'Buy less and wear clothing more' - style expert

Comparing prices online and visiting second-hand clothing stores can help people look stylish without breaking the bank.
Comparing prices online and visiting second-hand clothing stores can help people look stylish without breaking the bank. Photo credit: Getty.

Material possessions, such as cars and clothing decrease in value soon after buying them, but as first impressions count, it can be important to invest in looking good.

Living in New Zealand no longer limits access to fashion as online shopping options continue to increase. High competition allows people to shop around - and that includes looking at second-hand clothing to help both the environment and the back pocket.

Newshub spoke to a style consultant and the manager of Recycle Boutique for tips on how to look good for less.

For people wanting to curb their spending on clothes, Jackie O'Fee, owner of Signature Style, said there's never been a better time.

"My top tip for looking stylish on a budget is to buy less and wear clothing more.   

"Shops such as BooHoo, ASOS, BNKR and Topshop have current season looks at great prices."

Although the challenge is finding quality clothing at good prices, many online retailers have upped their game on returns.

O'Fee says that people should head straight to the 'sale' tab on designer websites - or pound the pavement and visit sale racks for bargains.

"The Global Financial Crisis changed the way we shop and the way retail works, as retail chains [usually] have some form of offer.

"Garments on sale racks are often unsold as they have no 'hanger appeal', but as clothes are made for bodies - they come to life when worn.

"Try them on," O'Fee urges.

Buying in second-hand stores

As a society, we're slowly coming around to supporting the environment and local second hand clothing stores are an ideal place to go.

"[From second-hand stores], people can create a unique look that's carefully curated, rather than purchased in stores the same as their peers," O'Fee said.

Mark Cowie, general manager at the Recycle Boutique, said that now, people are much more in tune with sustainable fashion, which is fuelling demand for second-hand items and causing people to re-evaluate how they buy.  

"Statistics show that second-hand clothing will be larger than fast fashion within ten years," Cowie said.

"[Within the Recycle Boutique], American vintage is a popular section  and we [regularly stock labels such as] Karen Walker, Ruby, Ralph Lauren, Moochi, Sass and Bide and Tommy Hilfiger," Cowie added. 

In addition to helping the environment by reducing landfill, the draw-card to buying second-hand are the huge savings on retail costs.

"At Recycle, [clothing is] generally a third of the retail price. 

"It's better for the environment and [shoppers are] supporting the local community of recyclers. 

"We encourage a circular fashion economy: if [people] buy something, [we suggest they] make way for it in their wardrobe by selling something else," Cowie suggested.

Figure-flattering style tips

As every piece of clothing is unique and doesn't suit every body, O'Fee suggests that people dress with this in mind.

"Print [styles] hide figure challenges, [the material] stays cleaner longer and is more interesting.

"Wear a print that suits you: if you're petite, wear a smaller print or curvy figures can go larger," O'Fee advised.

Another style tip when adding colour is to go lighter or place prints to draw the eye to certain areas. 

"[To balance] larger thighs [for example], wear print on top and keep the bottom half simple."

People who lack in waist definition should avoid large tight belts and choose clothing that creates shape through the torso.

"Tailored blazers, fit and flare dresses are examples of [good choices]," O'Fee added.

The modern workplace is ditching the suit and tie in favour of 'smart casual' - however, there's a subtle difference to the type of clothing people typically wear out with friends.

"Choose work clothes with a degree of formality," O'Fee suggests.

"[Choose] more formal jackets, tailored trousers and slightly longer skirts."

When putting the total look together, the small things shouldn't be forgotten.

"Don't forget the finishing touches, such as jewellery and the right shoe: don't undermine a great outfit by neglecting these," O'Fee advised.

Environmentally-conscious people having a wardrobe cleanout ahead of summer are advised to mend, upcycle, give clothing away - or use the material to make something new.

As online shopping and second-hand clothing provide the option to try out different looks, whilst comparing prices and spending less, for people wanting to look stylish for less, there's never been a better time.