April 21, 2016

How To Find The Perfect Outfit On A $30 Budget

Photo by Larry Everage for CMH Style​

by Mike Orie of www.theconscioustip.com

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably already settled into your go-to shopping habits and/or stores. Or, if you’re exactly like me, you might loathe shopping all together. But regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, somebody has to do it, and do it well. While some cringe at the thought of overcrowded dressing rooms and trying on the same outfit in multiple colors. Others have mastered a specific skillset that allows them to shop in confidence. This skill of confidence can be established through creativity and attention to detail. Style consultant Christine M. Hamilton has over the past several years mastered the art of shopping on a budget. We reached out to her to show us how to most effectively pick the perfect outfit with little to no money. Below, she’s hand selected a custom outfit for the ladies, on a $30 budget. After seeing the cost breakdown, you’ll probably wonder how she did it.

Top: Goodwill $2, Sunglasses: $5, Necklace: H&M (via Buffalo Exchange) $8, Pants: Forever XXI (via Buffalo Exchange) $5, Shoes: Top Shop (via Buffalo Exchange) $10.

Photo by Larry Everage for CMH Style

Christine M. Hamilton, a New Orleans transplant, by way of Baton Rouge launched CMHstyle her umbrella brand for all things fashion related. The brand encompasses style consulting, personal shopping and a personal style blog. Her website, CMHStyle.com is a compilation of personal style, visual merchandising and her ever growing styling portfolio. But while New Orleans is known for many things, fashion probably isn't one that comes to mind. Christine has instead embraced the southern culture, making it her own. “The lifestyle in The South is very "laissez faire"; laid back and casual. Down here it's wet and warm, and not just in terms of the climate. The people here are open-armed, always down for a celebration, and (in New Orleans specifically) the culture runs deep. I would say that my style reflects a bit of that.” Unlike cultural hubs DC, New York and Chicago, living in the Deep South might have its perks. A one size fits all wardrobe. “Whether it is work, happy hour, or a night out on the town, I can pretty much wear one look for all,” she says. Christine has embraced a casual, yet stylish look that can be enhanced or dressed down with a simple swap of shoes or accessories. She does it effortlessly and with grace.

And while I, myself have attempted and failed many times at thrifting, Christine has has developed a strategy that has made her a lot more successful. I ask her how she’s been able to find success and if there’s a specific strategy she keeps in mind for thrifting. “Don't go in looking for anything specific. It sounds crazy, but I've found some of my best items on a whim.” However, it turns out that we’re both asking the same questions when we’re shopping. Albeit, hers at a place a lot more challenging. “Once I spot something, I instantly ask myself "How many ways can I wear this?" and "Is this a staple piece or just trendy?” I only move to the next step of trying it on if I can answer those questions correctly.” The major difference in this scenario is that I'm usually applying these questions to a shirt that could easily surpass this $30 budget.

Photo by Larry Everage for CMH Style

But what made it’s way into Christine’s life as a gift at a young age is still somewhat of a daunting experience for many. Almost like a spider. At some point you have to kill it, or except that it’s presence might linger forever. Shopping can sometimes feel that way. And this is where CMH style comes in. “My job is to alleviate that pressure and make it more of a therapeutic experience. Many of my clients have come to me during transitional stages in their lives (new jobs, divorce, recent weight loss, etc.) so to be able to coach them through, my passion for style and fashion is an honor and privilege.” So whether you’re shopping for a first date, professional work attire or completely reinventing yourself, she’s got you. Regardless of where you live in the world, Christine’s style consultant services allows her to guide you from anywhere. Her $30 hand selected outfit will most likely leave you feeling one way. A newfound confidence to reinvent yourself through style.​

You can keep up with Christine’s visual style portfolio via her Instagram here.

You can also check out her website and contact her directly here.


Mike "Orie" Mosley is a freelance writer/photographer and cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the co-founder of music and culture website www.theconscioustip.com. In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie

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