I have expensive taste and that makes this whole shopping on a budget thing quite tricky. I want to look expensive without paying expensive.
Budgets are personal, and I make a point not to share mine, but we all have some type of boundary to stay within.
Fortunately, there's Zara. Zara actually appeals to my rich style quite a bit, yet the pricing is pretty reasonable. Not all of the pieces are great quality, but a lot of them are. And at that price point, if they last only a few years it's okay.
Fortunately, Zara is now available online. Otherwise I wouldn't have this dress.
I try to be just as selective when I shop less expensive retail stores or consignment shops. You can go overboard regardless of price point.
Questions I ask myself are
1. Do I really need it?
2. Does it fit into my current wardrobe rotation?
3. Will I have to buy anything else to make it work?
4. Does it pass the photo test (pictures do indeed speak louder)
5. Does it make sense with my budget? and is it on my "list" of things I need to complete the current season?
6. What is the quality like?
"Bargain" retail stores, thrifting, and consignment shops can be great options for shopping on a budget, but don't let your guard down. Just because something is name brand and "cheap" doesn't mean it's right for you or your closet.
A few weeks ago I found myself in Goodwill with a vintage Louis Vuitton suitcase in my clutches. It was $80 out of my budget (it was $80, ha!), ripped at the seams, filthy dirty, and...Louis Vuitton. I don't even like Louis Vuitton. So even I have to ask myself these questions because the traps are very easy to fall into!
One more thing, while I'm on the subject (okay, I hardly slept last night and haven't had a lot of coffee, and a lot of this was zooming around my head at 3am...), it takes TIME to build a fleshed out wardrobe. A lot of these items I have, I've had for over a year now. I've been roughly the same size since then, and I've been able to keep many of those pieces in rotation. So don't every feel like you have to "catch up" because it's not a destination. It's a process just like everything else.
Dress: Zara, Shoes: Elizabeth and James (Buffalo Exchange), Ring: gift from my Mama, Bracelets: J Crew and Banana Republic, Earrings: JCP from awhile ago? we wore these to my sisters wedding