It’s that time of the week again: date night. Whether the plan is going out with an old flame or getting to know a new spark, looking fresh and funky is incredibly important. Choosing the right outfit to wear often feels like the hardest part of a date.
When meeting a new person we tend to judge, at least instinctively, on how they look, even if our judgments and opinions change as we get to know them. This means that looking and feeling our best should be as much of a priority for date night as liking the date themselves is.
While we all want to look our best, it can sometimes feel like an impossible task. Nice clothes are expensive, and sometimes bloggers and influencers can convince us that we need to spend hundreds of dollars on a single shirt in order to feel good about our sense of style. We’re here to tell you that that’s not the case. Every girl deserves to feel and look her best, especially when date night is on the line.
We’ve created a guide for all the broke girls out there; take a look at these 25 pictures and find out how easy it is to make the brokest of broke nights look rocking.
25 Make Sure Your Outfit Really, Genuinely Fits
The first step is something that we all should be doing regardless of what our love life is like.
Having properly fitted clothes is not a luxury; it’s something that we should be telling ourselves we deserve.
Cosmopolitan states that bringing even the cheapest business two-piece or discount skirt to a tailor will ensure that it hugs and skims in all the places it needs to, ultimately showing your body at its best. We also love getting our clothes re-tailored after gaining or losing weight, as it extends the lifetime of a piece.
24 Keep Your Eye On The Details (Like Loose Threads)
Cosmopolitan gives us another great tip, which is in a similar vein as tailoring. They mention the fact that if that final scan in the mirror makes a loose thread or missing button appear, dealing with it before heading out can make a huge difference to an outfit.
While it might seem like a little thing, details can make or break an outfit. One thread can make the whole look come loose. Why? Well, if it’s visible in that last-glance mirror check, we can pretty confidently say that other people are definitely going to see it if they so much as glance at you.
23 Makeup Makes More Of An Impact Than You Think
This is a relatable thing that we’ve all felt at least once.
How many times have you scrolled through your social media feed and seen a girl in a college sweatshirt and jeans looking amazing, while you look like like a college-branded potato?
It’s happened to us more times than we can count. The biggest difference we’ve noticed? Makeup. Having well-done makeup and hair is often the biggest difference between a blogger’s photo and our take on the style. Makeup can take an outfit from bleak to chic.
22 “Slip” On A Smooth Under Layer
See what we did there? If you’re looking for a way to make your cheap dresses and skirts look a little more elegant, pick up a cheap slip. Cosmopolitan suggests that we invest in slips and other underthings because it’s the smoothest way to set ourselves up for success.
But we've found that the basic and less expensive ones work well too. Cheap clothes automatically look well-fitting when they’re smooth and non-wrinkled. Plus, it might help give some extra coverage when you’re dealing with those super windy days.
21 Fix Collar And Cuff Wrinkles With A Hair Straightener
While we're not suggesting broke girls don't own irons, what's the point in breaking out the ironing board before your big date? And if you don't own an iron, here's a tip you need.
Avoid ruining your favorite dress or shirt with a heavy-duty iron by whipping out the hair straightener instead.
Your hair straightener packs plenty of heat, but you can apply it to small sections of your clothes for the same anti-wrinkling effects of a full-size iron. And, you can complete minor smoothing in a matter of minutes.
20 Think Outside The Dress With Playsuits
Since it’s summertime, we figured we had to throw in everyone’s favorite closet staple: playsuits. Whether you’re looking at something covered in palm leaves or a sleek black number that’s dripping in lace, there’s a playsuit out there for you.
We personally love playsuits in lieu of dresses. If you’re going on a fancy date but you don’t have a nice dress readily available, don’t be afraid to throw on a playsuit with heels. It’s gotten us out of many sticky situations and will make you stand out (in the best way) at black tie affairs.
19 Playing With Patterns Will Make You Pop
Mujo Magazine talks about different fabric styles in their New Years Eve article. Not only do they discuss patterns and textures, but they also discuss sequins! The point of it all?
Be careful that you’re balancing your stand-out pieces, like patterns.
Playing with patterns and doing them right will make you stand out. If this means wearing a bright skirt and a cheap, black t-shirt and flats, do it. Your outfits will be totally better than ever by balancing those pops of pattern properly. And you don’t have to spend a dime!
18 And Textures Will Tease Your Date
How many times have you asked to feel a date’s shirt or jacket just so you could touch them? We know we certainly have. Building off of Mujo Magazine’s advice about fun fabrics, we would be remiss if we didn’t talk about texture. Take, for example, velvet.
Velvet is often the star of an outfit, whether you planned on it or not. Embrace the texture of a piece and make it the focal point of that outfit. Keep your accessories on the plain side if you’re going to wear an all-over texture. Just don’t forget to wear it with pride!
17 Adding An Elegant Hairstyle Can Elevate An Outfit
In a similar point to what we said above about makeup making a lazy outfit look like luxury, topping your H&M dress off with a professional-looking set of curls or a freshened-up set of bangs will make it look much more put together.
The outfit automatically becomes something that was a conscious choice, rather than just something you threw on.
Plus, you’re likely going to be seated across from your date waist-up for most of the evening… Most of what they’re seeing is your hair!
16 Try Updating Your Cheapest Pieces With Classier Buttons
Cosmopolitan said it first and we have to agree: details like buttons can be the neon sign that tells people “I’m incredibly cheap." While it’s certainly a necessity to have cheap, readily accessible clothes for people, not all of us want to rock that style.
Cosmo suggests replacing cheap-looking buttons with classy ones, which you can often get for a dollar or two from a sewing or craft store. Changing plastic buttons to mother-of-pearl ones will take that skirt from basic to classic in no time flat.
15 Utilize Statement Pieces And Bold Color Accents To Get Away With Re-Wearing Items
One of the great things about being a broke girl is not having to feel bad about re-wearing your outfits or buying cheap staples. In fact, Cosmopolitan says that it makes sense to purchase your basics (like black turtlenecks and ankle boots) from cheap places.
Investing in statement pieces and other add-ons makes more financial and fashion sense.
We’re willing to bet you already have a few good statement pieces; don’t be afraid to swap those out on top of the same dress for a couple dates.
14 Splurge On A Ribbon Or Scarf To Make A Striking Look
Not a ribbons kind of girl? Not a problem. You can still get the essence of what we’re going for here. Who What Wear suggests picking up a cheap ribbon or scarf and integrating it into all of your looks.
This will then become your “signature," making any outfit (no matter how sweatpants and jeans-y) into a signature statement. We do appreciate this tip from a cohesive style side of things, and like when we can integrate a lovely scarf into an outfit.
13 Dress Down Your Work Components To Make A Chic Date Look
The Every Girl released a great guide talking about the different date night looks you can achieve. One of the tips that came up again and again was taking pants, blazers, and skirts that might be part of your work wardrobe rotation and sticking them into your date night rotation.
A good blazer can make a pair of jeans cocktail hour worthy, while a work pant can dress up a casual-looking long sleeve top.
This makes it easy to make dates for after work as well. Just bring a single different component, rather than the whole wardrobe!
12 Suggest A Casual Date So The Dress Code Is Loose
This is one of our personal favorite tricks in the book. One of the best ways to make sure you look good on the date is to suggest an activity that’s on roughly the same level as the outfit you want to wear.
Unwilling to get out of your jeans? Throw on a button-up and grab brunch. Want to stick to a sundress, rather than a makeup-and-heels look? Suggest that the two of you go for a walk, or read books together by the beach. The more casual you go, the looser the dress code is.
11 Make Sure You’re Dressing For Your Shape
Something that many fashion magazines will tell you is the fact that you need to dress for your shape. While we might be putting on those “curvy” jeans hoping that they’ll give us what we desire, it doesn’t actually work like that. If you have some curves, you shouldn’t hide them.
Embrace whatever natural body you’ve got, and highlight it with your clothes.
Don’t be afraid to put on a tight skirt or bodycon dress on a first date. This will turn your outfits from reluctant to resplendent.
10 Shop Your Friends' Closets By Doing A Pre-Date Clothing Swap
Have you ever been to a clothing swap before? If not, we recommend you give it a try. Who What Wear assures us that organizing a clothing swap is easy. Get your friends to bring over a bunch of clothes they don’t want anymore, and throw them in a pile on your apartment floor.
Everyone gets to pick up some “new” clothes, and the unwanted ones can then get donated. Alternatively, you can also shop your friends’ closets by asking to borrow Candace’s new halter dress and Jordan’s pink purse. They’ll (probably) say yes.
9 Bring On The Little Black Dress
The Every Girl writes “you can never go wrong in all black” and we have to agree. Black is a staple color in our personal wardrobe, as we can’t resist all of its clear positives.
Not only does black match basically everything, but it’s the perfect color for versatility.
You can make it sweet, spicy, or tough. Everyone looks good in black, as black is very striking. Don’t be afraid to just throw on your Little Black Dress and hit the town with your date; they won’t realize your look is effortless.
8 But Show Your Personality
Ultimately, you need to show you. While a little black dress is a staple that we all should have a variation of, it doesn’t do any good if you’re not feeling like yourself in it. The top tip for a broke girl to remember is that we all have a glow that clothes can’t change.
That glow is beautiful, so why not let it shine through your personal style? Give your date a little bit of that sassy personality you’ve got, and we’re willing to bet they’ll be eager for more. Even if you only wore a t-shirt and jeans.
7 Simple Looks Will Let You Sparkle
Conversely, simple looks can be a good bet to ensure that your personality will be the sparkliest accessory you’re wearing. Cosmopolitan says that “streamlining” your look can give you some awesome results, especially if you’re prone to over-dressing on the jewelry.
The simpler your style is, the less likely you are to fall into the trap of cheap-looking bedazzlement, distressed material, or pleats.
Even if you don’t utilize it for this date night, it’s incredibly important when looking for staples for your wardrobe (which will end up being used for other date nights).
6 Jazz Plain Dresses Up With Jewelry
It’s not just articles of clothing that can get the moniker “statement pieces”. Jewelry can do the same thing but in a more subtle way. While Cosmopolitan suggests streamlining your jewelry choices, we think that the right chunky necklace and bracelet combo can totally and completely change the look of a plain dress.
Jumping on the body chain trend from a few years ago will also help, as that can cover more surface area of a dress (and thus give you some more camouflage).
5 Dark Jeans Are Always Appropriate
We will never, ever tell you that dark jeans are out of fashion. Why? They’re always in fashion. Black skinny jeans go with literally everything, as The Every Girl says.
They love their dark denim and make an excellent point about matching it with something colorful and fun.
If you’re not sure what to wear on a date and don’t want to spend any money buying a new dress, pull out your black skinny jeans and a fun top. Put your focus on your hair and makeup and you’ll definitely find yourself feeling good.
4 If You Want A Really Special Something… Look At The Outlet Stores
You’ve got a big date coming up. Maybe it’s an anniversary, or maybe it’s the first face-to-face meeting you’ve ever had with your online lover from Austin, Texas. Whatever the occasion, you want to invest in a special outfit. Make your money stretch by shopping online at different wholesale or shopping outlet places.
Who What Wear says that this is one of their top tips for those that want to dress like an influencer, but we think it works well for anyone wanting a special, inexpensive something for date night too.
3 Consider Silky Pajamas For Something Saucy
Fashion Wanderer tells us that one of the best ways to extend the usage of your wardrobe is to integrate items like pajamas and slips into your date night looks. The slip dress has luckily come back into fashion, which makes it the perfect thing to wear on a third or fourth date.
The slip dress is popular, funky, and incredibly cool in the summer (while keeping you and your date toasty in other ways).
We love wearing slip dresses, though we’ve also heard silky pajama shirts are coming into fashion, too. Time to experiment!
2 Get Inspiration From Budget-Beauty Bloggers
Sometimes the best thing you can do is copy other people. At least, when it comes to the world of budget fashion. Looking at budget beauty bloggers like AnA Budget can give you some great inspiration for outfits that you can make on your own.
Oftentimes she’ll work with pieces that we all typically have in our wardrobe, making this a great blogger to follow if you don’t want to have to invest too much time or money in searching for specifics. You’ll never wonder how things will look together again.
1 Don’t Be Afraid To Pull Out Your Show-Stopping Items
Something that Cosmopolitan and Who What Wear said was to look at statement pieces. We’ve said these words a couple times, but for those who don’t know, statement pieces are items that are the focus of the outfit.
Statement pieces typically take a plain outfit and make it spectacular or dressy by adding color, texture, shape, or a general visual difference.
While you don’t have to wear them if you don’t want to, we say… Why not? Pull out a show-stopping item on a date and see what happens. You might find you get even more attention than you had before, and for something that you already had in your wardrobe!