Hello. Some women know how to put clothes together in a way that makes you feel like they spend hundreds of thousands on their wardrobe, when in fact they don't. We see her all the time. Always crisp and well put together. Her hair is immaculate, her feet look so clean, like you can eat off them, her watch is Bvlgari and you can smell the leather that is her handbag a mile away. She wears white a lot and it never turns dull yellow or gets stained. She has you convinced that she must have a walk in wardrobe filled with every designer brand. That her look must take millions of Naira to achieve and maintain. What you may not realise is that this socialite look, this Lisa Folawiyo, Nike Oshinowo or Kate Middleton look can be achieved by just following a few basic rules.
The most important thing with this look is the quality of your clothing and accessories. Clean lines, good cut and finishing made with good fabrics are key. These cannot be compromised if you want to have that 'expensive' look. In this day and age, however, you don't need hundreds of thousands of Naira to get that well tailored look. With brands like Next, Zara and French Connection, you can get clothes that look expensive without the price tag. Keep the style simple, you want to avoid trends. Trends have an expiration date and will make you look dated after a while.
Another thing is to always calculate cost per wear. I for example, have no problem spending a good amount of money on quality Jeans. The fact that I will wear it all the time, that the fabric is luxurious and the cut is perfection means that I am very willing to see it as an investment. The same goes for my watch and my handbag. The key here is that to look expensive, there a few things that you cannot cut corners on. Know what they are and invest in them. The key, when you are on a budget, is to know when to buy. A quality leather handbag can be bought for the equivalent of $200 and less at the right time of the year. Look out for periods when shops are clearing old stock out to restock for the new season. Also, look out for people and brands that sell good quality clothes for very good prices. There is a lot to be said for people who sell from home, their cars or online because, in a lot of cases, since they don't have the overhead of big stores, they tend to be cheaper. A good number of online shops are now available in Nigeria so you can give them a go. A lot of them allow you to pay money into their account, for those afraid to give their bank details on a website. Just do your due diligence to make sure the site is legit.
There is a lot to be said for bulk buying. Say you have come across that perfect pair of Jeans that makes you look slim and your behind look fabulous. It's the right wash, length and the fabric is superior. It will be a good idea to buy a couple. The same can be said for all your basic; white shirts, ballet flats, tank tops. That way, you always have a new pair to bring out as they wear out. If it makes you look so fabulous, you never want to be without it and you never want to continue wearing it after it has lost it's luster.
Take proper care of your stuff. Always read the care instruction before you buy an item to be sure that you don't end up with clothes that you can't afford to maintain. The reason is that caring for your clothes and leather goods in the correct way help them last a lot longer. For example, hand washing your 'Dry Clean Only' silk blouse will wear the fabric out really fast. Also, avoid bleach as it is very harsh on fabric. Instead wash your whites in hot water with detergent and a bleach alternative like vinegar. Be very careful to separate and wash like colors together and if you use a washing machine, wash each item in the correct setting. Do not wash delicates and Jeans together nor should you wash them with the wrong setting.
When it comes to beauty, you need to take care of the basics. Have a manicure and pedicure every few weeks and style your hair as and when due to keep you looking clean. Also, taking care of your skin; cleansing, exfoliating, and using a good moisturizer help you look bright and beautiful. Your hair should always be shiny and neat. Make up should be natural looking and applied on a clean face. Do not forget your deodorant and perfume as nothing spoils a fab look faster than a bad smell.
Let me end by giving you a list of what I feel you should splurge on and what you can save on. You should splurge on your classic pieces; neutral colored Cocktail dress, handbag, sunglasses, wrist watch, blue Jeans and neutral Ballet flats or Pumps. These are the things that you will reach for all the time. You need to make sure that their quality will withstand the continuous wear. Besides, we can all spot cheap a mile off. You can always save on items that you will not wear so often. Colored shoes and handbags, tops, dresses and accessories because since you probably buy lots of different styles of them, you don't wear them as much. Like I said earlier, there are good brands that sell designer quality at high street prices. Look into that and find out where you can get them for a reasonable price.
I hope I have succeeded in adding some measure of value. Remain fabulous.