How to look divalicious on a budget

By Hand On The Hip - 5/19/2018


My roommates have always complained that I have way too many clothes! While that is one hundred percent true, I also don't spend too much money on myself, especially not for clothing. I like a good bargain and when I can get a $300 outfit in $3, why the heck not? My blog is all about affordable fashion. You should not be sacrificing your style just because you have only $10 in your pocket. You can make that work. Fashion is not always about Gucci or Prada. So for all you students who are always broke, fashionably challenged and don't wanna waste too much money on clothes and stingy buggers out there, here are some things I have learnt over the years about shopping on a budget.

And while we are on the subject, let me first talk about what I've tried to create here. Recently, I happened to hear about Fashion Revolution and I fully support the movement. One of the things that I usually do to work towards a sustainable wardrobe is to wear the same piece in a trillion different ways. I found this really old, tie-neck satin top I picked up from Tibet Plaza in Brigade Road in 2008 and wore it as a one shoulder top with a high-low skirt from Vero Moda. In my next post, I will show you how I used the same skirt as a tube top and paired it with leggings I got from H&M. I wore these gorgeous earrings from Pipa Bella and some black pumps and was ready to hit the dance floor!

Re-style existing pieces and create new looks

When I was a teenager, I barely got any pocket money. My mum would take me shopping every once or twice a year where she'd buy me Indian clothes in the hope that I'd become a sanskaari beti. But I was sick of it (I still love you mom! Hehe!) and always hoped I could find a way to buy what I wanted. My older cousins always passed on heaps and heaps of clothes they had used and didn't need them anymore and I'd always re-design those clothes. I'd make the sleeves shorter or use sand paper to give my denims that faded effect. I learnt how to sew and I have even transformed a dupatta into a chic skirt. Sometimes even a teeny tiny embroidered flower on the pockets would make a huge difference. You should definitely try DIY-ing your clothes and transform it. For more inspiration, check out this series on Netflix called Girlboss. That girl defines my teen years!

Always hunt for thrift shops or export/import shops

When sewing got a little too tiring, I found my way to Commercial Street and Brigade Road. These streets are full of small stores that sell rejected factory clothes for less than 5-10% of the actual price of the product. I have literally bought skirts for 50 INR! One big tip I could give you in this area is to always buy branded products off the streets. For instance, I have picked up so many pieces from H & M, Top Shop and Atmosphere in Commercial Street. Of course, they're not fake, they may not be as perfect as they seem. They might have a minuscule flower out of place or a button missing. Don't worry about the defects, they may not always be visible to the naked eye. But do wash the clothes before you try them on.

Re-use the same pieces in different ways

After decades of buying cheap clothes and collecting gifts from my massive family, I have encountered a whole new problem - STORAGE! Since I have been constantly on the move from the age of 18, it's super challenging to take me 393864 clothes with me wherever I go. After a lot of thinking and trying to buy some storage boxes, I realized that they best way to go about this is to give some clothes away. Now I think twice before I buy something, even if it's a good deal. Instead, I re-use my clothes in different ways and no one can actually tell it's the same piece I wore last week! Instead of buying clothes, I have started investing in junk jewelry, embellishments, chunky belts, funky scarves and anything that could give my outfit a whole new look.

Hoard on basics

Almost every skirt I own tends to go perfectly well with a black or a white top. I have spaghetti tops, tank tops and tees in almost all basic colors. I have literally worn the same black tankini, two days in a row, with printed palazzos on the first and under a flannel shirt jacket on the second. This will not only help you save space, but also save you the time you'd be wasting deciding what top goes with what skirt, because let's face it, black goes with everything! You could also get some basic bottoms that would go with any printed tops or shirts you buy.


That word is my fave word. Thankfully everything in Sydney is always on sale. I am always on the lookout for some great deals. If you absolutely love the feel of going to a proper store and buying your clothes, then do wait for the sale. Every time there's a big festival coming up, the clothing industry seems to take full advantage of it and putting up huge banners with the words "Upto 70% off" flashing on your faces. I have often found some great pieces during a sale and have hardly paid any money for it.

Online shopping

I don't know about you, but I have always noticed that clothes or shoes or just about anything is at least 10-20% cheaper online than in an actual store. That's probably because online stores don't have to pay heavy rents for the store space. I've heard a lot of people complain about how they are not comfortable shopping online because they have to try it on, not sure of the size etc. But there's always an "exchange" or "return" option, so don't worry about it. You just need to be patient enough and over a period of time, you'll be more comfortable shopping in your PJs from your bedroom than actually walking into a store.

Beg, borrow, steal

I have borrowed clothes from my mom, my dad, my brother, my sister-in-law, my husband, my friends - practically everyone I know! I am absolutely comfortable wearing clothes of any size, as long as it does not end up in a wardrobe malfunction. I urge you guys to do that too, that is if the lender is comfortable with it. You can style them the way you want and don't have to spend a single penny on buying new clothes.

Fashion is not always expensive unless you want it to be. It's all about creating a whole new look with old clothes. I have been working towards contributing to sustainable fashion. Millions of clothes are being thrown away for no logical reason causing a lot of harm to the environment. I know we all love to be in sync with the trends, but how about creating your own? How about creating an off shoulder top from an old kurti instead of buying a new one? Trust me, we'd be doing Mother Earth a huge favor! I know I am still a bit of a shopaholic, but just like everyone else, I try to do my bit too.

Hand On The Hip

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