How Not To Go Into Debt Over Personal Styling

This is the third in a 4-part post series brought to you by ASOS Fashion Finder, dedicated to helping you showcase and promote your personal style through photography, social media and smart spending. [See Parts 1 and 2 here]


A closet full of clothes and nothing to wear. Everyone has faced this problem at least once. Racks upon drawers upon shelves of dresses, pants, blouses, shoes, skirts, sweaters and jackets. It’s like they might as well not exist. You’re uninspired and you need something new. As much as this happens to the everyday non-blogging individual, it happens doubly to personal style bloggers. We often fret that we cannot post unless we’re wearing something new. The trick is make something old look new again, and when you make a new purchase, really make it work.

Here’s IFB’s Guide to Not Going Into Debt Over Personal Styling:

A Blogger's Guide To Personal Style

Believe in the power of the remix.

Sometimes, all it takes to find a renewed wearability in your clothes is some fresh perspective. Browse sites like Pinterest, ASOS FashionFinder, or comb your Tumblr dashboard for inspiration on new ways to wear old clothes. Try wearing a button-down shirt belted over a dress, or pin brooches on your favorite basic jackets. Get creative! Thinking outside the box and being an example of making the most of your wardrobe will place you as an inspiring example to your audience.

Sell your clothes at consignment shops or through closet-sharing apps.

Every now and then, it can be extremely freeing (and lucrative) to purge your closet of those items you rarely wear. It’s a guarantee that you’ve got something hanging in the depths of your closet that you’ve only worn once, but refuse to get rid of – just in case. Let it go! Collect those rarely worn items and take them to a local consignment shop. The return may not match what you paid, but it’s better than letting those pieces collect dust. If you’re super tech savvy (we are bloggers, after all) you can also do this digitally though a closet-sharing app.

Arrange a closet swap with friends or fellow bloggers.

Even if you’re not friendly with local bloggers in your area, you can arrange a closet-swap event with friends or open it up to your community. Have attendees bring items that are only gently worn, and let the fun begin. You and your guests will get new-to-you pieces that will add a versatility to your wardrobe, without spending a dime!

Embrace fast fashion – it’s trendy, not spendy.

A great wardrobe is all about the mix. Styling high-quality, have-forever staples with less expensive on-trend items creates a fun, obtainable ensemble and lets you keep your style constantly evolving without going broke. Shop fast fashion stores and sites for items that you may not wear in a season or two, like printed pants, neon anything, pajama-style pieces, etc. When these pieces go the way of the goucho pant, you’ll be glad you didn’t invest your whole paycheck.

Invest well.

We can’t be frugal all the time. Everyone deserves to splurge once-and-a-while; the key is to do it wisely. Investment pieces are the ones you’ll have forever. The pieces that transcend the trends are built to last. Until your disposable income is comfortably, you know, up there, reserve your big ticket purchases to accessories, shoes and classics. Why? Quite simply: they will always fit! A handbag, a pair of shoes, sunglasses, jewelry – even if your size fluctuates, these pieces will always work. If you’re going to spend big on apparel: think about jackets, blazers, a perfect black dress or a cashmere sweater. Quality is key!

Don’t let blog envy cloud your judgement.

This is a tough one. As bloggers, by nature, we like to browse the blogs of our peers. Some of them have budgets far different from ours, and some just started out with a base wardrobe to kill for. Whatever the reason may be, letting blog envy get the best of you will only cause frustration. Focus on your style, your life and what’s real for you. Blowing your whole budget on an Alexander Wang skirt doesn’t make sense for you, and it won’t make sense to your readers, either. Appreciate other bloggers’ style, but never forget your own.

Quite simply, don’t buy on credit.

Don’t buy things you can’t afford! It’s so easy. There’s no reason to put yourself under a mountain of credit card debt so you can have more followers on your blog. At the end of the day, your audience wants what’s real – they want you. When you want make an investment purchase – save up the money. Take a little out of your paycheck each month and put it into savings. Pick up an extra shift. Babysit. Do what it takes to earn the money, so you can make your purchases guilt-free!

How do you balance your spending when keeping up a style blog? Do you plan out a budget or set limits for yourself? Share your tips in the comments!


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29 Responses

  1. Yasmeen (Castle Fashion)

    Blog envy is a killer! I like to take a few weeks off blog-reading sometimes so I can refocus. They can be inspiring but they can also push you in a less creative direction. Sometimes you an outfit and end up replicating it in your next blog post…the only setback is that blogs all end up looking the same. I think blog-reading hiatuses are the best 😛

    And, yea, I never use credit cards for clothes/shoes. That’s just a silly path to crisis.

    Castle Fashion

  2. Aves Gry

    A great tip and reminder for bloggers to remember to do things that make them feel happy and not for the readers-of course the readers are important but not when you’re broke and living off of ramen noodles trying to pay off bills.

    I am new to the fashion blogging community and I sometimes do feel like in order to have something to post about, I need something new. I hope from reading this, I will be able to remind myself: I don’t need to spend money constantly on clothes just to get something on the blog or get followers.

    xoxo, Aves Gry

  3. Whitney

    I’m a thriftaholic, so my budget thanks me every time I shop! Usually, when I browsing blogs for inspiration, and I want to recreate a high end look, I use pieces that I’ve found in a second hand store. It would probably be a good idea for me to resell some of my best clothes, but I have a hard time parting with any piece of clothing that I own because most times, I’ve hunted for it and its special to me.

    • CamMi Pham

      Me too, there are so many great find at the thrift store. And if you know how to shop you can find designer clothes for nothing. Same here I have a connection w my clothes there is history

  4. Aimée DesOrmeaux-Lewis

    I needed this post BADLY! I suffer from blog envy especially since my blog is only in its first year. Thank you so much for this article! Love you guys XOXOXOXO

  5. Melody

    These are all really good tips. I don’t have a huge budget so a lot of the time I’ll browse blogs and sites, find things I like then look for them at thrift store. A lot of the time I find everything I’m looking for! My girlfriends and I have clothing swaps every few months too.

  6. Ayumi

    Totally agree to everything you said! Jeah, blog envy is a killer…. It’s just our nature to get envy over someone’s Alexander Wang, Hermes, Christian Louboutin, etc… But this article is a good reminder to keep true to myself. 🙂 After all, I”m currently living off of my husband’s income. 😛 I’m a new blogger too so it’s a good advice to start off with. Thanks!

    Oh, and how I keep my budget? I think I’ll try mixing my old clothes. I have a lot of old clothes that are still usable w/out looking “out of trend” 🙂


  7. Tara

    Blog envy IS killer! It’s really hard with beauty blogs when your contemporaries are getting things sent to them for free by companies. How can I compete with no budget vs. small budget? I am trying to be creative- better photography, not using stock photos, creative writing, and being honest. Since I don’t have people sending me stuff, if I don’t like something, I say I don’t like it. (I’m looking at you Thakoon for NARS Amchoor polish!) It’s so hard, but I look to invest in companies who are less free with their goodies that bloggers tend not to buy /cover as a result.

  8. Gold Rush Exchange

    You can still have great pieces and not go into debt. I pride myself and stores on the fact that we offer beautiful one of a kind jewelry that is budget friendly. I have worked with the chains and the department stores the markups are crazy. Shop local.

  9. Kashara

    This was a great post. I must admit that I do get blog envy from time to time, but in the end I just take time to go through past outfit posts that I liked and if that doesn’t make me feel better, then I just remix my clothes or go to the local thrift stores or consignment shops. I always find great, classic pieces there for cheap:)

  10. Ivette

    I find this post very helpful. I must admit though I don’t get blog-envy and I’m a bit surprised that most bloggers do. Maybe we focus labels more than we should. I’ve always thought that the most important thing about an item of clothing is that it looks good on you, it fits perfectly or charmingly imperfect AND if it happens to be a Chanel – great, if not – who cares, you look great in it.
    As for shopping on a tiny to non-existent budget, I agree – the thrift-store is the place to go.

  11. Japna

    I know what you mean when you speak of unused pieces in my closet!! As a new blogger it was so easy to get carried away while shopping, thinking it would make my posts more interesting to be on trend and all. But then I figured my reader weren’t interested in all the new stuff I kept buying, but more in how I remixed the stuff I had.
    Now I go on a shopping detox from time to time, and it’s helped me control my impulses and save up for quality purchases.

  12. steph

    I think another thing to consider is to not always follow trends and go your own way. Bloggers who follow trends all tend to look the same after a while – just because everyone has a pair of JC Litas doesn’t mean that you have to as well. Originality is key!

  13. Laura

    Love this post! I have a few simple rules about how to shop. Firstly, get to know your wardrobe. A pair and a spare’s wardrobe rehab gives amazing advice on how to find out your core style and know what you have or don’t have in your wardrobe. Secondly, anything that is a trend piece, try and thrift it or DIY it! It makes your wardrobe more individual, plus you can pass your tips on to others. Finally, I think it is really important in blogging to know your budget. If you can afford lots of new things, thats great. If you can’t think how you can make that fun: kendi everyday’s 30×30 challenge, remixing, diy tutorials. A low budget doesn’t have to mean low style, just like a high budget doesn’t give you style!

  14. Denise

    Oh boy. Style bloggers need to keep things in perspective and not ruin their financial futures to compete with others’ outfits. Not being able to get a mortgage down the road is not worth a few compliments on your blog every week. If you find yourself getting in over your head, take a step back and have a good think about what you’re doing. You can tell who’s the mum here… 🙂

  15. Adela

    I like to be few investment pieces when I can, often buy designer items in sales and wear mostly high-street. Zara for example is amazing and proves you don’t have to spend a fortune to look good.
    Adela xx

  16. Anthea

    Great read. Am a big believer in thrifted items. It might not get as many searches as big ticket high label items, but that’s not what fashion is about. It’s about putting amazing pieces together that are inspiring and affordable!

  17. Oceana

    Thanks so much for this. I finally figured out that I had to set a budget. I’m a ecofashion writer, so it’s generally hard to find a deal. I try to stay around $500 per month. I love the idea about refreshing old items from your wardrobe. Going with weekly themes was the direction I was headed, so thanks for the validation. Yay!

  18. Marie

    I actually found out that if you want a personal and exciting wardrobe, the way can very well be thrifting! I’m a hard core thrift-shopper/second hand-shopper, which has made me quite stingy, so when I’m shopping I always think “could I get this for less at a thrift store or sew it myself?”. If an item isn’t special or basic enough, I’d never spend a lot of money on it. I buy lots of clothes every month, but the fact that I buy thrift and second hand helps saving money and getting more for less. When it comes to clohtes shopping, I havent spent more than about 60 dollars for a single item for months, but I’ve expanded my wardrobe significantly, anyway.

  19. Emily Ulrich

    I could never let myself get deep into the sea of credit… way too dangerous. But, of course, feeling uninspired by my wardrobe seems like a recurring theme in my life. At least recently. I like these tips, deifnitely some to keep in my breast pocket for later.

  20. Nicole Feliciano

    What about doing a fashion shoot in a dressing room! A fun way to literally “try on” fashion” for free. Plus it is great advertising for the stores.

  21. The Guilty Hyena

    Sometimes I do get concerned whether my blog is materialistic, I try and avoid that and concentrate on evoking people imaginations than merely focusing on labels.

    There are some super thrifters in the blogosphere that demonstrate you can buy on a budget.

  22. Corrine/Frock & Roll

    Terrific tips, Taylor 🙂

    I’m a very frugal shopper. The majority of my wardrobe is thrifted or it’s come from some exceptional sales, and I’m also a BIG fan of clothing swap parties 🙂

  23. CamMi Pham

    I find having a NO BUY MONTH would help a lot. It force you to go back and try to figure out new way to wear your clothes. You have to learn how to work with what you have.

  24. Shophopper

    I’m sorry, but I find it shameful this article encourages us to ’embrace fast fashion’. Really? Let’s all embrace bad working conditions, factory fires and child labour. Let’s cheer for underpaid home workers. Let’s ignore the environmental costs and basic rights like, I don’t know, unionisation and the right to take a break to fucking pee. I like IFB, but this kind of attitude seriously pisses me off. Where are your ethics articles on this kind of thing? Can’t they go a little further than debating whether or not to accept free goodies?

  25. Amber

    Nice tips! I like both expensive and inexpensive clothing so I do the high low mix alot. I’m also into vintage as well so that always throws some extra flair into the mix. Accessories are key though tis true! You can wear the same outfit a million times but if your accessories are different it will never look the same! Quality is key which can be pricey but not all the time. Scouring local shops, flea markets, vintage stores, etc are perfect for finding those unique and affordable pieces that are AMAZING in craftsmanship. I’ve amassed a neat collection of unique jewelry over the years (which I now sell at let me tell you, the hunt is a blast! Great post!!!

  26. Elaine C

    I tend to buy stuff that can I can style for work and play. Because what is the point if you are going to wear it once or twice especially if you spend alot on it? I try to make sure that I will wear it 4-5 years down the line although often your style/mood/body changes.

    I’m still wearing tops that I have had since HS!!! That was about 8 years ago!! Lol and they still haven’t worn down!!