I Have a $500 Clothing Budget After Taking a Month Off Shopping — Here's What I'm Buying

Including a $12 basic tee, classic kitten heels, and a day-to-night blouse.

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Weekend Deals

nordstrom / madewell / banana republic

Despite all the New Year and post-holiday sales that happened in January, I used the month to take a break from shopping. Mostly, I needed to reset financially after holiday spending and travel. Inspired by the viral 75 Hard Style Challenge, I also took it as an opportunity to reevaluate my closet by seeing what I wore daily to determine what I actually needed. 

When I reached the end of the month, I realized my wardrobe was in desperate need of more pieces I could mix and match in both an elevated and casual capacity (instead of impulse-buying that pair of shoes that doesn’t really go with anything else). Now that I’m officially ready to revamp my closet, I gave myself a budget of $500 (looks like I’ll also be doing a no-spend March) to shop seven pieces that will make getting dressed easier and transition my winter wardrobe into spring.

  • G&Y Sheer Tights 3-Pack, $15 (Originally $18); amazon.com
  • Hanes Originals Tri-Blend Long-Sleeve T-Shirt, $12 (Originally $17); amazon.com
  • Banana Republic Angolo Haircalf Leather Belt, $48 (Originally $80); bananarepublic.gap.com
  • Madewell With-a-Twist Shirt in Signature Poplin, $88; madewell.com
  • Makkrom Double-Breasted Long Trench Coat, $73 (Originally $80); amazon.com
  • Madewell Denim Popover Mini Shirtdress, $128; madewell.com
  • Franco Sarto Khloe Pointed Toe Kitten Heel Pump, $125; nordstrom.com

G&Y Sheer Tights 3-Pack

Amazon G&Y 3 Pairs Women's Sheer Tights - 20D Control Top Pantyhose with Reinforced Toes


Buy on Amazon $18 $15

Emma Stone and Demi Moore reminded me that one of the easiest ways to make your entire wardrobe equally winter-friendly and sophisticated is with a pair of sexy, sheer black tights. At just $15 for a three-pack, this best-selling set from Amazon is an immediate add-to-cart.

Hanes Originals Tri-Blend Long-Sleeve T-Shirt

Amazon Hanes Originals Tri-Blend Long-Sleeve T-Shirt


Buy on Amazon $17 $12

Something I realized in my month of no-shopping was that I don’t own a single plain white long-sleeve tee. It’s not a thrilling purchase, but the basic, which goes with truly everything, is something that will make getting dressed exponentially easier the rest of the season (and beyond). According to Amazon shoppers, this now-$12 tee from Hanes is “soft on the skin,” “comfortable, and easy to wear.” 

Banana Republic Angolo Haircalf Leather Belt


Banana Republic

Buy Now $80 $48

This is arguably not the most versatile item on my list, but it is, IMO, the most versatile way to incorporate the leopard print trend into your existing wardrobe. I plan to use this belt to elevate otherwise basic looks, pairing it with my go-to jeans, white tees, and crewneck sweaters; it has just the right amount of pattern to make a boring outfit pop. According to someone who described the belt as “rich” looking, it can instantly “pull together an outfit of neutrals.”

Madewell With-a-Twist Shirt in Signature Poplin

Madewell With-a-Twist Shirt in Signature Poplin


Buy on Madewell.com $88

Madewell’s With-a-Twist button-down is the day-to-night piece my closet needs. This striped blouse can be worn two ways: open over a shirt as a classic, oversized button-down, or buttoned to reveal its waist-cinching fit. Thanks to an extra button that has been placed on the front side of the top, you can cross the front over to create a deep V-neck and a defined waist. I’d wear this unbuttoned over a white tank with jeans when I’m in the mood for a more casual look, closed straight down with slacks for a more formal look, or cinched with a mini skirt for a cute dinner date.

Makkrom Double-Breasted Long Trench Coat

Makkrom Women's Double Breasted Long Trench Coat


Buy on Amazon $80 $73

It felt like I wrote about trench coats for all of January. If I wasn’t sure that I needed one then, now I’m convinced I do. That’s why I’ll be grabbing this khaki trench from Amazon while it’s on sale. I’m obsessed with the coat’s oversized silhouette and breezy look, which will be perfect for finishing out winter and moving into spring. Plus, the color and classic style is super versatile and easy to dress up and down; one shopper deemed it a “fashion staple” in their wardrobe.

Madewell Denim Popover Mini Shirtdress

Madewell Denim Popover Mini Shirtdress


Buy on Madewell.com $128

Unlike summer, my wardrobe seriously lacks dress options for cooler weather, which is why I’m eyeing Madewell’s Denim Popover Mini Dress to get me through the rest of winter (and into spring). Shoppers have described it as “super adorable and comfy” and a good option for when you want to “throw on [something] and go and still look cute.” “The black denim is sturdy… matches everything, and is sure to last a long time,” said someone else. This dress is available in a black and blue wash and features a straight silhouette, short hem, and oversized pockets on both sides. While it’s still chilly, I’ll be pairing this with those aforementioned sheer tights and boots, and as it warms up, I’ll trade them out for my favorite sneakers and Mary Janes.

Franco Sarto Khloe Pointed Toe Kitten Heel Pump

Nordstrom Franco Sarto Khloe Pointed Toe Kitten Heel Pump


Buy on Nordstrom $125

A black kitten heel is such a classic shoe (and one that’s trending for 2024) and yet I don’t own a pair. There were many instances this month when I wanted to make a pair of slacks or jeans look a touch more elevated with an elegant-but-easy black heel and found no-such thing in my closet. That’s when I added Franco Sarto’s Khloe Kitten Heel Pumps to my to-buy list. This style features a strap, pointed toe, and a gold buckle detail across the front of the foot that will look seriously chic poking out from below a pair of wide-leg slacks. I’m grabbing this style in black, but it’s also available in four other colors: white, brown, tan, and red.

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