How to dress snappy on a budget

Man in a suit adjusting tie

Look suave for less
Image: Tawan Jz

Feeling the austerity squeeze? Got the post Christmas financial blues?

Being skint doesn’t have to mean lowering your sartorial standards, and it shouldn’t, because how you dress affects your self confidence, career and love life.

Dressing is about more than style, it’s about substance too. In fact our last blog post explored how the way you dress might affect your income. If you look good, there’s a good chance you’ll notice the results on your bank balance.

Here’s how to dress for success on a shoestring with our four R’s: Refresh, remodel, recycle and restraint!


Insufficient funds to revamp your wardrobe? You’ll be surprised how much you can do with a just a few pounds to spend on refreshing your existing outfits. Casual chic, like denim and low cuts, along with splashes of bright colour are the order of the day in 2015. So bear that in mind when you let your imagination loose to reinvent, recreate and renovate your outfits.

Freshen up a suit jacket with a zingy t-shirt in a primary colour, team with chinos and oxford shoes for a smart casual feel. Want something more formal? Add a breast pocket handkerchief in a daring shade to give your work look a bolder edge.

Need to save some pennies before you can reinvest in a new pair of denims or trousers? Make it all about the details by sporting a pair of subtly stylish socks. And while you’re at it, a bright tie draws the eye – but make sure it’s dapper – fun designs should be reserved for Christmas!


If you’re current clothes are in good nick, why not have them remodelled rather than splash the cash on new gear? A brief search online will locate your local tailor or seamstress, and if you ring around you should be able to find someone affordable for your budget. You could have a jacket let out to give it a more casual look, or take in a pair of trousers when your New Year exercise regime creates a new, sleeker you!

Subtle alterations can make a big difference to your look. Shorten a sports jacket to give it a more youthful edge. Don’t bin your old shirts – instead have the collars and cuffs replaced with complementary fabrics that will breathe new life into your old garments.


Fed up with wearing the same old clobber, but lack the cash to buy new? Why not buy pre-loved? You’ll find a plethora of online stores that deal in quality pre-owned clothes – you can even sell your old stuff to make way for the new.

Check out your local vintage market stalls for timeless classics that look great when combined with modern standards. An old school three-quarter length wool winter coat, a pair of spectator brogues or a fedora – all inject a little pizazz into your wardrobe.

And don’t forget to accessorise. A leather satchel creates a preppy style, a flamboyant scarf a bit of bohemian chic. Try button-hole – yes it’s a flower – but for dandification you can’t do better. Need to revamp your shoes? Switch the laces to a coloured pair.


Pulling your belt in needn’t mean never buying new. But if you do need to replace an item of clothing, make sure you buy smart. A fitted suit matches the style that tailoring can supply, but at a fraction of the cost.

Keep your eye peeled for sales and other price promotions, but always remember to go for quality over quantity. What looks like a bargain may not be, because you usually get what you pay for. Substandard fabrics cost less, but they lack the longevity that makes good clothes last and last. The simple rule is to buy the best that you can afford.

Make your clothes last by making sure you look after them properly. Always check the cleaning instructions attached to your garments and where possible, air dry. Avoid tumble driers and harsh cleaning chemicals to keep your togs in tip top condition.

Posted in How To - Style.