Trendy fashion on a budget may sound like an oxymoron, but you can build a timeless yet trendy wardrobe even if you're watching your pennies. The secret is to stock up on basics and carefully chosen statement pieces that won't become a fashion faux pas within the next year. In other words, you don’t want the trendy clothing you bought in 2020 to be completely untrendy in 2021. You can tell the tasteful fads from the forgettable ones. So come along and follow The Swank Company on a journey to learn about dressing dapper on a budget. We have style tips that will increase the potential of your wardrobe and will elevate every outfit you put together.

Increase Your Cardigan Collection

a woman in a cardigan

The secret to obtaining timeless, trendy fashion on a budget, whether it’s trendy clothing from 2019, trendy clothing from this year, or pieces that might be trendy five years from now, is to shop for classic items that never fall out of favor in the fashion world. Cardigan sweaters always top the list of must-haves. Cardigans have the power to anchor a colorful, wild outfit or add a pop of vibrancy to a monochrome ensemble. They're practical as well, due to how easily they layer over bodysuits, button-downs, camisoles, dresses, and t-shirts.

You can wear your cardigans throughout all four seasons without repeating your outfits. Changing up your top and bottoms will turn it into a whole new sweater. You can do the same thing by adding a piece of jewelry, a brooch, or a scarf.

Slither Around in Snakeskin

short snakeskin dress

As you browse for pieces of affordable fashion, consider the shelf-life of each trend. Dependability and versatility are the touchstones of dressing dapper on a budget. The most impressive fads always come back around again. When you spot them on the store shelves, it shouldn't be for the first time. You should be looking at a new representation of a time-tested favorite. In other words, pass on those weird neon vinyl pants and turn your eyes to snakeskin clothing instead.

Animal prints like leopard, zebra stripes, crocodile, and snakeskin haven't faded away. They reappear with fresh new twists that inspire the fashion-crazed. Snakeskin is an edgy upgrade to traditional animal prints, and the faux stuff is beyond affordable. You may want to invest in a pair of snakeskin leggings, but snakeskin boots, booties, heels, or loafers are also winners. They'll draw compliments year after year.

Embrace Sequin Style

a sequin gold wrap dress

You might not think sequins have a place in your wardrobe when you’re trying to embrace high fashion on a budget, but every woman needs to sparkle sometimes! We're not saying you need to shop for a pair of sequin-covered hot pants or anything, but a little bling never hurt anybody. A sequin-spangled dress, blouse, or clutch can add a bit of razzle-dazzle to your everyday looks and the outfits you put together for special occasions.

Dress in Chunky Sweaters

chunky grey sweater

Every trendy item ought to be paired with a classic. You may not want to mix too many trends in one outfit or you risk confusing the eye rather than inspiring it. Those anchoring pieces are essential for dressing dapper on a budget, and chunky, cozy sweaters fall in that category. You can never go wrong with a pullover sweater that you can pair with jeans, dress pants, skirts, capris, and shorts.

soft grey sweater

To fall in with the latest fads, try tucking your sweater into a pair of statement bottoms. Leather—or faux leather—pants, boldly striped trousers, and vivid pencil skirts can stand out on their own, while your sweater provides some much-needed cohesion. Pullovers can also layer over unexpected collared shirts and button-downs. Trendy and affordable fashion depends on versatile items, so take advantage of the ability to make your sweaters work with the latest looks.

Stock Up on Comfy Jeans

high waist skinny jeans

Jeans are key pieces when it comes to trendy and affordable fashion on a budget. They're endlessly adaptable and they can pair with a variety of tops and footwear options. Because jeans are so popular, however, impractical trends are always popping up in the fashion mags and street-style blogs.

Classically cut jeans ensure you always have something to wear. Depending on your body type, you might prefer boot cut or straight-legged. Whatever the case, a pair of relaxed-fit jeans is a must-have. With them in your closet, you can skip out on the modern bell-bottoms and the boyfriend jeans (unless you like those styles, that is!).

We can't stress enough that trendy fashion is about separating the truly fashionable fads from the one-note one-hit-wonders. You need to avoid the pieces destined to fade away (until they show up on some curated list of the biggest fashion failures of the decade!). That describes a lot of jean fads—but not skinny jeans.

Unlike hipster jeans and dramatic mermaid silhouettes, skinny jeans have proven themselves as timeless. They're contenders for a classic rating in the world of denim. No matter what your body type or size, there are a pair of skinny jeans out there for you. They might have a relaxed fit themselves, or maybe they fit like a second skin. You may wear crop tops with them to show off how awesome they look, or you could prefer long tunic tops. The point is that they're out there, and they can be a crucial component in your budget wardrobe.

All Dressed in Leather(ish)

faux leather leggings

Leather is a permanent fixture in the fashion world. Separate pieces are especially on-point. You don't have to spend a fortune to find a fabulous leather piece. Heck, you don't even have to opt for genuine leather. Faux vegan leather is the best-kept secret in the world of dressing dapper on a budget. Not only is it more ethical, but it tends to be more affordable, as well.

Leather-look jackets, bags, and leggings give you the appearance of a rock ‘n roll lifestyle without the cost or the ethical crisis. It's worth the investment to own an edgy piece that can add a high-fashion grunge touch to your ensembles. Leather-look leggings are stunning with a crop top or mesh blouse. A faux leather jacket pairs with anything, including jeans and tees or a low-key cocktail dress.

Bodysuits are for Layering

black and white bodysuits on hangers

To build an affordable fashion wardrobe, a bodysuit is vital. You don't want your style savvy to lose its pulse because you keep wearing the same old things. That's why layering is your saving grace when it comes to fashion on a budget. Along with button-ups, sweaters, tanks, and tees, bodysuits offer a comfortable, seamless way to layer your outfits.

Bodysuits fit close to the skin. Since you don't have to tuck them into your pants and skirts, there are no bulges or bunches of material. That makes them ideal to wear underneath blazers, cardigans, kimonos, and lace, mesh, or transparent tops.

Blazer Blitz

black and white snakeskin blazer

Speaking of blazers, you need a few to build your collection of trendy fashion for work, nights out, and beyond. Blazers have been extending their reach lately. While they're perfect for workday outfits, they have more versatility than that. Throwing a blazer over a menswear-inspired ensemble featuring trousers and a femme button-up or wearing one over a date-night dress can elevate your look.

A statement blazer or two in a popping color or wild pattern is fine but think about how often you'll wear it. If you're going for patterns, floral motifs and plaids effortlessly match with a variety of bottoms and tops, as do stripes. More than anything, shop for neutral hues to hold down your wardrobe. Dressing dapper on a budget is easy when you select pieces that will match a variety of items in your closet.

Everyone Needs a Statement Coat

fluffy animal print coat

Outerwear is a necessary aspect of trendy fashion on a budget. A coat can heighten the impression your outfit makes. On a practical level, a good coat keeps you warm. The thing is, you can stay warm without spending a fortune or sacrificing your sharp style sense.

Keep an eye out for a design that appeals to your aesthetic and works for what you need. Pea coats will never go out of style, nor will lightweight trench coats. Puffer coats are perfect, but steer clear of the oversize version. That's a fad that won't last for long.

Find the Fiercest Footwear

white and silver sneakers

Fantastic footwear is one way to incorporate affordable fashion into your wardrobe. You always have to switch out for seasonal shoes, but there are still a few styles you can wear all year-’round. Ankle booties, heels, and a cool pair of kicks will cover you when you aren't sure which shoes go with your outfit.

Flirt in a Skirt

a form-fitting green skirt

If dressing dapper on a budget is your thing, then skirts should be a staple of your wardrobe. A midi skirt is a classic basic, typically in a neutral hue or pattern. Again, plaids and stripes are on-point picks. Otherwise, keep it understated. Black, cream, tan, charcoal, and navy are can't-miss colors that should go with an array of your blouses and tops.

That One Perfect Dress

a short black lace dress

Likewise, a versatile dress is a cornerstone of flawless fashion on a budget. You need a dress that you can wear to a variety of semi-formal and casual dressy occasions. A little black dress is a universal favorite, but any neutral shade will do. Avoid too many baubles, bits, and bling. You want a classically cut silhouette that you can dress up or down with your accessories and shoes.

Knowing what will look good season after season is the trick to finding fashion on a budget. Trust your instincts and your aesthetic each time you select a new piece for your closet. Shop with purpose and always think about how many outfits you can create around a single item. Discover can't-miss basics and the hottest trends at The Swank Company.

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