Thrifty mothers have offered up their tips for giving themselves an elegant look while buying clothes from budget high street stores and the supermarket.
Taking to Mumsnet to ask for advice on how to classily dress her newly slimmed- down figure whilst on minimum wage, a mother explained she wants to look ‘polished’ but can ‘only afford to shop high street; Primark, TU, Asda, Sainsbos, New Look and the like’.
‘I’m 43 now and after all my life being obese and in horrible relationships I’m finally down to my target weight of 11.5 stone and I’m five foot seven and I also look after my eyebrows these days, something I never did,’ she explained.
‘So is it possible to look half decent and polished on a low income and wearing stuff from the high street?’
She was met with a flurry of responses, with people advising her to buy more expensive clothes second hand, avoid patterns on cheaper clothing and starch thin material to make it look better quality.
Achieve a polished look with a well styled hair cut that does not require frequent trimming, says one mother
Rising to the challenge, one suggested: ‘Choose clothes that are well cut and flattering – I often go for a size up in supermarket clothes so they skim. There are lots of good items in these shops but it does mean digging.
‘Work out what suits you in terms of colour and style. I know that pale pink does nothing for me and spaghetti strap tops are no good any more so I avoid them.’
Another advised: ‘Drink loads of water, as it really helps skin’, and suggested Superdrug and The Ordinary skin care products as ‘good’ and ‘no-nonsense’.
She added: ‘Treat yourself. I buy a 1 litre of Aveda Shampure. OK it’s £45-£50 but it lasts a year and it is the best for my hair.’
Ghostmous3 took to Mumsnet to ask for advice on how to classily dress her newly slimmed down figure whilst on minimum wage and was met with a flurry of responses
WhereAreWeNow wrote that she found that those who looked polished usually have ironed their clothes
Ariela suggested using spray on starch to thicken the appearance of thin looking items of clothing
TEN TIPS FOR LOOKING POLISHED ON A BUDGET:
1. Keep your hair free of split ends, in a low maintenance cut, and always blow dried!
2. Keep nails short with a clear or classic red polish. Or buffed to a shine.
3. Only wear ironed clothing.
4. Spray starch on thin material to make it appear thicker and of higher quality.
5. Don’t buy cheap patterned clothing, the seams sometimes don’t match up and give the game away.
6. Avoid fake leather for bags and belts, if unable to afford real leather look for an alternative material.
7. Buy outlet or second hand quality items from Ebay or Vinted.
8. Avoid wearing clothes with holes, rips or missing buttons.
9. Avoid wearing big brand logos or slogans.
10. Wear simple but well cut clothes, or alter seams to get ill fitting clothes to suit you.
Another offered her fashion tips, saying: ‘I would probably buy dark, block colours from a supermarket.
‘The trouble with florals/prints is that cheap clothes don’t always match up the pattern at the seams, so they won’t look polished. It’s easier to achieve if you stick to simple designs and no random frills/details.’
A fellow commenter wrote: ‘ Eyebrow maintenance is a game changer! Always take your nail polish off when it starts to chip. Look after your shoes and give them a polish now and then.
‘Iron your clothes (I’m convinced this is the only real difference between Kate Middleton and me – pressed creases).
‘A single bright chunky piece of jewellery or a scarf against neutral clothing can brighten up an otherwise basic outfit. And invest in a decent coat in a classic cut and colour for winter. Do not let the cat sleep on it.’
Another user suggested that she invest in some make up, writing: ‘Revolution is a great budget brand. Get a good BB or CC cream, some blusher and mascara.’
They went on to give a full list of their recommended stores for certain items.
‘For clothes go simple, plain colours and good cut. For Jeans go black blue and grey – £19.50 M&S straight, these work with anything.
‘I have belts too. I go for stretch and fabric as I don’t do fake leather. Wear plain well cut tops. Uniqlo are great for this. Also Primark and H&M but size up and just tuck in the front.
‘And for blouses I buy these almost completely from H&M and mostly online. They have amazing sales. Even the non sale tend to be a good price. Currently I am into frills and puffy sleeves and a print with plain bottoms.’
Bellecurves added her humurous take, stating that the the only difference between herself and Kate Middleton was pressed creases. While others showed their support for supermarket buys
The mother added that she tops her look with plain white trainers from Primark, M&S or H&M and relies on getting Fine knits form Zara or H&M (but advises shoppers to size up to give the appearance of quality).
She adds that if you can’t stay away from cashmere then ‘buy it in the sale – alternatively merino wool and Marks and Spencer cashmillon is good.’
To top the look the pound stretching mother advises those who can not afford real leather to avoid it all together: ‘Go for a totally different material, but you can buy leather online at good prices. Look on places like Etsy also TK Maxx is good. I tend to go for grey as it works with all colours if you can only buy one bag.’
For jewellery the polished mother suggests wearing layered necklaces, all at different lengths.
She advises that nails are kept ‘short and painted’ with ‘Rimmel quick dry nail polish’.
Concluding her message the mother adds: ‘Honestly, if your hair is done, I always blow dry properly then the rest will follow.’
Another advised that cheaper clothes can be made to look better by ironing, re-sewing hems where they’re off kilter, and if the material is thin then ‘spray on starch is your best mate.’
She added: ‘Always always polish your shoes! Clean white canvas scuffs with chalk and brush off (buy a block from an equine tack shop).’
While some commenters suggested buying selective low-end pieces to fill her wardrobe, others were against the idea and instead suggested buying expensive clothes secondhand
WhereAreWeNow answered: ‘I’m pretty sure the answer isn’t in buying more stuff. I think buying less stuff but trying to get decently made stuff (not necessarily super expensive designer stuff, just well made classics that don’t fall apart after one wash) in sales etc is a good start. As others have mentioned, get things that suit your shape, style, lifestyle etc.
‘I think the things that make people look polished (and why I don’t look polished) are little things like ironing clothes, polishing shoes, getting a low maintenance hair cut that suits you, etc.’
Rebelwithallthecause said: ‘Polished to me is simplicity, Easy to achieve on a budget.
‘Clean, shiny hair that’s brushed and not full of split ends, Simple make up – clear skin helps to not need too much, Simple plain jewellery, non-patterned clothes, clean shoes, no clothes with stains or holes, Ironed cotton, no visible brands, leather brown or nude bag.’
However one user, by the name of allShoefleur, stated ‘You’re never going to look polished in supermarket clothes’.
Instead they suggested buying second hand on eBay or Vinted.
They added: ‘You’ll look a million times better in a good quality outfit from Jigsaw/Cos etc and if you’re sensible about setting spending limits, it’ll be cheaper than supermarket stuff too.
‘I’ve just bought a beautiful, seemingly unworn blazer from Hobbs for £3.50, for example. I don’t have an innate sense of style so tend to stick to classic cuts/styles but there’s loads out there and it has the added benefit of being better for the environment. I often get comments on my “lovely clothes” and how I must spend a fortune but often my whole outfit has cost less than £20!’
However another user disagreed adding: ‘Look at the cut, material and hang of everything. I’ve some fantastic pieces which look very expensive but aren’t and it’s all because they are cut so well. Personally I think that the best of the supermarkets is Tesco. They often use some really good fabrics.’
MikeUniformMike added: ‘Wear clean clothes with no rips or missing buttons. Don’t wear athleisure unless you do a lot of exercise. Don’t wear big logos or slogans. Wear nice shoes that are clean and comfortable, and reasonably stylish. Buy less but buy better.
‘Have one good coat that is waterproof. Uniqlo is good. Pick a neutral colour. Black nylon tends to look cheap, navy less so.
‘Have clean shiny hair and clear skin. Get a haircut that doesn’t need a trim every six weeks.
‘Make-up does not need to be expensive. Nails look best filed neatly with a clear nail varnish.’