Back-to-school style is a new take on the old you—about reinvention and transformation. If you’re working on a budget, don’t let it hold you back. You are a budding fashionista, capable of accomplishing anything, ready for the coming year’s challenges. You are undaunted by financial fashion restrictions, able to set your style apart from the norm without breaking the bank.

Style Tips

Build your new fall look around pieces from your existing wardrobe. Treasures you might have forgotten are simply waiting for reinvention. These building blocks are referred to as “basics” because they are not too extreme and possess classic elements of style. Regardless of current trends, timeless fashion always looks right. Examples include a pearl-button cardigan, your fave jeans, a pleated plaid skirt or every fashion magazine’s favorite: “the little black dress.”

Reuse favorite pieces, but twist them up this time. Change them around. Make them fresh. Try new accessories, alterations or slight tweaks.

Stay true to your style. Remain you. Copy no one. Use other people’s style statements as inspiration, but never become a fashion copycat!

Remain within the boundaries of good taste. Feel comfortable in your skin and in your outfits.

Shopping Tips

For one-of-a-kind style, buy resale. This is one way fashion-savvy fashionistas find unusual pieces to enforce their personal style.

Save money by holding a clothing swap over the summer. Have everyone bring what they are tired of wearing and swap out wardrobe. Don’t can it! Bag it. Meet at a favorite gathering place and trade away.

Shop the swap. From 1950s coats to castaway couture, swap-meets are treasure troves of forgotten fashion. Thrift stores, resale boutiques and Internet auction sites are also fashion goldmines.

Signature Style

Signature style is about giving fashion your own unique twist. Mix something basic with something unexpected: glam earrings with old jeans, high-class pumps and your schoolgirl skirt or a felt hat topping off a classic sheath. Keep odd pairings down in number. You are going for a unique style statement, not the look of fashion-confusion.