Enjoy London Fashion Week without using credit

Today MoneyAware is delighted to welcome guest blogger Penny Golightly from pennygolightly.com to talk about London fashion week (starts on Friday) and buying fashionable clothes on a budget. As she says, “Who cares if everyone’s broke, let’s have fun anyway…”

Penny Golightly

It’s February and it’s London Fashion Week again, with beautiful creations gliding down the catwalks.

Sometimes it’s pure theatre and I love watching all the different designs go by, from the most outlandish to the sweetest and simplest.

I won’t be splashing out £1200 for a couture dress though, no matter how beautiful it might be – that’s way more than my clothes budget for a whole year.

There’s nothing wrong with having a passion for fashion, but sometimes you need to be realistic, rein in your inner clothes-horse and get the look for less.

Get inspired

  • Most of us don’t get to attend the shows, but you can see the collections in their full glory for free on www.style.com, or borrow a copy of Elle Collections magazine or hunt down interesting fashion blogs.
  • While couture ranges are show-stopping, the ready-to-wear collections are most likely to influence high street retailers and fit into your everyday lifestyle so spend more time on them.
  • Look through, noting colours, shapes, fabrics, embellishments and accessories. See how the best outfits have been put together, and look specifically for designs that will flatter your figure and skin tone.
  • Pick a favourite designer or two. You’ll probably find that you’re most drawn to the work of one or two fashion houses, which is ideal for creating a mix-and- match capsule wardrobe to get the best value for money.
  • Look at what you already own. Many pieces stay fashionable for years, such as pencil skirts, silk blouses, trench coats or wide-legged trousers. You never need to buy everything from scratch.

Get the look: Spring/Summer 2011 catwalk trends

You can easily create on-trend outfits without splashing out on designer labels.

The 1970s look: Ladylike blouses, flowing trousers, platforms and casual flared jeans will translate quickly to the high street. For bigger savings buy second hand or vintage, or you might get something for free from a relative.

Brights: Block colours in shades of green, blue, pink or orange are easy to find or create. Buy low-cost bright t-shirts or dye plain cotton clothes (tops, trousers, skirts, dresses) with Dylon.

Romantic: You only need basic sewing skills to add scraps of lace or ribbon to plain white or nude coloured garments to ‘pretty’ them up. For the ‘ballerina’ look, simply team a plain jersey top with a floaty, pleated high street skirt.

Modern craft: Many designers used tassels, macramé, beads, appliqué, plaiting and feathers on clothes, bags and footwear. Recreate these looks with haberdashery supplies and a little patience, or buy homespun accessories on eBay.

Prints: Patterned fabrics included fruit, flowers, polka dots, coloured stripes and abstract or geometric prints. Try clothes-swapping websites or events, or buy from high street stores.

The midi: Just turn up the hems of last year’s maxi skirts and dresses. If you’re good at sewing you can use the offcuts to make fabric flowers, bows or rosettes to sew back on.

So there we are, some inspiration for chic and creative dressing without the hefty price tag or credit card overload. And check out my blog for more details on clothes swapping events (AKA swishing) and the Penny Golightly Capsule wardrobe experiment.

But remember, if you’re worried about credit card debt or other debts please contact StepChange Debt Charity for free debt advice.

Do you have any cheap and chic ideas to share?

Posted by in Budgeting