I’m a freelance writer and budding fashionista. I don’t have the time or money to search through the racks at Macy’s or Saks Fifth Avenue. I do, however, spend a lot of quality time with my laptop, and I’ve discovered some web resources that help me play with style without spending a cent.

 

 

 

 

Shop Your Shape

Shop Your Shape is the first stop for any lady who wants to look her best. The site is a hybrid, offering helpful information and online shopping.

Pros

  • Specificity: Shop Your Shape gives you a body shape based on your actual physical measurements, not vauge questions about whether you’re “bigger on the top or on the bottom.” That cuts out a lot of confusion. Also, unlike most other “how to dress my body type” websites, Shop Your Shape doesn’t label you as either an “apple” or “pear.” There are actually eight different shapes: straight, pear, spoon, hourglass, top hourglass, inverted triangle, oval, and diamond.
  • Clear Examples: Once you click on your body shape, you get lots of clear black-and-white pictures of the types of garments to look for. For my shape (a “spoon”), the site listed six different kinds of tops, two types of pants, two types of skirts, and six types of swimsuits that flatter my frame.

Cons

  • Cost of Items Listed: You don’t have to pay anything to use the site, but if you’re on a really tight budget, I wouldn’t recommend shopping there either. At about $60 for a dress, the prices aren’t thrift, though they aren’t Saks Fifth Avenue either.

ASOS Fashion Finder

ASOS Fashion Finder is a fashion community website. I’ll admit I like paging through glossy magazines while waiting at the doctor’s office, but when it’s time to update my wardrobe or accessories, I just want to know what the trends are so I can plan my thrift-store shopping (or crafting) list.

Pros

  • Lots of Information: ASOS Fashion Finder means I don’t have to check multiple magazines (which, at $7 a pop, can get expensive) or multiple websites; it provides all the information I want in one place. I can find out what items are trendy, and what colors and styles are in vogue without having to buy anything.
  • Easy Make-Your-Own-Outfit Functionality: ASOS also lets you create and save your own outfits. I do this whenever I want to remember a set I’m especially proud of, but if you are competitive as well as stylish, they also offer competitions that you can enter your outfits into. I like that I can upload camera shots or link to images from my favorite stores without having to go through Tumblr or another third-party site (as some similar websites require).

Cons

  • Somewhat Non-intuitive: I can’t say much against ASOS, but one thing the site could do better is organization. The current layout is a bit confusing. For example, if you click on "Trends," the site shows you trendy items, while the "Looks" section shows you trendy colors.

New Dress a Day

I’ve known many awesome frugal fashionistas, and the one thing they have in common is they aren’t afraid of a little DIY. Sometimes, however, I stumble in that department because I just don’t know what to do. Enter New Dress a Day, a blog detailing the author’s project in which she upcycled old clothing into new clothing, one garment a day for the entire year.

Pros

  • Lots of Ideas: All you have to do is scroll through this blog to see lots of ways to take too-big, outdated, or otherwise unfashonable clothing you’ve got hanging around in your (or your spouse’s!) closet into cute, trendy items. I’ve found so many great ideas that I had to make a list to keep track of them all.
  • Good How-To Information: This blog’s author features her own creations as well as repurposing projects submitted by readers. No matter what the source, each one has a description of the steps taken during the remake, so it’s easy to replicate it at home. Plus, she is continuing to post on a regular basis even though her year-long project has been completed, so there are always new ideas to learn from.

Cons

  • You’ll Need Sewing Equipment and Some Skill: The only downside to this blog is that to do the projects yourself, you’ll need a sewing machine and some basic knowledge of sewing techniques and terminology. I’m a beginning sewer, and while I have the machine, I found myself having to look up terms like "placket." I also sometimes had to go over to YouTube and find how-to videos for techniques (for example, I didn’t know how to do pin-tucks). It was fairly easy to learn, though, and even counting my time, it was cheaper than buying new stuff.

This is a guest post by Melanie from Greeley, CO
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