Features

Published: Wednesday August 6, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday August 6, 2014 MYT 7:54:01 AM

Dress for less: Bargain buys for men and women

All dressed up: (On her) Sheer maroon blouse with grey polka dots (RM69.90), legging pants (RM69.90) from Uniqlo. (On him) Knitted long sleeve sweater (RM149), denim trousers with knee patch and zip details (RM199) from H&M.

All dressed up: (On her) Sheer maroon blouse with grey polka dots (RM69.90), legging pants (RM69.90) from Uniqlo. (On him) Knitted long sleeve sweater (RM149), denim trousers with knee patch and zip details (RM199) from H&M.

Putting together a decent outfit without completely breaking the bank may seem like a daunting task, but it is not impossible.

UNLIKE fashion choices, money is often limited. Fortunately, dressing well does not necessitate forking out a fortune – although it is still nice if you have the luxury of going for designer labels.

Star2 recently took up the challenge of selecting six day and night looks, all within a budget of RM350 each. With varied fast-fashion fashion brands available, it shows that affordable style is not completely out of reach for women and men.

Here’s what our fashion writers have to say about the experience of putting together different looks for radio announcer Jeremy Teo and television host Megan Tan. The outfits you see here are from H&M, Uniqlo and Topshop/Topman.

Rose print short sleeve shirt (RM166), burgundy chino shorts (RM149) from Topman.
Rose print short sleeve shirt (RM166), burgundy chino shorts (RM149) from Topman.

A man’s maxim

WHEN it comes to styling ourselves, we guys have it more difficult compared to the women. Menswear can be a tad pricier and it is a whole lot less varied in terms of the options available.

A standard outfit would either be a long or short sleeve shirt, paired together with long or short pants. The fairer sex would at least have the extra choice of other clothing pieces like skirts and dresses.

When keeping to a strict budget, layering – which would have assisted in taking the style quotient up a notch – is not easily achieved. Things like blazers and vests add to the cost, and are thus out of the question.

Reversible parka (RM129.90), broadcloth plaid shirt (RM69.90), slim fit jeans (RM149.90) from Uniqlo.
Reversible parka (RM129.90), broadcloth plaid shirt (RM69.90), slim fit jeans (RM149.90) from Uniqlo.

There is also not much that can differentiate between a day and night look for men – aside from throwing on a nice dinner jacket (again costly). We also can’t count on hair and make-up to give us that extra touch of evening glamour.

As such, the only solution is to play around with colours and prints. Clothing made from different materials make a visible difference too, as it helps add variety to an otherwise perceived dull outfit.

For H&M, the combination of a dress shirt from the Liberty print range and pair of dark-coloured jeans is trendy enough for a night out. Day-time’s casual quality is however, emphasised in a knitted sweater top, worn with light-wash denim pants.

Aqua blue long sleeve oxford shirt (RM119), indigo textured micro shorts (RM186) from Topman.
Aqua blue long sleeve oxford shirt (RM119), indigo textured micro shorts (RM186) from Topman.

Topman has a fabulous selection of shorts. While a casual burgundy pair was chosen for day, a navy tailored design seemed more appropriate for night. These were matched with shirts: one with a standout print and the other, a neat-fit cut.

With Uniqlo, light layering was possible. A reversible parka and plaid shirt makes for a great day-to-day wear, for example. An oxford shirt worn underneath a crew neck T-shirt, on the other hand, is seen to be dressier. Bervin Cheong

Off white short sleeve blouse with front gold chain (RM99), black embellished zigzag skirt (RM199), from H&M.
Off white short sleeve blouse with front gold chain (RM99), black embellished zigzag skirt (RM199), from H&M.

The female prerogative

WHAT can I say? It is admittedly easier for us women to get dressed up on a budget. It is also pretty simple to throw on an outfit that effortlessly transitions from day to night.

The options are endless as it ranges from dresses, jackets and tops in coveted designs and styles to shorts, skirts and pants of varying lengths and figure-flattering shapes.

Not to mention with the use of lush fabrics and textures enhanced by embellishments and clever detailing, the options are almost endless.

I guess the real test here, apart from the challenge your wallet poses, is to create a look that appears pricier than it actually is.

Faux leather jacket with black zip details (RM199), black and white wrap skirt with side gold chain (RM99) and gold double circle dangling earrings (RM24.90), from H&M.
Faux leather jacket with black zip details (RM199), black and white wrap skirt with side gold chain (RM99) and gold double circle dangling earrings (RM24.90), from H&M.

From H&M, the rules were bent for the day-time ensemble as night time elements were brought in. A chic off- white short sleeve blouse with a gold chain detail was paired with a black embellished zig zag skirt. For night, the look was taken up a notch in a faux leather jacket with black zip details and black and white wrap skirt with a gold chain detail. A pair of gold double circle dangling earrings were added for a touch of glam.

Skorts abounded in Topshop in various hues and styles. Keeping it light and pretty for the day, a coral skort was matched with an ivory swing shell crop top with a crystal embellished neckline. A simple mini drop waist tunic was selected for night, allowing for the statement tassle necklace to really make the outfit pop.

The ringgit could really be stretched at Uniqlo as fashionable basics were available in a myriad of hues. Keeping it classic, the ultra stretch ankle length jeans in white is paired with a long-sleeve denim shirt. Again, keeping it simple and classic for the night, a ponte pencil mini skirt in black is topped with a rayon volume sleeveless blouse, allowing the accessories to take centrestage. — Nadine Fernandez

Long sleeve denim shirt (RM69.90). Ultra stretch ankle length jeans in white (RM149.90), from Uniqlo.
Long sleeve denim shirt (RM69.90). Ultra stretch ankle length jeans in white (RM149.90), from Uniqlo.

Models:
Jeremy Teo, Megan Tan 
Styling: Bervin Cheong, Nadine Fernandez
Photography: Yap Chee Hong
Hair and makeup: Philex Chin of Peekaboo
Accessories: Stylist/model’s own, unless otherwise stated.

Tags / Keywords: Topshop, Topman, Uniqlo, H M

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