How To Look Polished Without Breaking the Bank

How To Look Polished Without Breaking the Bank

Fashion can be bought.
Style one must possess.
- Edna Woolman Chase

Powerful words yet they speak so much truth. There is often a common misconception I find when meeting with a client for the first time, that they believe there is a need to have an exuberant budget for purchasing or by simply investing in designer pieces will automatically allow them to 'to look stylish’.

Like I use with all my personal styling clients, here are my 6 top stylist tips to gather understanding and clarity to allow you to confidently create a polished and styled presence without breaking the bank!

First look at where your lifestyle is at right now:
Have you started a new job and finding your personal style isn’t really portraying the way you want to be perceived?

-Are you a mum who’s children have just started school and it now lives you in limbo land of where your personal style is?

-Are you a tradie who is transitioning into a corporate role?

-Or perhaps you need to up your game for the quest of a new position?


We all flick through magazines, scroll instagram and look to the celebrities for fashion inspiration and sit in ore of their look. We ponder over the fact we would love to be portrayed in the same manner; polished, well put together and simply effortless. Though, I’m going to be very honest with you right now….. simply buying a gorgeous and iconic Balmain Blazer, Louis Vuitton bag or wearing a signature Hugo Boss suit alone, isn’t going to instantly transform your style and give you a polished look.

 One of the most important factors is to know how it is you wish to be perceived in the area of your lifestyle you are feeling is lacking.

Is it for an event, your work wardrobe, smart casual or generally a few areas? We all see trends come and go and by no means can style be put into a hardcase manual on should and shouldnot’s, as really the rules are there to be broken in your personal style!
Though, what you do need to establish for yourself though are guidelines.


If you’re seeing a lot of animal print coming through the street style, see it everywhere on styled store mannequins though you’re not sure if are ready to integrate it as a whole look, or can’t wear full animal print to the office, then maybe you can find an animal print top under a plain black blazer.
Prehaps you’re not a fan of wearing pants? Then embrace different silhouettes of skirts and how you can integrate those pieces into your lifestyle by dressing them up or down.
Do you find a plain grey suit with black shoes reminds you of your grandfather? Prehaps dress down the suit with a white t-shirt and sneaker so you allow the trend to suit your lifestyle without the overwhelm.

That being said there is a difference in knowing what works for you and that may be jeans and a white collared shirt, smart, polished though may not be relevant for every occasion.

Seeking the expertise from a fashion expert, like a personal stylist in the form of a style consultation could be the best way for you to find out what truly works for your body shape, personality and lifestyle needs. Though also will save you time and money when you are out shopping and also give you the tools to mix and match your items in your wardrobe to create more looks!

Source: Pinterst

Source: Pinterst


Fabric plays a huge part in looking polished, stylish though also getting the longevity out of your items. How many times have you bought a piece of clothing that looked amazing when you first wore it, though by the second or third time it’s looked worse for wear?
Super important to get to know your fabric compositions as they shed light around how they will sit after you have had them on for an hour, or once the starch has washed out.

The fabric is also a key area to look into when you are purchasing items of clothing. If you are someone who doesn’t enjoy laundering or has time, there is no point owning a dry clean only dress that you are wearing frequently, because you will either stop wearing it or will end up turning into an expensive cost per wear from dryc cleaning costs.
The quality of fabric also needs to be monitored on your worn pieces or pieces you are investing in. Low thread count or poor quality fabric is a defining factor in is a huge making your overall look feel and appear unpolished. An additional aspect to consider is also items that are stretch based or contain stretch or a percentage of elastane. Items like jeans, the less stretchy/less elastane, the longevity of the item increases allowing it to hold shape and quality for years to come.

Images  - Left to right
Source: Mr A Taylor & Blaire Eadie, The Atlantic Pacific


This is a truly important facet to be greatly considered in your overall personal style. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on a white shirt for example. Often, most chain stores will have 100% cotton, again know your fabric compositions (or read above) which will be fantastic quality and most often manufactured out of the same warehouse as designer labels.

Handbags, shoes, coats and jackets though are worth investing in, as these items are either frequently worn or used daily, or they are items that are seasonal and are a staple for your wardrobe. My top tip as a stylist is to really keep an eye on sales, whether it is spend and save promotions, mid season or end of season which will allow you to make smart choices rather then getting caught up in the moment!

A well chosen, universal colour coat that has a beautiful cut, enough fabric and comfort for layering, consisting of a durable and top quality fabric is an item that will be around for a long time and serve you as a wardrobe staple for years to come.

Image: Grace Elizabeth Images

Image: Grace Elizabeth Images


As a stylist, my true belief is that fit TRUMPS EVERYTHING! Yes bold statement though it’s true! You could have spent thousands on your outfit or suit though if it doesn’t fit correctly you may as well be wearing a bargain over stretched dress or perhaps a belted hessian sack as a suit jacket. *touch harsh*

Knowing your proportions are key to looking polished, styled and having a balanced outfit. Behind every well-dressed woman or man there is a tailor or dressmaker who perfects their items to truly elevate their overall look. Altering leg lengths or minor tweaks on clothing whether that is pants, skirts or dresses can make a huge difference to over fit, comfort and wearability of the garments. Trusting in your tailor or stylist allows you to get the individual proportions right for you, for example bringing in the shoulders of a jacket or blouse, allows you to have clean lines and fit or the perfect cropped leg length for you. There is no point having a beautiful Italian suit if it doens’t fit you correctly. Investing in the services of someone with expertise, can take you from feeling average to your very own version of Harvey Spector


Image: Dalton Graham, Founder of The Tailored Man  Source

Image: Dalton Graham, Founder of The Tailored Man


A quick iron before you wear something can be the differentiating factor between well presented and well… scruffy is probably the better word, though this simple little task will allow you to feel instantly polished. If you’re time poor, then pop your clothes on a hanger straight after pulling them out of the wash to dry straight or put them in the bathroom while you have a hot shower – steam does wonders. Storage of your clothes is imperative, having garments piled up dirty or back in your wardrobe isn’t going to help out the fabric or the longevity of the fabric fibres.

Gents, if you own suits or are looking at buying a suit jacket that is a merino wool blend, avoid getting them dry cleaned as this damages the natural fibres in the fabric. Rather, just air them out after use and if you spill something on them use a damp cloth to remove it as soon as possible.



Lastly, beauty truly starts from the inside, so to really nail that polished beauty look, having clear skin is truly a brilliant start. Yes this applies to both men and the ladies, with the support of a health lifestyle, nourishing your body and exercising regularly these all assist in these factors.

Looking after your appearance with a trusted team whether it’s a hairdresser or barber or beautician, is the finishing touches to your overall look and a little TLC can not only elevate your personal style though also be the defining point of how it is you wish to be perceived.

And that is my 6 stylist tips on how to look polished! Take out the guess work and book in for style consultation and allow yourself to step into the next exciting phase of your style!


Yours in Style

Kerrie xx