It can be difficult to look like a million bucks when you are on a budget. But remember, things that are difficult to do are not the same as things that are impossible to do. Whether you have a specific function to attend or are looking for high-end everyday fashions, a little bit of guidance and know-how, are all you need to find the perfect look without having to break the bank.

Buying well-made, high-quality pieces at affordable prices takes a little bit of patience. It is not as simple as walking into a store, picking something off the rack, and walking back out. There is a bit of a science to it but if you keep an open mind and remember the following tips, you should have no problem at all.

Perform a quality check:

For starters, you need to know what you are looking for. If you find and fall in love with a dress, take a closer look at the seams. Is the stitching tight and neat or does it look flimsy? Are the seams straight? If there is a pattern on the dress, does it match up at the seam? If the dress has beads, buttons, or snaps, check to see how well they are attached. It may be tempting to just grab something on the cheap but this plan rarely works out in the long run. Cheap clothing does not last and you’ll end up spending more money replacing these pieces. Why buy something several times when you can just buy it once and be done?

Follow care instructions:

Pay attention to the care instructions on the label. If it says “hand wash” or “dry clean only,” it is best to do so. This will help keep your dresses looking crisp and fresh without causing them to lose their shape.

Now that you know how to spot and care for quality items, it’s time to learn how to find them at the best possible prices.

Know where to shop:

Don’t be afraid to look in thrift stores and consignment shops. These places can be hit and miss, and it may take you some time to find exactly what you are looking for, but if you’re patient, you can come across some incredible deals. It isn’t unusual to find designer labels that retail for hundreds of dollars, selling for tens of dollars. Take your time and look carefully through all the relevant offerings. This effort is worth the sense of satisfaction that comes from finding the perfect dress.

You don’t have to stick to brick and mortar stores, either. Shopping online can be a great way to find exactly what it is you are looking for. This option is particularly useful when you are shopping for a specific event or looking for a particular style. You can narrow your search to your exact specifications without having to spend time travelling from place to place. From there, you can easily compare dresses and price points to find the combination that works best for you. There are some incredible deals and unique finds to be had online. Click here to see for yourself.

Know when to shop

Shopping in the off season is one of the greatest tools available to a bargain hunter. When the seasons change, so does the clothing. This means that retailers will drastically reduce prices on current stock to make room for the incoming merchandise. If you are looking for high quality summer dresses, for example, look for them in late August or early September. Same goes for cold weather clothing. Stock up on long sleeves and heavier fabrics in the springtime.