Job interviews, work days, weddings, graduations...any of these formal occasions require that you wear classy clothing. Fashionable clothes are very expensive, though, and for a frugal lifestyle, these are not expenses that easily fit into the typical budget. There are ways you can be dress well without having to spend a ton of money, from varying the less expensive aspects of your wardrobe to retooling used clothing. Here are some tips if you're looking to dress smart without spending a ton.
Though you may not get the latest fashions, if you start using thrift stores to buy all of your dress clothes, you'll save so much money, it will make your head spin! Unless you work in an industry where up-to-date fashion is legitimately important, few people will even notice that you're wearing last year's pattern or style. Smaller boutiques may have some more specialty items, but larger chain stores are easier to shop, as they organize more thoroughly, making finding what you want much easier.
Buying more of the less expensive items to round out your wardrobe allows you to vary your outfits without having to buy several suits or expensive dresses. For men, purchase dress shirts (preferably at a thrift store) and ties, which you can match in nearly infinite combinations under the same suit to project a very different image each time. For women, camis, thin under-shirts, and accessories like hats can be layered to create a variety of outfits.
You can also utilize more casual options, like a dress shirt and jeans, for situations that require a clean-cut look but don't ask for a suit or dress. Weddings today are more casual than in past decades, so you can probably get away with putting minimal but obvious effort into looking good.
Try retooling old clothing -- buy an old suit and have it tailored to fit instead of purchasing a new one; add a ribbon or two to a secondhand evening gown to make a nice dress; or patch up the holes in dress shirts and always wear them under a jacket that hides the patches.
If you can learn some light sewing, you can make good clothes out of almost anything. This is how you can make your own fashions -- by combining other items of clothing that you buy for dirt cheap at garage sales and thrift stores. Check fashion magazines to see what kinds of styles are in vogue and mimic them.
Garage sales are a great resource for someone living frugally, and for some awesome free resources to help you in your garage sale expeditions, check out our main site at GarageSaleCow.com. We'd love to see you there!