5 Tips To Create Runway Fashion On A Budget

Did you know that a fashion show during fashion week can cost from $15,000 up to $60,000? No wonder the clothing is so expensive! I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend my money on tea and books, so I have developed a method to create runway fashion on a tea sipping bookworm’s budget.

In this article, I share 5 tips that make up my method to creating runway worthy ensembles on a budget that won’t break the bank.

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A Tried & True Method

So, how did the method to creating runway fashion on a budget come about? Out of desperation, like most methods. LOL. As teenagers, my sister and I loved fashion and we were always following the runway shows of Chanel, Dior, Prada, Dsquared2, etc. We quickly realized, however, that our part-time minimum wage budgets just weren’t going to cut it if we wanted to look like we just stepped off the runway. Instead of giving up, we unconsciously created a method to satisfy our need for runway fashion while still fulfilling our desire to not be broke.

I have been using this method somewhat obliviously for many years and now I have identified 5 tips that essentially create the method. It works every time and whenever I apply it I always get tons of compliments on my ensembles.

The method starts with your inspiration made up of pieces that aren’t within your budget, or maybe they are and you’d just rather spend the money on more books and tea. I completely understand. For example, my inspiration for this post is the Fall 2018 fashion line of Dior (see below). I love how simple the line is with a nod to western equestrian culture. I’m from Texas so anything western and equestrian gives me the feels. LOL. See how I use my method to create runway fashion on a budget and to recreate 3 of the looks from this line.


Almost all runway ensembles have at least 1 key piece that makes the outfit unique. It is important to identify this key piece or pieces in order to recreate the outfit. For example, look at the second photo of my inspiration of Dior Fall 2018, specifically, the outfit of the model standing next to the horse. Can you identify the key pieces of her outfit?

If you at least said, ‘the corset’, then you’d be right. Without the corset the outfit just wouldn’t be the same. Perhaps you would go so far as saying ‘the tie’. I would also include the skirt because the length lends to the dramatic effect of the corset and if you imagine the outfit with a shorter skirt you can see how it would completely change the vibe. So, always identify the key pieces of the outfit and try to find pieces very similar.


Tip #2 is very important because color can change how you feel and how an ensemble looks. You want to maintain the color scheme of your inspiration because it’s probably one of the main reasons the outfit even caught your eye.

Imagine if I decided to replace the white button down with a black or red button down. Wouldn’t it almost change the outfit completely? Or take for instance the white and black jacket in the second image. Would it look the same if the jacket were blue? Changing the color of one piece may send you spiraling into needing to change the entire color scheme of the ensemble so just stick to your inspiration and maintain the color scheme.


If this method is going to work then you must stick to the ‘2 out of all rule’. What is the ‘2 out of all rule’? This rule stipulates that out of all the pieces of the ensemble you need to choose at least 2 that are almost identical to your inspiration pieces. In my experience, it is best that these 2 items also be the key pieces.

Runway fashion is unique and sometimes the pieces are precedents to what the more affordable brands will eventually copy so the replicas may not even be on the market yet. None the less, try your best in finding identical pieces. For example, in the second photo of my inspiration, you can see a lace high neck top that flares out at the shoulder and a polka dot skirt. Finding an exact match to this top would be impossible but finding a black high neck lace top with flared sleeves is possible. What about the polka dot skirt? It is obviously a key piece in this outfit, however, how many cream-colored small polka dot skirts can you find? (I couldn’t find any, by the way). Therefore, instead of going with the print, I decided to focus on the color scheme and style: Find a cream or gold colored pleated maxi skirt (and I did!).


The ‘vibe’ of an outfit is the feel or even the time period of the outfit. Does your inspiration give off a mod vibe? What about a bohemian vibe? Perhaps your inspiration lends a 50's vibe or an upper Manhattan vibe. Whatever the vibe, stick to it.

For example, my inspiration, Dior Fall 2018, has an equestrian or western vibe. It would be odd if I had chosen a skirt or even a jacket with color blocking. Color blocking is a method frequently used in mod fashion which would have thrown off the western vibe. Instead, I purchased a jacket with a traditional and equestrian print: plaid. Remember, you are inspired by what you see so don’t try to change it too much or you will end up with an entirely different outfit.


OK, so in keeping with the overall harmony of your inspiration you don’t want to go crazy with tip #5. It’s not a bad thing, however, to add a touch of ‘you’. In my inspiration, the models have on flat footed boots which are super chic, but I am super short LOL so in my opinion I look better in a heel. I decided to go with a fabric hat instead of a straw hat because I like wearing straw in spring and summer while I reserve my fabric hats for fall and winter.

It’s ok to add a little bit of your own personality when creating your ensemble, after all, you’re going to be the one wearing your outfit and you want to look less costume-y and more natural.


white button down long sleeve shirt | black skinny tie | black fabric hat | black woven belt | black and white plaid jacket | white maxi skirt | black maxi skirt | black corset | gold pleated maxi skirt | black lace flared sleeve shirt | black buckled booties

I really hope that my method and tips for creating runway fashion on a budget help you in creating your own affordable runway ensembles. In the end, who wants to spend an arm and leg on shirts and shoes when you would probably give your whole body for books and tea?

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Which tip is your favorite?

#FashionbyGabie #runway #Dior #style #budget

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