'I'm a fashion editor. Here are the 9 affordable pieces I always get compliments on.'

'I'm a fashion editor. Here are the 9 affordable pieces I always get compliments on.' 'I'm a fashion editor. Here are the 9 affordable pieces I always get compliments on.'

If there’s one thing I've learnt from shopping for a living, it’s that expensive doesn't necessarily mean better. We all know high end brands can slap a logo on a plain cotton t-shirt and charge 500 bucks for it, but does that make the actual tee any more valuable?

Even though I have access to lots of designer gear, some of the best and most heavily worn items in my wardrobe were surprisingly affordable.

I think it’s a common misconception that a "capsule" wardrobe can only consist of investment pieces. What about the more cost-effective finds that become your very own closet classics?

Case in point: I recently posted an outfit on my Instagram featuring a brightly striped knit. It received more likes, comments and saves than any other look I’ve shared this year. The knit was $30 from Target: I spotted it when I was supposed to be buying bed linen, and it’s become one of my absolute winter staples.

Watch: One Scarf Three Ways. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

My secret to finding these pieces is that price is the last thing I look at. I don't go looking for bargains — I seek out items I know will suit my style and spark joy when I wear them, and thanks to this approach I'm often pleasantly surprised by the price tag.

This is the fashion hill I will die on, and if you don’t believe me, then may I present my wedding dress as evidence: I found it at the Zimmermann outlet in Sydney (my reception outfit was from high street retailer Dissh.)

Here are the nine budget-friendly pieces that always get the most compliments when I wear them.

1. H&M blazer.

I dread the day this blazer starts coming apart at the seams. I bought it at H&M three years ago and it’s been solving outfit dilemmas for me ever since, taking me from work events to baby showers to nights out. I find "corporate" blazers can look a little frumpy, whether they’re too snug, the colour feels dated or the fabric has that sheen that gives the price away.

This one is the perfect matte neutral and has the most flattering cut of any blazer I've owned (and I did splash out on an sexy one from Net-A-Porter.) I've found a really similar H&M one below. When you're trying on blazers, always prioritise fit and fabric first.

H&M Single Breasted Blazer, $68.99.

Image: H&M.

2. Kmart Denim Shacket.

Not all denim shirts are created equal. I've had ones in varying lengths and washes over the years, but often find they're too flimsy or short for layering purposes.

The invention of the "shacket" helped address this dilemma, and thankfully you don’t have to spend much to find a good one.

When I saw this sturdy denim option with a scooped hem at Kmart, I snapped it up right away. I went for a medium size to get the right proportions, and had to stop myself from buying its friends in khaki and white.

Every time I wear this, someone will inevitably ask where I got it. 25 bucks from Kmart — you’re welcome!

Kmart Shacket, $25.

Image: Kmart.

3. Glassons jeans.

As much as I'm harping on about spotting bargains, I've spent a small fortune over the years trying to find the perfect jeans. Some have been relatively inexpensive while others have cost a bomb and ended up shamefully stuffed in the back of my denim drawer. But THESE jeans? They ended the search.

They're my absolute favourites, everyone asks where they’re from, and the irony is that they were free! (My tall friend bought them online and realised they were too short, so they came home with me.)

I hear you — free is indeed cheap. But the good news is the jeans are still in stock at Glassons for $60. Their denim section overall is excellent and very budget friendly, but unfortunately they fall down on size inclusivity.

Glassons Jeans, $59.99.

Image: Glassons.

4. Cotton On Body Sweatshirt.

As loungewear has boomed, so have a host of designer loungewear brands with eye-watering price points ($350 track pants? No thanks!)

If you’re looking for truly luxe fabrics like cashmere or satin you'll generally need to invest more for quality, but I don't believe you need to splurge to find cosy everyday basics.

My favourite fleece pullovers come from Cotton On Body, and I’ve put several of my friends onto them too. The Plush Essential Half Zip Jumper comes in lots of colourways and really holds its shape in the wash. I wear mine to daycare drop-off, Pilates — anywhere and everywhere.

Cotton On Body Plush Essential Half Zip Jumper, $49.99.

Image: Cotton On.

5. Nude Lucy pants.

If you know me, you know these cream waffle pants because I’m rarely seen wearing anything else. I bought them on sale at Nude Lucy, which is one of my go-to brands for wardrobe staples. And although the exact ones aren’t available anymore, they have a huge range of lounge pants in rib and knit textures which are often marked down.

I can’t recommend the quality and fit more, and even when they’re full price, it’s still very reasonable.

Nude Lucy Pants, $48.

Image: Nude Lucy.

6. Lily Loves at Target shirt.

What did we wear before oversized shirts? I've gotten soooo much mileage out of a couple I picked up from the Lily Loves line at Target, which cost about $25.

I went up a few sizes to get the look I was going for, but they're cut to be roomy. Every time I wear this green one, someone will assume it’s expensive and ask if it's from a label like Blanca.

While neither Target nor Kmart have these in store at the moment, keep your eyes peeled as we come into spring!

Long Sleeve Boyfriend Shirt, $12-20.

Image: Kmart.

7. Myer Slides.

Slides have the ability to make any outfit look and feel more effortless. Whether they're chunky and anchor a floaty dress, or more streamlined and give that French vibe with jeans and a sweater.

I scored a pair of square-toe, faux patent leather slides for under $50 at Myer, and I loved the black pair so much I went back and got the white.

My colleagues were shocked when I told them how inexpensive they were, assuming I bought them from Alias Mae or Tony Bianco. They’re currently out of stock, but don't let that stop you browsing for other edgy flats — this minimal pair from Novo caught my eye right away.

Novo Vorage Flats, $60.

Image: Myer

8. Chuchka drop earrings.

It would be remiss of me not to mention these drop earrings, which have become a signature accessory and the life of my ear party.

Although they look like fine jewellery, they were actually a budget buy from Sydney brand Chuchka and they've lasted over a year of wear and tear.

Not a day goes by that I don't get comments about them from mum friends, baristas, you name it.

I really recommend layering your gold earrings if you've got multiple piercings, it just makes any look more interesting from the neck up!

Chuchka Earrings, $35.

Image: Chuchka.

9. H&M dress.

I've worn this smock dress on countless occasions, and any time we go away it's the first thing I pack. It weighs nothing, it's easy to chuck on, goes with flats or heels, and makes me feel instantly put-together.

That's the beauty of a great "throw-on-and-go" dress. I've never worn it without at least one person complimenting it, then being shocked when I told them it was from H&M.

The online store has lots of chic little tunic and wrap dresses that won’t break the bank — here’s a similar option I found in black.

H&M Double Weave Tunic Dress, $39.99.

Feature Image: @_tamaradavis_ Instagram.

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