Let’s be honest. We all secretly know we have Pinterest-worthy style potential. However, from time to time our bank balances betray us.
So this week on The Fashion Spread, we discuss some style secrets every girl must know, whether the bank account allows or not. I should probably clarify that by ‘broke girl’ I am not being derogative but rather speaking of those times when we’ve all found ourselves working with a bit of a limited budget vis a vis our ever growing appetite for that one more dress, bag, shoe or accessory.
Ideally, looking stylish isn’t supposed to be expensive. I am a firm believer in working with what is within my reach and in my closet to express myself and create multiple stylish combinations. This is, however, achievable if you have a capsule wardrobe, or at the very least a semi-capsule wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe refers to a small collection of clothes that, when paired, can create multiple harmonious outfits (I know we haven’t had a conversation about how to build a capsule wardrobe, but rest assured it’s in the cards. I’ve got you covered). However, today, let’s focus on style secrets that will have you looking fabulous even on a lean budget.
Broke or not, your basics MUST come correct. By basics, in this instance, I am referring to your undergarments; bras, panties, the works, and anything you like to put on underneath your outfit.
Have you ever put together an entire outfit, then looked in the mirror and saw a horrifying panty line or an out-of-place bra strap? That is what happens when you don’t have the correct basics.
Style secret – always layout and examine your outfit before picking your undergarments.
Check the fabric of your pants, then decide what kind of panty to wear. Examine your top or blouse, then decide on what color bra to wear. This helps avoid wardrobe disasters that waste your time having to re-figure out your outfit for the day.
In your underwear collection, at least have the following must-haves: a black bra and panty, seamless panties, and strapless bras. Once your basics are in place, you’re assured of an effortlessly draped outfit.
Neutrals instantly make one look sophisticated and well put together. When it comes to style, you never want to look like you are trying too hard. This is one well-kept style secret, and as they say, simplicity is the highest form of sophistication. Building a foundational look of neutral tones like blacks, whites, greys, navy blue, and nudes (that have become quite a trend) is a trick every girl must learn.
I must, however, mention that I am not at all against color or am I asking you to have a boring and dull wardrobe like a black and white TV. The trick is that by having neutral tones as the base of your outfits, you can then add pops of color on top. Remember, the goal is to look effortlessly elegant, and mixing up colors wrong can be a fashion disaster ready to happen.
Style Secret – Add pops of color in the form of shoes, your bag, the coat for the day, and more. Keep it minimal.
Some trends come and go with seasons, while others last for decades. One such timeless trend is denim, coming in diverse in shapes, forms, and colors one can think of, with the possibility of being dressed up or down depending on your goal. After close to four years of the #DenimOnDenim movement, I’m pretty sure every girl has at least one denim item in their wardrobe. Whatever denim piece you’ve got, there’s at least one stunning look you can pull off, my favorite being denim pants, a white T-shirt paired with heels or sneakers. Timeless!
Denim aside, another personal favorite is structured trench coats. Ordinary trench coats are great and all but structured ones are particularly outstanding. You can pair them with right about anything and elevate your look instantaneously.
Style Secret – Pick a structured coat with firm shoulders; it straightens your posture.
I call T-shirts the chameleons of fashion. They can be super casual or super sophisticated, depending on how you style them and pair them in an outfit. There are a plethora of options when it comes to styling a T-shirt; you can do a full tuck, a half tuck, wrap it into a crop top, and more.
Style Secret – T-shirts create a fantastic basis for layering. You can add a coat, a jacket, a sweater or scarf. With the temperatures gradually dropping and ushering in the cold season, learning T-shirt styling tricks is a must-know.
Men’s shirts are another well-kept secret. They are relatively bigger in size compared to ladies’ blouses, therefore giving you room to play and experiment creatively.
Every woman’s hair is her crown. However, when working with a budget, oftentimes we are limited to a specific range of hairdos. If you are a natural hair girl, then one style secret that isn’t really a secret is moisturizing. Moisturizing keeps your hair healthy and gives that natural shine and bounce. Make YouTube your friend and learn the many DIY styles you can try out for your hair. Hair accessories are the cherry on the cake, instantly transforming your look from great to fabulous
For the baldies and ladies who prefer to keep their hair short, the cuts and lines around your hairline are your arsenals. Joy Kendi, Ciru Muriuki, and Her Excellency Deputy First Lady Rachel Ruto are phenomenal inspirations if you feel a bit stuck.
Hats, just like hair, can immediately transform your entire look.
There are numerous options of hats to pick from, don’t get overwhelmed by it. Just pick one or two that you feel will easily blend with your personal style; wide-brim hats and straw hats are a great safe start.
Style Secret – Hats are a fantastic way to cover a bad hair day and have you looking exceptionally stylish.
Over and above clothes and accessories, it is your face that makes you, You. Makeup can cost a pretty penny, so for my broke girls, here’s a tip.
Style Secret – Focus on the essentials; lips and eyes.
I am personally not doing lipstick with the current situation because I don’t quite see the point – masks, Sigh! So, the eyes are everything! Well done eyebrows will lift your eyes and brighten up your face. And as if just made for us broke girls, the eyebrow pencil is the most inexpensive makeup product, going for as low as 30 bob!
Have you ever noticed how confident one gets when rocking sunglasses?
A pair of trendy sunnies (and I am not one to advocate for full-blown trendy pieces) are an inexpensive way to look expensive. Often times I don’t advocate for trendy items for people on a budget or generally anyone because trends fade as quickly as they came, then you have yourself a closet full of last season’s clothes. A waste of precious money!
Style Secret – Select a pair of sunglasses that are trendy but also within your personal style preference.
And for those like myself who wear medicated glasses, pick functional, trendy frames since they double up as your sunglasses, so make a statement out of them.
This is one style secret every girl should know and apply, broke or otherwise. No matter what you wear, beauty and radiance come from the inside. Wear confidence as your perfume every day; don’t you dare leave the door without it.