Budget Luxe


Written by Hatti Whitman
Photos and illustrations by paradizo.com
16 Monday 16th January 2012

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If you have the same taste in ice cream, maybe you have the same taste in clothes? Photo © Terry Richardson/Rolling Stone

Been eyeing up your best friend’s new dress/top/shoes? Chances are if you ask her she’ll lend it to you, so long as you’re willing to do the same for her! Pooling your (fashionable) resources will give both your wardrobes a new lease of life, and it’s surprising how differently two people will style one item of clothing. All it takes is a belt or a piece of statement jewellery for you to make her piece look like something you just picked up in a cool boutique…the only problems arise when you both want to wear the same thing, but what’s friendship without a few (minor) disagreements?

Find Fashionable Deals Online

If it has to be designer, and it has to be yours, then websites such as The Outnet and Cocosa have a wide range of designer fashion for much less than the RRP. Ebay can also be a goldmine, but do be careful to ensure that what you’re buying is the genuine article – telltale signs of a fake include long shipping periods, bags without the original dustbag and sellers from China trying to shift multiples of the same item. For a one-night-only showstopper, try Girl Meets Dress, where you can rent a designer number for special events. If you want a designer handbag then try fashionhire.co.uk – although it should be pointed out that this isn’t a cheap long-term option!

Shop Around

Bicester Village

If you’ve got the time (and the transport!) head to Bicester Village in Buckinghamshire for loads of designer outlets selling big-names at cut prices. There are also factory stores across the country (such as Mulberry’s in Shepton Mallet and Burberry’s in Hackney). It’s also well worth keeping an eye out for sample sales. These appear regularly in London and you can score genuine designer goods for a fraction of the price.

Take advantage of freebies

The Clinique counter in Selfridges

Most make-up and skincare counters in big department stores will give you a consultation free of charge, and a lot will also offer you samples if you say you want to ‘see how it works for me before I invest.’ If you feel stuck in a make-up rut or want something extra special for a night out then pop along and have your make-up done by a professional. Keep an eye on the products they’re using and if you like the results a quick trip to Boots will mean you can achieve practically the same results for a fraction of the price (try Bourjois and L’Oreal for high-performing, low-price cosmetics).

Get a free (or massively reduced) haircut

Anyone can be a hair model, and salons are always on the lookout for people prepared to entrust their tresses to stylists for training purposes. You can get a free cut and even a free colour, so long as you’re willing to let them do as they will. Warning: not advised for control freaks. If the thought of giving someone else free rein over your hair fills you with dread, log on to Groupon for daily vouchers tailored to your region. These often include hair and beauty treatments, so to feel pampered for a fraction of the normal cost get signed up!

Got any top tips for budget style? Share them with us in the comments box below!

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