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Fashion On A Budget

Mona Ismaeil shares her experiences of shopping on a shoestring.

My sister and I have always disagreed on whether it was better to have a closet overflowing with clothes that did not cost too much per piece or a few items that were more expensive. I have always been a fan of having more clothes for less. My theory is that I quickly got bored of trends and my own style was constantly evolving, so paying a high price for one piece I would want to give away in a matter of months didn’t make sense to me. In order to keep up with my ever-changing wardrobe, I had to find easy and inexpensive ways to feed my fashion addiction without breaking my bank.


I love accessories! Spending the majority of your budget on dresses and other clothing items can be wasteful, because trends will change quickly and you never want to pay full price for items that will become outdated. The best way to update your wardrobe is to invest in belts, scarves, necklaces and other accessory items that you can use to update and enhance any outfit. I have a large collection of accessories in all different colours and patterns. I have to say I have found that belts make a huge difference. I think it’s important to have a couple of basic belts that you can throw on over any sweater, blouse or dress. Start with the neutral colours you know will go with anything: black, white and brown. Also, you want to have a couple that can add a punch of colour. For this, I have a blue belt and a gold one. Finally, you need a fancy belt that adds some sparkle and glam. So a chain belt with some embellishment is what I have added to my collection.


At the end of every season, I get a Facebook invite to my friend’s “clothing swap”. I really love the idea! I was a little hesitant at first to attend thinking that each woman would bring all the clothes she found in her closet that were out of style, ripped and in bad shape. Not too excited about sifting through piles of old clothes, I declined her invite a number of times. Finally, my curiosity got the best of me and I attended one of the clothing swaps. It was fabulous! All the clothes are displayed and each girl can go ahead and pick out “new” pieces she loves. Not only is this a great way to get new items, but also a wonderful way to get the girls together. Another idea similar to the clothing swap is to choose all the items that no longer excite you and sell them to a second hand store. If you’re looking to remain fashion forward on a budget, then consignment shops can be a great help to you. Use the money to buy fashionable additions to your wardrobe.


Many individuals simply overlook budget store options, but Target and Wal-Mart have some really cute and trendy clothing items that are priced affordably. Places like these are fantastic for wardrobe basics. They almost always have basic t-shirts, long-sleeved shirts and cardigans in all your favourite colours. These simple items are an excellent addition to your wardrobe and with great prices, you just can’t go wrong! The fantastic thing about these places is you can get the trends you want at a lower price, so when that trend passes you don’t feel bad donating it once you stop wearing it.


Just recently, a friend and I were gushing over how life has changed after becoming a mom. One thing we agree on is that online shopping becomes a strange addiction. Some of the best deals can be found online and there are even stores that offer free shipping, which will only reduce your cost further. Many stores have websites with great deals on fashionable items. Online shopping can be a double edged sword so you have to be sure you are not an impulse shopper. I am one of those people who straddles the line between impulse and practicality. Most online stores will ask that you create an account and sign up for their newsletter. If you are easily pulled into shopping, then be sure to unsubscribe from all of these newsletters as they provide a weekly, if not daily, dose of temptation.



I am a true believer in investing in basics and statement pieces. I’ll admit I do give in and buy into trends now and then, but nobody is perfect. My advice: pay more for boots, coats or trousers that can be worn with a variety of outfits. There is nothing wrong with fashion splurges, but make sure that you can wear these items over and over again, while staying fashion forward. Trendy fashion items are great, but don’t base your entire wardrobe choices on trendy items that will quickly go out of style. So when coloured jeans are “trendy,” don’t get sucked into buying a pair in each colour. Go for one colour and get the rest in classic denim in a style that is best for your body type and your OWN style. Focus on stylish pieces that are timeless and stunning. Again, you need to develop your own style and purchase pieces that highlight that.


Remember: “Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty.”

Fashion guru Tim Gunn from the show Project Runway has created a list of 10 essential items for women, which include:

• Basic black dress
• Trench coat
• Classic dress pants
• Classic white shirt
• Skirt
• Blazer
• Day dress
• Cashmere sweater
• Jeans
• A comfortable alternative to a sweatsuit


Mona Ismaeil is the proud owner of Modern Hejab, an online hijab store based in Canada. She has a desire to inspire young women to embrace their faith fully in a modern world. Mona enjoys writing and blogging about her two loves, fashion and faith, and how seamlessly they can come together. Through her blog and facebook page, Mona works to provide sisters with a safe and exciting place to grow their faith with a little girl talk thrown into the mix.
Twitter: @ModernHejab
Facebook: /ModernHejab
Youtube: ModernMohajaba