Be Stylish AND Frugal This Holiday Season! Vicky Oliver #GuestBlog

Author and guest blogger Vicky Oliver is here to show you how to save some $$$ and dress well for the holidays. Borrowing clothing (particularly accessories), vintage or gently used clothing finds and sample sales are great ways of saving $$$. Check out what Vicky has to say.. you might just learn something!

Be Stylish AND Frugal This Holiday Season
By Vicky Oliver


It’s holiday time, like it or not. Everywhere you go, jazzy holiday jingles and dazzling storefront decor remind you that it’s time for parties and shopping. The problem is, you don’t have a lot of money to spend on looking fabulous and stylish. What will you do?

No worries. Try these frugalista shopping tips and you’ll turn heads.

Avoid fickle fashion.
If you need to put together one or two nice outfits for upcoming holiday get-togethers, stay away from super trendy items. When your budget is as constrained as a pair of Spanx, you’ll get more stretch out of a style that will still be “in” next season. For women, this might mean investing in one classic jacket that can dress up a pair of jeans and high heels, or that turns a pencil skirt and plain shirt into a knockout ensemble. For men, same thing. Find a great jacket that converts an ordinary shirt and pants into party attire.

Beware of alteration “add-on” costs.
Let’s say you find a great item on sale at a high-end department store, but the fit is a little off. Using a department store’s tailoring operation may cost a lot more than you bargained for. Be sure to discuss additional charges before the in-store tailor raises the hemline or shortens the sleeve length. You don’t want to lose an arm and a leg along with that half-inch off. You may be better off buying the item “as is,” and then bringing it to an upscale drycleaner who has a good tailor on staff.

Stay out of the outlets.
Bargain hunters liken outlet shopping to a big treasure hunt. They believe they’ll find something amazing for 50% off. Today, 90% of the merchandise sold in outlets is manufactured for the outlets, so if it’s really cheap, you really will get what you pay for. You’re much more likely to find a well-made, affordable piece that will last a lifetime if you do your treasure hunting in the designer section’s sales rack in a big department store.

Buy your power color.
Pay attention to compliments. If more than three people tell you that you look stunning in that burgundy sweater, chances are you’ve stumbled onto your power color. Find accessories–a scarf and some earrings, perhaps–in that shade and you’ll look smashing without spending a fortune. A man can do the same thing with a shirt and sweater of complimentary shades of burgundy. Looking well put-together is cheaper than wearing expensive threads.

Skimp on “invisible” items.
Save money on all items of clothing that are either hidden or usually go unnoticed. Underwear, socks, and pantyhose are examples. So are hats, scarves, and gloves. But believe it or not, one of the best items of clothing to skimp on is formal attire. That’s because people assume if you’re at a fancy cocktail party, your dress is expensive. Buy an inexpensive party dress but spend money on your shoes. For both men and women, expensive shoes can make any outfit look like a million bucks.

Visit street vendors and fairs. Sidewalk vendors and craft fair vendors often carry imported or one-of-a-kind items that are cheap. Also, these vendors are usually more open to bargaining. Be on the lookout for something you love, and try to buy two for the price of one. An Afghani wool cap, a handmade leather belt, or a colorful South American shawl could be a great gift for someone on your list.

Do a shop and swap with friends.
Invite three to five friends who wear about the same size as you to a swap meet at your place. Ask them to bring new or like-new items of clothing they’re willing to swap. Serve up some spiked hot chocolate and let the swapping begin. You’ll get rid of some pieces you never wear, and acquire new ones that will spiff up your wardrobe. Best of all, it’s free.

Don’t get knocked out by knockoffs.
With designer knockoffs, it’s essential to know what you’re getting. Basically, if the price is too good to be true, it’s because the fabric or material isn’t genuine. Look at labels. What’s the item made of? What’s the lining made of? With today’s synthetic materials looking more and more like real leather, silk, or velvet, it pays to really examine any clothing item before buying it. A well-crafted fake could save you a fortune, but a poorly made forgery is always a waste of money.

Get social with your favorite designers and stores.
Stores and designers reward loyalty. Does your go-to designer have a Twitter feed? Follow her! Does that cute shop around the corner have a Facebook page? Be sure to like it. When you’re part of their social media following, designers and stores will make sure you’re the first to know about sales, presales, trunk sales, and friends-and-family days.

Thanks to Vicky Oliver for these great bargain-hunting tips. It’s worth getting dressed up for the holidays! It’s not worth breaking the bank or burning a hole in your credit card!

Vicky Oliver is a leading career development expert and the multi-best-selling author of five books, including her newest, >Live Like a Millionaire (Without Having to Be One) (Skyhorse, 2015). She is a sought-after speaker and seminar presenter and a popular media source, having made over 700 appearances in broadcast, print, and online outlets. For more information, visit

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