How to dress on Trend without Breaking the Bank

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A few months ago I attended Alt Summit, a blogging conference.  After getting my ticket, I got an email about the suggested dress code for the evening parties and ‘if you want to go all out, this is the place to do it’, etc… The attire for this conference was no laughing matter.  I started to worry.

Then I googled “what to wear to Alt Summit”.  Wrong move.  A quick 1,340,000 results came up in 0.37 seconds.  Ohhhkay, I’m in over my head here.  After reading about 87 of those posts, I realized some of these people needed to get a grip on reality, me included!

I am ALL for dressing cute.  I am ALL for dressing trendy.  But I am also ALL for not spending my life’s fortune on accomplishing the above.

So, today I’m sharing six tips on How to dress on Trend without Breaking the Bank.  I applied these tips to my outfits for Alt, but these could so easily be translated to a getaway weekend, a fancy work party, a wedding or a night out with the girls.
How to do Inexpensive Trend Outfits,

(Disclaimer: I am by NO means a fashion blogger.  I’m just a lady {and mama} who likes to look on trend once in a while.  What I think is ‘on trend’ may be way off to you, so humor me a little.)
Tip One: Know your season and make it work for you.
I attended Alt in the summer and although Utah is known for being quite warm, there was a fluke chill the three days we were all there.  Wednesday evening was my Alt Summit sponsor dinner and we were requested to dress in yellow.  I thankfully had brought a neutral scarf which was perfect as I walked through downtown to the dinner location.  Don’t be silly and dress cute but freeze the entire time.

Tip Two: Decide your key items and make a tiny splurge.

People, I found videos about the clothing at Alt and there references to “right off the runway” and “no one does it better than Alt”, etc.  Ain’t nobody got time (or money) for right off the runway clothes.


I went to *Anthropologie’s online sale section and hit the jackpot of a lifetime.  I found a *Vegan Leather Peplum top that was originally $148, on sale for $19.95 IN MY SIZE.  My other big ticket item was also on sale at Anthro.  Friday I wore their *Tula Embroidered Tank originally $68, on sale for $39.95.  These were my statement pieces.  These were my best attempt to represent my style and persona without breaking the bank and for a total of $60, I would say big success.

Tip Three: Dress in basics for all other items.
It’s always good to have great ‘go-to’ basics.  I already had some of these, but my denim pencil skirt and black stretch pixie pants were wonderful pieces to mix and match with.  Plus, I wear both of those items on a regular basis for date nights with the hubs or while at church!

Tip Four: If possible always shop sales, your closet or friends.
As I mentioned above, I found unbelievable online sales at Anthropologie.  I adore Anthro.  I frequent it often and buy a candle or if I’m feeling crazy, a pad of paper.  I just can not afford $168 tops.  Sales make it possible.
I also shopped my closet.  When you already own great basics, you can mix in things you have and reinvent new trendy options.  My yellow crochet tank from Target ended up being so cute tucked in with the pencil skirt, who would have thought?
Shop your friends.  I asked my dear friend, Liliana, to bring her jewelry and come give me emergency outfit guidance.  She was totally on board with my overall looks but let me borrow a ton of her stunning jewelry.  Like her white and red bubble necklaces, some gorgeous rings… they really made the outfits pop.
Tip Five:  Edit, edit, edit.
Know when to stop.  I have this problem with decorating where I have so many cute ideas and so many fun crafts I’ve made (foreshadowing of my office reveal) where suddenly it’s gone from cute to cluttered.  The same thing applies to outfits.  Sometimes less is more.  No need for a matching shoe, to shirt, with the same color necklace and earrings.  Mix it up.  Add interest but just with a few small items.  I paired my black Embroidered Tank and black pants with some WILD for me, bright royal blue shoes and it totally worked because there was a bit of blue in the shirt and in an otherwise black outfit.
Tip Six: Bring backup.
Thursday night and we had a themed dinner party.  I had misunderstood Thursday’s party to be Friday’s party (which I was going to miss and was a most lovely brightly colored fun garden party).  Also, it was an outdoor dinner event which I somehow had missed.  I walked down to the hotel lobby in my cute bright aqua floral dress when I realized everyone was bundling in winter clothes.  I ran upstairs and threw on what I was worn on the airplane, added a cardigan and scarf and made it work.

So there you have it.  I feel exceedingly awkward pretending I know what’s up in the fashion world.  No worries, I’ll be resuming my normal crafty DIY self on Monday.

6 thoughts on “How to dress on Trend without Breaking the Bank

  1. That peplum works so well on you! One thing I would like to share with you, is that sometimes (if you have a good one in your area) you can pick up items that can make great statement pieces at either consignment stores (because they tend to have a limit on how old the garment can be), and on occasion, second hand stores. Don’t sneeze at the last one. I picked up a white with gold top from Hussy for $2.50 not long ago. You just never know! 🙂


  2. Amy-love these outfits, and your perspective on keeping fashion realistic! I’m going to have to check Anthropologie sales more often. I co-host a link party every Friday called Pin Your Friday Favorite, and we’d love to have you and your fun ideas any time (

  3. Another lovely normal post from you! You did well with your sale items – good work! And those blue shoes are gorgeous. I am now really tempted to google “what to wear to Alt Summit” just to see what comes up!

  4. So agree with everything here, especially tip six. For a trip, I always bring more options than I think I’ll need since I don’t want to be stuck having to run out and get something because I was underprepared (a jacket is usually the item I forget!). Ain’t nobody got time for that.
    Loved this post, Amy! And major score on the peplum top!

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