• Lucy

How to look polished on a budget

At different points of my life, I’ve had varying amounts of money for shopping and spending on clothes. And for most of us, we actually don’t have unlimited dollars to buy everything we want. 

During the times when I had little to spend, I found myself drawn to certain items, that would still help create a polished and professional look.

When people say they don’t have the money to look good, I’m quick to reply that good style doesn’t require a huge budget, or designer pieces.

But it does require a little bit of effort and know-how. Here are 6 ways to get you started.


100% natural fabrics (such as wool, silk and cashmere) are luxurious yet can be pricy. But technology today means there are fabrics with a luxurious look and feel and an affordable price. Look for viscose, rayon, faux suede and some polyesters. Natural fabrics such as cotton and linen or blends with these fabrics also tend to have lower price points. Avoid acrylic and high-shine synthetic fabrics which can look cheap and tacky.

Choose elegance over flamboyance

Choose sophisticated and simple designs and leave the bold prints, sequins, ruffles, and plunging necklines behind. Being modest, yet chic, always presents a more polished look.

Go for the basics over fast-fashion

Don’t waste money on fad items that age rapidly. Instead, focus on adding well-fitted staple items that have a much lower cost-per-wear and will be in your wardrobe for years to come, such as classic tees/tops, blazers, jackets and a great pair of pants or jeans.   

Care for yourself and your clothes

Wrinkled, stained or clothes that don’t fit look sloppy and unprofessional so plan your outfits and maintain your clothes:

  • Hang your garments every night.

  • Press/iron or steam garments so they are wrinkle-free.

  • Invest in a lint brush to keep your outfits lint/hair/fuzz free

  • Don’t just throw all your clothes in the washing machine – read the care labels and hand wash or dry-clean according to fabric

  • Keep shoes clean and well-polished, and always fix broken/clattering heels