ragg)

Evening Look


The Finder Keepers top → Once again top orange (FI016AA33HXE) $119.95
Forecast Skirt → Melly Grid Shirt (12SK588IVO) $49.95
Lovisa Necklace → Lace plate necklace black (50386628) $16.95
Betts Shoes → Illie shoe (1531706) Sale price: $104.99 (Original price $139.99)
Oroton clutch → Raisa Envelope Small clutch black (11017758001) $245
(Source: Fredrick Ragg)

 Work Look

Saba Jacket →Ava Jacket Dark Ink (WW14067) $399 / Target Dress → City Dressing Linin Look dress white $69 / Wittnes Shoes → Raya croc shoe (0181345) $179.95 / Coach Bag → Decam Camel Bag (c/30348) $995 (Source: Fredrick Ragg)

Saba Jacket →Ava Jacket Dark Ink (WW14067) $399
Target Dress → City Dressing Linin Look dress white $69
Wittnes Shoes → Raya croc shoe (0181345) $179.95
Coach Bag → Decam Camel Bag (c/30348) $995
(Source: Fredrick Ragg)

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1 Comment

  1. Hey! Thanks for sharing such informative article about how to look stylish without burning a hole in your pocket. My tip always shop off season or atleast go for window shopping as shopping off season might reduce the price probably would introduce you with new styles in a lesser price and there’s no fear about you so called budget. So go off-season shopping and be stylish over all this.

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