Fashion Flash: Look Fabulous for Less, by Patricia Sterman from Azul Profundo in Tamarindo Costa Rica: These are five great tips to look fabulous dressing on a budget.

Try new things
but stay true
to your personality

Plan well in advance

Everybody is looking for party dresses in December. Why don’t you shop for yours in May? Or buy your school uniforms in December and Halloween costumes in January. The crazy seasonal demand is what makes things expensive and hard to find when you are looking at the last minute.

Dive into the sales

You can find amazing stuff on the sale racks. That perfect dress at the perfect price is yours to discover. It might be the last extra-small or extra-large size left, or that trendy color nobody appreciated last season when it was too far ahead of the curve.

Buy the classics

Kathryn Finney, author of “The Budget Fashionista,” recommends this 70/30 rule for keeping your wardrobe closet in balance: 70 percent should be classic pieces, like a great white top and awesome black handbag. Fun pieces like the orange skinny jeans make up the other 30 percent.

Know your body

The key to building an inexpensive and functional wardrobe is to focus on finding pieces that work for your body and your life. Try new things but stay true to your personality.

Shop with a friend

A friend will help you consider your options and move towards a balance between fashion and price.