How to look stylish on a budget

Stylists Haiya Bokhari and Mehek Saeed share tips for developing personal style without burning a hole in your pocket


By Farheen Abdullah

KARACHI: Putting together an outfit is an art. We all own clothes but few of us have the skill to put together a chic outfit or use accessories to elevate a simple piece of clothing. Price point is also a valid concern for many. To learn more about ongoing trends and fashion, Cutacut spoke to stylists Mehek Saeed and Haiya Bokhari who gave us the perfect budget-friendly style tips!

Build a capsule collection

“Step one is to have a capsule collection of items that you know fit you nicely and can become your wardrobe staples by sheer flexibility of the ways you can style them and how well they flatter you. This means looking for clothes that are neutral, free of complicated patterns and easy to pair with other clothes. Think along the lines of a few basic t-shirts, a pair of good mom jeans, a black plant, a well fitted blazer, sneakers and a comfortable heel. If you want eastern wear, your basic pant in white and black with plain pairings of kameez is good to have,” shared Mehek Saeed.

Get creative with combinations

“Think of outfits as entire combinations and each item you swap in or out can make a new look. Switch out a heel for sneakers and throw a shirt under your slinky silk top to make it a completely different look. This is really my favourite tip given what I do for a living!” suggested Saeed.

Identify key trends

Haiya Bokhari shared that she always promoted developing a personal style than simply being trendy since trends are only to sell fast fashion. “Identify key trends each season that you think you want to try out and will look nice on you, and then try incorporating them through different items in your closet. There’s a leather trend coming up this winter, so you can maybe get a leather bag or a leather jacket, if leather pants are too out there for you. Velvet is another trend that is still sticking around for this winter. So you could maybe get a pair of velvet pants if they work for you better. Plus, velvet pants are very versatile. You can wear them in winter under wedding wear, you can wear them with sweaters. So you can use them with multiple combinations, just like a leather jacket and a leather bag.”

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Making faces

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“Another trend is yellow,” continued Bokhari. “So maybe you want to get a yellow bag, or maybe you want to get a yellow scarf or a sweater. Something that you can wear more regularly, so on and so forth. So you can identify a few trends that you think you are interested in and then try incorporating them through different items. And that’s a really good way of staying on budget.”

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I do quite like sitting so for photos

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Shop preloved

Pakistanis are gradually warming up to the idea of buying preloved dresses and more options to buy previously owned clothes are also becoming available. Some online stores suggested by Saeed are Closet on SalePomegranate and ItsPreloved.

Explore small businesses

When high street brands fall out of your budget, or you want to experiment with new brands, turn to small businesses.

“Some of my favourite small businesses to crop up during corona, that I’ve bought from and used for styling are Noho, Mish and Co, Traditional Jewelry, Kyra Fine Jewels, Kuku Store, MKYPK, Kria along with Ins and Outs, Faten Art Store and Mahoor Jamal’s handmade jewelry,” revealed Saeed. “Black and Saaz by Aleena for shoes, and Semaab Attiq for basic kurtas, Bandana for basic t-shirts and Erina for their statement making dupattas.”

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A piece for every personality ✨

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