16 tips to dressing like a fashion editor on an entry-level salary

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The tips and tricks to make your outfit look more expensive than it is and up your style game – even when you're strapped for cash.

Dressing well and looking sharp every day when you don’t have the pay packet to match can feel overwhelming, but hey girl! It’s 2017 and these days you just need a few tips to get you started and you’re well on your way to being chic-as-hell all day, every day. It’s all in the execution.

Here are 16 tips and tricks to make your everyday dressing a cinch and look more expensive than it is.

Mix high with low

Mixing designer pieces with fast fashion items is a trick that every fashion girl uses. Stores that specialise in fast fashion (think the H&Ms and Zaras of the world) pump out on-trend pieces, continually making it easy to stick with current trends all the while looking like you’ve just stepped off the latest runway. Offset the cheaper $20 dresses with a staple leather jacket you saved up for.

Wear monochrome

There’s no doubt that black looks polished – stick to one colour and mix textures to add a wow element.

Shop for vintage

Here’s where you can pick up a bargain. Scour vintage and second-hand stores for old band tees or leather mini skirts. Hot tip: you can hustle too!

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Save your pennies and invest in good quality footwear

Investing in nice shoes is a sure way to look luxe when you’re on a budget. When going down the casual route pair chic leather sandals and shoes with minimalist items, style white leather trainers with any type of shift dress and wear leather boots with jeans and a crisp white tee. Stepping into a pair of fancy heels will up-style your dresses.

Create wishlists

Go to every favourite store you have online, from Net-A-Porter to H&M, create wishlists of the pieces you want and pounce on them the moment they go on sale. Follow their accounts on social media and subscribe to their newsletters so you’re in the loop!

Shop the sales

The key to sale shopping is going in with a good understanding of what’s missing from your wardrobe, and a budget. And sticking to it! Avoid fancy things that you might not actually wear (we all have that one amazing dress in the back of our closet, hanging with the price tag still on it!).

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Elevate your look with investment pieces

Make a list of the pieces missing from your wardrobe and slowly invest in those. A leather belt, a statement coat, boots and bags are the pieces that are made to last – and won’t go out of style if you shop right. But for anything expensive, buy in neutrals. Forget the highlighter bag that you like – it might be this season’s IT bag but trust us, it’ll be old news in a flash.

It’s all in the tailoring

If you find something in a sale that’s one size up, snap it up and have it altered to fit you perfectly.

Wear camel colours

Camel/caramel/beige is a hue that looks expensive, but can be found on the cheap at all your fast fashion faves.

Search for denim

Don’t go wild buying expensive denim. Today there’s a wealth of options that look great and won’t break the bank! When you find something that’s the perfect fit, buy two pairs.

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Buy a blazer

You can pick up a sleek blazer on the cheap at almost any fashion retailer. Again, black is a safe bet!

And on that note, mend mend mend

If you keep a special garment in good condition, it can last a lifetime. Frequent the dry cleaner, have boots reheeled, jackets patched and rips sewn back up rather than passing it on.

Wear minimal jewellery

Wearing out-there costume jewellery looks cheap. Opt for sweet and delicate pieces.

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Cute bags are always in

Save your pennies and splurge on buying a buy-now-wear-forever bag. When you’re choosing a bag that’s more expensive, find something that you can wear every day and easily fits into your current wardrobe.

Go strapless

If you’ve bought a cheap bag that has a chain for the strap, remove it or tuck it into the purse. Cheap chains are a total giveaway!

Lastly, raid mum’s wardrobe!

Belts, cosy sweaters, bags and denim; mum’s been through every trend too and if you’re lucky she’ll have some of those key pieces tucked in the back of her closet just waiting for you to dig out.

The stores to bookmark:

The stores to start wish-listing (and regular sale scouring):

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Doone Roisin

Doone Roisin is the social media butterfly and a Contributing Fashion Editor at finder.com.au. She's an online shopping enthusiast ready to show you what to buy and how to wear it, the best sales around town and insider tips to make note of.

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