- By Michelle McCormack

Putting together an entire outfit for under $50 bucks, EASY, this is how I shop! I’ve been putting together budget outfits that look like a million ever since I got old enough (and confident enough) to know that I can make things work – if I work it.

Using my beautiful friend Meike Hale as a moving mannequin, we hit a charity shop, a corporate megastore and everywhere in between, sourcing the grooviest gear we could find.


meika Style It Up: A Fab Outfit For Under $50

Photo Credit: Michelle McCormack

Here’s how we patched together this whole outfit for under $50 ($46 to be exact).

neck tie e1319748155411 Style It Up: A Fab Outfit For Under $50

Photo Credit: Michelle McCormack

This $2 neck tie is from the new Goodwill shop in Jamaica plain that replaced a chain sneaker store in the center of town and believe me, it is way more citizen-appropriate. Let’s just say you’re way more likely to see people sporting your grandmas vintage pumps or grandpas blazer in this neighborhood, than Air Jordan’s. Neck tie’s make a great accessory in place of your usual necklace.


shirt e1319748194136 Style It Up: A Fab Outfit For Under $50

Photo Credit: Michelle McCormack

H & M is one of the best chain stores to shop if you have a limited budget, no time and have to look like a million bucks. They also seemed to have somehow broken the impenetrable couture barrier by carrying such hallowed brands as Lanvin, Comme Des Garcon and Versace. And these are exclusive deals, just with them. How’d they do it? Grab this great tank (available in a variety of other colors) for just $5.50.


pants e1319748225193 Style It Up: A Fab Outfit For Under $50

Photo Credit: Michelle McCormack

Forever 21 offers great pieces you’d never think to wear on your own, but then you see on one of their mannequins and it becomes an instant have-to-have. This particular location on Newbury looks to have more square feet than any other retailer on the prestigious street – which can’t be cheap. But the clothes are! Check out these mustard colored pants for just $19.50. So they’re absolutely relying on sheer volume, secured by offering consistently innovative – yeah, that’s the word – innovative – gear.


hat e1319748255774 Style It Up: A Fab Outfit For Under $50

Photo Credit: Michelle McCormack

Urban is one of those stores where you really don’t mind sacrificing quality because the styles are so rocking. I’ve had more than a bag/skirt/scarf or two begin unraveling after a few wears.  Yet I keep going back, spending more than I should, because I know I’ll find something awesome, in a bind. Take this hat for example, a stylish and yet affordable accessories for only $5!


arm warmers e1319748274443 Style It Up: A Fab Outfit For Under $50

Photo Credit: Michelle McCormack


When I approached Elizabeth’s table at SoWa Open Market I immediately got that feeling of missing out on something. This girl gets to spend her working days piecing together random organic materials to make must-have, impulse buy pieces. Gloves, scarfs, armwarmers, pins, patches, etc. I can honestly say I like everything she does. These fun arm warmers sell for $14.


Tell us in the comments where you source fab gear for less.
Michelle McCormack is a Facebook expert and blogger at  LoveTheCool. LIKE her Facebook page Secret Boston and FOLLOW her Tweets at @MichelleMMM

Comments (21)
  1. Matt says:

    Two things. 1. That outfit does not look like a ‘million bucks’. 2. If you did spend $50 bucks on it then you over paid.

    1. Rich says:

      I recently went shopping and got 17 pairs of pants, 4 pairs of shoes, 7 pairs of jammies, 2 smoking jackets, 15 pairs of socks, 6 bow ties, some cracker jacks and a puppy and didn’t even pay .1 cent.

      And here I sit in a simple orange jumper – it gets lonely hear at South Bay.

      What I wouldn’t do for the opportunity to look as groovy as Meika does right now.

  2. Elvis says:

    You look like Avril Lavignes “special” little sister, terrible.

  3. Karen St.PIerre says:

    Ok, This outfit offends my style senses. Not only is she an adult with the peek a boo bra show but it looks like something a middle schooler would have put together. Is this what we want people who read Boston CBS site to think we in Boston think is fashion. I get it its supposed to be under $50 bucks but come on. I live on a budget and you would never know. I could have done this look for $50 and had change left over. Please if you are going to put this is a Boston best omit it. Its hard enough getting the fashion world to see Boston as hip and trendy with out pictures like this that just say hey we don’t get it and for $50 bucks I look dated. I mean she could have used the tie as a belt for starters. Best wishes for the next try I am sure you will try harder as that is the Boston way.

    1. Dee says:

      I agree. However, if a middle school student in our system wore that, she would be required to change her clothes or put on a sweater. The top is not appropriate for school and doesn’t fit the dress code. She wouldn’t be able to wear the hat either. !

      1. Rich says:

        Dee, great to hear from you. School? What? Are you a teacher? Are you mistaking this for a school blog?

        I agree, not right for school, but SO right for the street.

    2. Rich Vogue Europe says:

      Karen, it was great to hear from you. I suggest prosac. I’m begging you to show us your look. Put it out there, spend the $50, let’s see what you got.

      I’m proud of the article, proud of Boston, and LOVE the look. It’s not for everybody, only if you’re cool, have good fashion taste and ‘get it’.

  4. bp says:

    I wouldn’t pay .50 cents for that mess!

  5. emom says:

    Ditch the arm warmers and it could be a somewhat descent outfit for spring, Other than that it looks like hillbilly. I can put together a far better outfit for a fraction of that cost, Goodwill has plenty and I bet you can put together 5 outfits for $50. the rest are plain expensive. Recently I bought $200 worth of clothes for .. drum roll please…………………….. $18.00 that’s right a mere $18.00.. It was an end of the season clothes sale at walmart. 4 pairs of pants 3 of which were $1.00 each one that was $5.00 , 7 shirts, $1.00 each one at $3.00.
    Not bad for many different outfits. and the original cost of all , was over $200.00
    Oh what did it consist of.. a few pair of dress slacks for work, and a pair of casual for everyday, and all the shirts are casual and one was dress . I actually used the dress slacks and shirt for a recent Christmas party. and that outfit cost only $2.00 … Oh and I needed a purse for that night went to a local thrift store and found a black little purse with rhinestones on it for a Buck.. had the shoes and makeup already total cost of my Christmas outfit. $3.00 whole dollars and I looked very good.
    $50 dollars really it looks like cyndi lauper attire,

  6. beckburd says:

    it’s cute and armwarmers rock. that is all.

  7. Marsh says:

    Matt, Karen, emom, LOOKS LIKE WE HAVE A STYLE WAR!!

    Put your money where your mouths are! Go buy better, more creative and stylish outfits for less than $50, post the pics on http://www.photobucket.com, and share the links in comment posts here!

    Let’s see whatcha got folks!!

    1. Karen says:

      I love it lets do this!!!
      Post pics soon, thanks for replying :) See you on the battle field.

      1. Karen says:

        Here you go!! I love a fashion duel, and to each its own.
        I have found this amazing Shop in Alston called Buffalo Exchange. They carry slightly used high end clothing for a fraction of the original cost. I got this amazing Free People top there for $15 bucks, The Jeans are from Target at $25 and they are easily the best pair of jeans I own for my body type. The Boots are vintage and with the belts I created one of a kind foot wear for $10. = $50 bucks. Look I am all for creativity in style but there were some elements to the original look that came of as amateur. The armbands are super cute but paired with the tank they look juvenile. Had you paired them with a cute 1/4 length top ( sweater, jacket or Button up) they would have looked more sophisticated. Her tank prior to the peek a boo bar was way sexier and cute. The hat was cute and she totally rocked it. Her pants fit great for her body type although a flare not hemmed makes her look short and unfinished. For your 1st time out of the gate its a good jumping off point. Best way to create looks for under $50 or what ever amount is to take a high end fashion magazine and recreate what you see. If your jumping off point was arm bands think back to school or Winter Hippie. I am looking forward to what you come up with next. All the best and thanks for the challenge!!!

  8. Marsh says:

    Actions speak louder than words folks. Let’s see what you can do for under $50 :)

  9. bridget says:

    I think it’s pretty cool! The tie is kind of whimsical ;) The only thing I might have done is take off the darker green arm warmers? All in all pretty damn awesome for $50!!

    1. bridget says:

      Hmm…on second thought….kinda diggin’ the green arm warmers….

  10. Jane says:

    I love it! I think she looks fabulous. It may not be something I would wear but isn’t that the beauty of style?

  11. Rich says:

    I recently bought a James Perse tshirt, Prada kicks, Rag & Bone jeans and a Goorin hat all for under 7 grand. I don’t look as good as this chick.

  12. George Bush says:

    Where is her red nose and huge floppy shoes? This clown dresses like a 12 year old.

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