Lipstick Effect: Upgrade Your Wardrobe for Less

In today’s economy, women may have to cut back on big-ticket-item spending. Luckily, wearing the latest designer clothes isn’t the only way to stay fashion-forward. Cosmetics are a less expensive way to revamp any outfit and women are finding inventive and creative ways to look great without going into debt. Called the Lipstick Effect, this shift in spending during economic downturns shows a trend in women wanting to look like a million bucks, without spending a fortune.

Below are tips for upgrading wardrobes, without breaking the bank.

Organize outfits
The first step in looking better for less—inventory and organize the pieces you already own! Fully utilize the closet and storage space available to you, switching out pieces by season (storing bathing suits in winter, sweaters in summer, etc.). If possible, make essential pieces – jackets, jeans, tops – available at a glance, so you don’t miss an option or potential combination in the morning.

Simple things
Once you’re organized, find small changes that can keep your look current, such as new lipstick colors and the latest nail trends. Buying smaller items such as cosmetics can give you the rush of shopping, without blowing your budget, and will keep your look up-to-date. Nail art, whether it is bold colors, shatter polish or glitter accents, can be done at home, avoiding the expensive salon.

Must haves
Identify key pieces in your wardrobe that are missing, such as a versatile black dress, a structured blazer and a perfectly fitting pair of jeans. By filling your essential gaps, you can start pairing existing items in your wardrobe more easily, making many outfits out of just a few must-have pieces.

Bargain shopping
Friends don’t let friends pay retail. With bargain stores like TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, Nordstrom Rack and factory outlet stores, paying full price for designer fashion is completely unnecessary. Bargain stores might take more effort and time spent digging through each rack, but Carrie Bradshaw put it best – “Shopping is my cardio.”

Thrifting
Local thrift stores, like Broad Ripple Vintage and Thrifty Threads in Castleton, are also great places to find vintage or used fashions. Consignment shops and second-hand stores often have hidden gems that will make you stand out of the crowd. Anyone can get a Michael Kors sweater at a department store, but the feeling of pride when you pay $3 for a vintage MK at the local Goodwill will keep you warm all winter.

Resell un-necessaries
A fashion rule that still holds true: if you haven’t worn it for a calendar year, get rid of it. Even if the dress is Cynthia Rowley and an awesome color, if it doesn’t fit you the way you want it to, you’ll never wear it. Donate clothes to Goodwill for a good cause and a tax write-off, or resell to a second-hand retailer for a return. With designer handbags and other long-lasting pieces, sell them on eBay for the highest return. You’ll reduce clutter so that you can see the clothes you’ll actually wear and maybe make some extra cash!

Document favorites
Each time you put together an outfit that you just love, take a picture of it. Apps such as Cloth will organize them for you as well, so that when you’re running late or at a loss for style, you can look back at outfits that made you look great and you already own. Make sure to snap accessories, nails, make-up – anything that will be a reminder of a haute look in a pinch.

Thrifty styleites get a thrill from looking fabulous without breaking the bank. Simply taking control of your style and adding key pieces and unique accents can make all the difference for turning heads this fall.

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