Fashion magazines loooove the steal vs. splurge editorials. You know the one where they show a celebrity look or street style and then show how you can get the same look for a steal.

These editorials can be so misleading.

Sure, not everyone can afford Balmain and sure there are ways to get the “steal look” and still look like a million bucks. But most of the time the looks these magazines put together are deceitful. Magazines need to create content. And content that promises to resolve our insecurities sells! They take the look, show the splurge deal and then show how to get the look for a steal. This is all good and well because that is the whole business plan of ZARA. But these garments are mostly not shown on people. Rather they are usually flat lays or are just put together with other software tools and editing.

Get the look for a steal is a slippery slope

So the “shop the steal” look is an attractive option and looks like it can totally work. We go out and buy the items and get home only to learn the quality sucks and the garments fit terribly. We end up with piles of cheap, poor quality clothes in our wardrobes that don’t go with anything else. When we wear these clothes we look nothing like what the celebrity or influencer looked like. Because the quality and the way the garment fits is just terrible! You get what you pay for at the end of the day.

Am I saying only go for the splurge option?

That is not what I am advocating, especially not to get into debt to keep up. And I am also not saying that shopping at ZARA & H&M is taboo. But there are solutions to this problem other than buying everything for a steal and at the end spending so much money on absolute rubbish that heaps up and that you have only worn once.

5 Ways to get the splurge look for a steal

No. 1 Get to know & understand YOUR OWN style

This is something really important that you have to establish at some point. When you start approaching 35 it is really time to establish what your style type is. What makes you feel comfortable and what suits you. This way when you shop you can shop responsibly and not chase after those celeb looks that are just not your style. You will see that celebrities each have their own style and their style doesn’t change every week. They have established what they feel and look good in and they stick with that. This is a winning formula. When you have mastered this you will start buying right and you won’t end up with a whole lot of BS in your wardrobe.

No.2 Bargain hunt at the right places

Find the right time and the right place to bargain hunt. Bernhard Baruch famously said that the secret to his wealth is that he buys his straw hats in the fall. When those end of season sales are on, head to the boutiques rather than the Zara’s etc. You will be amazed at what good quality items you can get for a steal! This is really a great piece of advice. These boutiques need to get rid of these items and they get desperate and sell them for nothing. Get your blouses and your jeans and other essential pieces here. There are also websites that sell designer items for less. Don’t just buy it because it has a brand name splashed all over it. Buy if it seems like an investment.

No.3 Make an outfit your own

Instead of copying the exact same outfit or buying the knock-off item to create this celebrity look, search for a similar item. Something that is still a version of this trend, but of better quality. This way you get to still copy the trend by copying the look, but making it your own and in fact creating a whole new trend. This is how influencers get “the look for less” right, by the way. And how trends are started.

No.4 Buy the best you can afford

This is something you hear me say all the time. Paying a little more to get good quality and what you actually want is just so much wiser. Also when you later feel that you don’t want the item it is easier to sell, even if you get a lot less than you paid for it, it is better than nothing and better than ending up in a landfill .

No.5 Accessorise

Make sure that when you wear accessories they don’t look like lucky packet items. I recently bought some items from ZARA online. On the Zara online look book it looked like excellent quality, but when I had it in my hands I was very disappointed and because it was only 20 bucks I didn’t make an effort to return it. Be very careful when you buy accessories because they can make or break an outfit.

About my outfit

This outfit is a perfect example of how I achieved a look for less.

Firstly I know my style, what I like and feel good in. So even when I have a bad hair day I can still look good. This blouse is from Marc Aurel I have had it for a few seasons now. I happened to walk past a boutique that had it on sale. What a deal I got.

This straw bag is from Claudie Pierlot. Everyone in the fashion world is going cray cray for the latest Jacquemus straw bag. I love it too! But for me it is not a priority . Yes it doesn’t look exactly the same, but it is still the same trend and the best quality that I can afford. Some of the straw bags Mango and Zara sell are good quality, but others are really just clearly such poor quality that they will make your outfit look cheap. Be aware of this when you follow these trends.

The white slacks are from See by Chloe. Yes indeed, these aren’t cheap pants. But they fit perfectly and you can spot the quality a mile away. I did not get them on a bargain, but I know my style and I know that this will complement many other items in my closet.

When it comes to accessorising I am an over-achiever. The right accessories can instantly make an outfit look more lavish. Finding something that is classy and not cheap looking is key. If you buy something cheaper, as soon as it starts to look dodgy get rid of it. Or buy second hand. This Chanel chain belt is vintage. I bought it on a website that sells pre-owned items. It really is so worth it, it completely transforms my look .

I want to bring your attention to my blouse. Look how perfectly it fits. Look at the cut and the material and how the buttons don’t look like they are going to pop off any moment and shoot someone in the eye. It is important to be honest with yourself and buy clothes that fit properly. Fit makes a big difference in whether your outfit is going to look cheap or classy.


Finer details to our outfits are so important. Little things make such a difference. Accessories especially bring details to an outfit and make an outfit your own. Just don’t over do it and look like a Christmas tree. Other details are shoes. Go for interesting options. Don’t always buy the “safe” shoe. By now you probably own a lot of “safe” shoes. Consider experimenting with a good quality but interesting shoe? Something else to consider is how to carry your pullover with you. In this outfit example I have my pullover over my shoulders and this is how we would normally wear it. No tying it around your waist please, you are a grown woman ! Another cute and interesting way to wear it is tied under your arm over your breasts


This outfit is outfit #92 in my latest Summer Capsule Wardrobe guide. You can download it for free here SUMMER 2019 CAPSULE WARDROBE GUIDE


For those who are going into Winter now I will have a Winter Wardrobe Guide ready soon.