How To Build A Wardrobe On A Budget

We were able to interview Catherine Brock, owner of Budget Fashionista, a site that focuses on how young people can be fashionable without breaking the bank. While many people might think of fashion as a frivolity that only the wealthy can afford, we here at Deal Nerd would like to think otherwise. We believe that dressing up well is one of the small things you do on a day-to-day basis that can help you reach your dreams.

Looking good is an investment. Of course, we’re not telling you to go out there and buy an Hermes belt or a Louis Vuitton bag. We’re talking about buying clothes that make you look good at a fair price. Dressing well has a lot of benefits. The most obvious is that people will respect you more, whether you are in the office or out for a stroll in the park. In fact, dressing professionally in the office might get you a promotion, as companies usually want people who dress well to represent their company. Aside from looking respectable, wearing nice clothes can also make you feel good about yourself. Dressing well is a sign that you respect yourself enough to do so.

This is what Budget Fashionista can help you out with. They will show you how to dress well even if you are on a tight budget. The Budget Fashionista was launched in 2003, and has grown through the years to become a trusted fashion blog brand in the industry today. They have been featured in multiple TV shows, such as the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, CNBC, and E!. They were able to strike up sponsorships with huge brands such as Procter and Gamble, Sears Inc., Marshalls, TJ Maxx, and RoC Skincare. They’ve also been featured in other forms of media such as Refinery29, InStyle, Fox2, and the New York Times.

Without further ado, here’s our interview with Catherine, where she shares the story of her entrepreneurial journey, and gives the ladies some tips on how to build a wardrobe on a budget.

How did you get started with the Budget Fashionista?

I have always been a writer, bargain shopper and fashion enthusiast. In high school, I was the girl who regularly changed her hair color and would show up goth one day and preppy the next. So ’80s!

For about nine years, I made a nice living as a freelance writer, producing tons of content for other people. Later, I accepted a corporate writing gig, which quickly turned into managing an ecommerce department. Over time, my job roles evolved to be more marketing and less writing. I actually had a boss once tell me to stop writing content because I needed to focus on bigger things. But what’s bigger than communicating with and inspiring people?

In 2014, I had the opportunity to take over Budget Fashionista and I jumped at the chance. Given my interest in shopping and style, the content was a perfect fit for me. Initially, it was a side hustle. But roughly two years later, I threw in the corporate towel to focus on Budget Fashionista full-time.

What are the most popular types of articles on your site?

My readers love straightforward budget style advice — things like how to wear joggers or how to wear a bralette. I also have several popular articles that focus on strategies for shopping at specific stores, like How to Shop Macy’s and How to Return an Item to Marshalls.

What has been the most effective way to build your brand’s audience?

Social media. When I took over Budget Fashionista, there was no Instagram page — which put me a little behind the times for a style blog. The process of building up an Instagram following from nothing and seeing those followers come on over to the site has been really rewarding. (Editor’s note: check out Catherine’s Instagram page here –

How much time to do you spend curating content for your readers?

Not enough! I do curate content for my email subscribers pretty consistently. All of my emails have a section titled “What’s Hot Around the Web,” and my top picks for budget fashion finds. I share curated content on Twitter and Pinterest also, but not as consistently as I should.

What tips do you have for women who are looking to build a wardrobe on a budget?

I could share a lot on this subject, but here are a few of my top tips:

  1. Choose classic styles and avoid super-trendy items that will feel dated next season.
  2. Invest in mostly solid-colored pieces that you can mix and match.
  3. Think about cost-per-wear when you are buying clothes. Spend more on pieces you’ll wear a lot, and less on pieces that are one-and-done. Try to borrow clothes for special occasions!
  4. Pick three or four stores you love and subscribe to their emails, join their loyalty program and download their apps. Stay posted on their sales versus trying to keep up with every store’s sales.
  5. If you tend to overspend, shop only with cash.

What is your #1 insider savings tip?

Buy secondhand. You can find so many high-quality pieces at thrift stores, Poshmark and ThredUP — but it’s more tedious than mall shopping, so you have to put in the time.

Do you have any advice for others who are looking to start a blog in the savings/shopping topic niche?

Always be you. When I first became the Budget Fashionista, I was a bit reluctant to put myself out there. I felt more comfortable behind the scenes, rather than being the face of the brand. But then I realized that I am what makes Budget Fashionista unique today. So, as you build your blog, remember that you are unique and valuable, and your opinions matter. Be genuine, share your stories, treat your readers like good friends, and don’t give in to someone else’s negativity.

Want to work with Catherine?

That wraps up our interview with The Budget Fashionista. If you are interested in working with them, they are open to partnerships through sponsored content, appearances, advertising, and guest posts.