By Sonia Lockyer

A few weeks ago, I called into Kmart to buy my fiancé some socks, as you do. Business and sport socks in hand, I figured that, if he had new items of clothing, it’d only be fair for me to check out the Ladies Wear section. You know, to even things out a little.

First stop, shoes. I’d been on the lookout for cute black peep-toe wedges for a while now.

I found some immediately and they ticked all the boxes: looked good, comfortable, heel was not too high, and the price was right. Sold.

Score Number 1 – wedges, $19

Buy similar bargain wedges online: $15 Cotton On.

I was feeling quite chuffed with myself as I wandered back through Ladies-wear, only to be stopped mid-meander by a rack of coloured jeans. They had a lolly-jar assortment, but it was the red pair that caught my eye. Into the shopping basket they went.

Score Number 2 – red jeans, $19

Buy similar bargain red jeans online: $25 Supre, $30 ASOS.

Soon after, I discovered an array of sheer shirts in different prints. I decided the most versatile was the black shirt with small white polka dots and a white-collar. Work AND weekend appropriate, I’d be silly to leave it hanging.

Score Number 3 – polka dot shirt, $19

Buy similar bargain polka dot shirt online: $9.95 Dotti.

I have quite the collection of black singlets. They’re essential to layering. So what was one more at a mere $5? And racer back too – I needed another one of those. Done.

Score Number 4 – black singlet, $5

Buy similar bargain singlet online: $10 ASOS.

At this stage, I realised I basically had an entire outfit, but what’s an outfit without the right accessories? That’s when I found these gorgeous green studs and stackable rings that matched perfectly.

Score Numbers 5 & 6 – stud earrings, $5 and stackable rings, $9

Buy bargain earrings online: $5 for six Rubi. Buy bargain stackable rings online: $12 Nordstrom, $20 Shopbop.



Kicking bargain-goals at Discount Department Stores

Now I’m no mathematician, but once I’d scanned in all of my loot, I realised that I had managed to buy an entire outfit for $76. In my books, that’s not too bad at all.

Plus, all of the items were great quality, bang on-trend, and look amazing together!


Sonia’s top tips to look expensive with inexpensive items:
  • Take your time to flick through the rack. Quite often, there are different pieces crammed into the same rack, and you can uncover a hidden gem.
  • Try to pick pieces that haven’t been heavily featured in the store’s advertising. This way no one will know where it’s from immediately.
  • Stock up basics – singlet tops, underwear, socks – the kind of things you always need, and buy them in multiples.
  • Try out trends. Discount department stores like Kmart, Big W and Target are catching onto trends quickly, and selling them at amazingly affordable prices. It’s an easy way to instantly update your wardrobe classics without breaking the bank.


For more great tips from Sonia, check out her 7 days of hair how-to’s, chat to her on Twitter @ShesSonic and check out her blogs, She’s Sonic, and Shop Me Chic.


Want more tips on how to look expensive when you’re strapped for cash? Australia’s Next Top Model’s Josh Flinn shared his top 3 tips here.


What’s been your best style score from a Discount Department Store? And do men ever buy their own socks? 

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  • Do men ever buy their own socks?

    Not in this house.

    Also, does anyone else have a partner who will fold and put away underwear that belongs to everyone else in the house but you because that would be just WEIRD?

      • I can honestly say that my fiance has never bought a pair of socks or undies for himself since we got together over 7.5 years ago. I also do all the washing and putting away. I’ve seen his laundry skills – he has none. Lucky he’s so good looking!! Haha!! x

  • Fantastic post!!  I love how you’ve pulled this fabulous outfit together that would work for so many occasions.  A lesson to all of us that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to look fabulous. Amy x

  • I love those stackable rings, I will defintely be looking out for those on my next shopping trip.

    I will admit that without Kmart, Big W and Target I wouldn’t have a wardrobe at all. My ‘splurge’ items come from Myer and Katies. My reality!

  • Great post.

    Sonia really knows how to pull an chic outfit together, and you would never know that the whole look cost less than $80.

    I have to say that Big W, Kmart and Target have really pulled up their socks (he,he) lately and I make sure that I check them out regularly for trendy pieces as well as my staple items such as singlets and scoop neck tees.

    xx Jac

  • Good work Sonia.. I love to mix chain store finds with my more expensive pieces. I am the Queen of bargain hunting, I love the thrill of the chase, I love the oh where is that from??? I love being stylish with a normal everyday woman’s budget You did so well..x

  • Just purchased blue and red coloured jeans today from Big W!  Super comfy and for $18.84 it would have been criminal to have left them on the rack!!  I have purchased quite a few of Big W’s “Emerson” brand pieces and have had heaps of compliments.  I love it when people comment on something I am wearing and they can’t believe the price.  I also buy lots of quality “brand name’ items on ebay!  Mostly with tags still attached!!  Score!  I very rarely buy anything at full price- also got some gorgeous cargos on the sale rack at Sporstsgirl today!

  • I adore this look, the shirt is divine and I also have a pair of red jeans so I approve. I don’t go to Kmart though because it is too far from where I live. Thank you for including online options and I love the poses Sonia X

  • Not sure what I love more, the article, Ms S or that gorgeous photo rocking out some very cute accessories and a fabulous ponytail!

    What a wonderful marriage made in blog heaven the two of you foxy ladies would make! 


  • I’m hearing you sista!! I stumbled into Kmart on Mother’s Day after lunch because my partner needed  new car battery – well, 2 long sleeved black tees for me at about $8 each, a couple of sports bras for about $18 the pair, some incredibly cool leopold pint leggings and a cast iron blue casserole dish – that I was really unsure about at $25 (was that too cheap??!) which looks amazing in my kitchen and that I’ve used twice this week already. Go Kmart!!!!

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