Winter is definitely on its way to Sydney, and the last few days have left me chills in my summer clothes.
Since I – like most Australians – spent the fall and last winter on lockdown, my cool-weather wardrobe was in desperate need of an update when the temperatures plummeted. But I didn’t want to break the bank by going out and spending thousands of dollars on a trendy new winter wardrobe from high-end brands.
Instead, I challenged myself to exercise my bargain hunter skills and outfit myself for a week of clothes that would cost me less than $ 60 a day.
That meant my usual fashion haunts were off the table – I couldn’t afford to buy multiple pieces from brands like Kookai or Sheike if I wanted to stay on budget for a full week.
Best & Less, Big W, and Kmart would be my new fashion best friends, and I was surprised to find that they actually had a lot of trendy options that matched my challenge.
I also gave myself a little leeway with the $ 60 rule; if i wore an item more than once i would spread the cost over each day i wore it. I would also use the shoes and accessories I already owned rather than buying new things.
So if I bought a pair of jeans for $ 50 and wore them twice, that would count as $ 25 on the total bill for each day. I’ve always believed that clothes pay off over time, so this gave me the chance to invest in more expensive pieces that I would wear more.
But that didn’t mean that sticking to a budget of $ 60 per outfit was going to be easy …
I had a lot of errands to do on Monday so I kept things relaxed and comfortable with a trend Big W jacket in a pretty pastel check print.
The Shacks seem to be the new “thing” and some of the branded versions can cost well over $ 100, but it was a big deal from Big W for just $ 40. The blue jeans were $ 30 at Best & Less and I bought the t-shirt for only $ 6 from Kmart.
The outfit came out at $ 76 for a wear, but that number changed when I took into account how often I could wear the pieces. I wore each item again during the week, so spread their total cost over the two days. That means Monday’s outfit total was just $ 38. Good deal!
Everyone needs a trusty leather jacket during the colder months, so I took a budget Best & Less PU Aviator Jacket. Although not real leather, it was a lot cheaper than the “real” one and looks just as cool. I paired it with a red plaid shirt and boots for a moto-chic look. Unfortunately when I took off the jacket I looked a bit like an extra The farmer wants a wife.
The faux leather jacket was the star of this outfit and cost $ 55 at Best & Less, where I also got the $ 30 jeans and $ 25 plaid shirt for this outfit.
Since I had worn the jeans once before and wore the jacket again later in the week, what would have been a $ 110 outfit came down to just $ 67.50. Sadly, it was definitely over my budget of $ 60 – oops!
The cigarette is back! I wanted to wear it to the office, so I dressed it the best way I know how; with an all-black outfit. A pair of trendy baggy jeans from Big W and one black shirt with high collar and long sleeves makes the perfect base to show off the pink shirt.
This was my second time wearing this $ 40 jacket, and the top and jeans – both from Big W – were only $ 12 and $ 25 respectively. That brought the outfit total to $ 77, but wearing the jacket and jeans again meant the day’s total was only $ 44.50. Another victory!
This dress was the perfect choice for a fall date! The sheer, layered fabric and pattern made it fun and flirty, while the maxi length and long sleeves kept me warm. There was a drawstring at the waist, but I added a belt for extra definition of the waist. Of course, I had to add the PU jacket for a bit of a “grungy” element – and to keep warm as the temperatures were dropping in the afternoon.
The the dress was only $ 30 from Best & Less, and the jacket – which I also wore earlier in the week – was $ 55. So the total cost of the outfit would have been $ 85, but since I was already wearing the jacket, it came down to $ 57.50.
This Best & Less Vest is the most comfortable thing I have ever put on my body. It was warm, it was cozy, and best of all it was bright red! It’s so easy to adopt neutral, dark tones in the cooler months, but wearing a bright color made me feel a little better. I layered it up with a white top and loose black jeans for a ’90s vibe too.
This cute red cardigan is only $ 35 at Best & Less, while the Big W jeans and Top Kmart were only $ 25 and $ 6 respectively. Overall, this outfit was worth $ 66, but the day’s total came down to $ 50.50.
It turns out that shopping for a winter wardrobe on a budget wasn’t as hard as I thought – but it sure wasn’t easy. I had to be careful to pick out expensive statement pieces that I could wear again throughout the week and then balance them out with inexpensive basics.
My favorite pieces were definitely the Best & Less cardigan and the Big W jacket. Both were cozy and comfy, and were super easy to layer with jeans and basic tops to create a stylish look without breaking the bank.
The Best & Less dress was probably the piece I used the least, but it’s the one I absolutely need for any more dressy occasion in colder weather. You really can’t go without a cute maxi!
I only went over budget for one day, which I consider a total success, but I think I could have saved more money by buying a few great deals like the $ 6 Kmart top. Having them in a few different colors might help me create more outfits than the Best & Less $ 25 Plaid Shirt – but I’ll definitely get a lot of use out of it again.
My best tip for winter shopping on a budget is to invest in a pair of black and blue jeans that you can wear all season. It’s also worth spending a little extra on some nice jackets and coats, like the $ 55 Best & Less Leather Jacket.
The items you can really save money on are layering pieces, like the $ 12 Big W black long sleeve, and basics like the Kmart top.
* The writer received Best & Less clothing for this story.