Being a frugal fashionista is often confused with buying all your clothes from Primark. But there's an online alternative.

In my opinion, it is more about variety, doing your research and finding things which fit your style without stretching your budget. This can mean combining elements of high street, second-hand, crafted, sample sales and a number of other outlets - it’s a fun and interesting way to build an eclectic wardrobe that shows off your personality.

One online platform which is worth familiarising yourself with is Etsy. An online shopping community, it is a place where independent craftspeople and designers can sell their products, allowing them to reach a wider audience and make money from their talents.

Loading article content

As a consumer, it means you have access to unique products from all around the globe. It’s an online Aladdin's Cave of new design concepts and beautiful items. Etsy is a great place for frugal fashionista’s - many of the designer products on here carry a significantly lower price tag, because they haven’t yet become internationally recognised names. Think on trend and cutting edge clothes, jewellery and accessories with an unoffensive price tag; the only problem is seeking them out - but that’s where I come in!

To give you an idea of the kind of things available, here are a few of my favourite finds in the last few weeks:


1. Necklace, (approx £7.74), YellowLabCreations

2. Ring, (approx £24.53), IlluminanceJewelry

3. Clutch, (approx £37.15), Pirifoolery

4. Bow Belt, (approx £16.14), Rkitekt

5. T-shirt, (approx £22.59), Thingslikediamonds


Etsy can be a difficult thing to navigate round if you haven’t used it before, it’s easy to miss all the gems in a sea of tacky homemade products. To help you out, I’ve put together five top tips for finding fashion gold on Etsy.

Keyword Search Terms

Simply using the categories (eg. Women, Men, Accessories, Home & Living ) on Etsy often returns too many hits - you’ll be looking for hours through pages of rubbish. The best thing to do is either use current trends as a search term, e.g. ‘bebaroque’ ‘Aztec’ ‘Heavily Embellished’ or to use current ‘IT’ items eg. ‘fold-over clutch’ ‘collar’ ‘statement necklace’. By using current fashion lingo, you’re likely to attract search results from designers with similar sense of style to yourself. Once you’ve done that, you can arrange your search results from Low Price to High Price for convenient bargain hunting!

Use Other Peoples ‘Favourites’

If you find an Etsy boutique you like, there is an option to save it to your own account as a ‘favourite’, meaning you will be able to find it with ease in the future. You can do the same thing with individual products - so eventually each user has curated a collection of the styles and items they are most drawn to. If you do find a designer whose style you really like, it’s a fair assumption that you both would like the same products - so if you go under their profile picture you can click through to their own personal favourites and discover products which have a similar aesthetic.

Using the ‘Shop Local’ Option

Although Etsy is an American based company, there are sellers from all over the world. A great way to discover interesting products from Scotland or the UK is to use the ‘Shop Local’ option. This allows you to type in a post code or city and shows you designers and their products from the surrounding area. It’s a perfect way to support local talent while picking up some interesting pieces.

Read the Etsy Blog

Etsy has a few different blogs on their website run by their staff - this feature can be found via a link in the top bar. The blogs highlight particularly good sellers and boutiques, trend items, features on items for upcoming holidays (e.g. halloween) and because they are moderated by the staff you tend to find they feature mostly quality products.

Use Etsy Gift Ideas

The ‘Gift Ideas’ category on Etsy (located next to other categories in the browse menu) is another effective tool for culling through rubbish and finding the best pieces on the site. You can choose from a number of categories; everything from ‘for him’ and ‘for her’ to the more specific, ‘DIYer’ ‘Friends & Co-workers’ or ‘Tech Lover’. There’s then a variety of sub-categories to carry out more specific searches.

Once you master Etsy it’s a great place to find unique fashion items that won’t break the bank - also you can take pride in the knowledge your supporting independent craftspeople and design talent.