With a little creativity, you can too.

By Caroline Vazzana
Updated November 08, 2017

The holidays are hands down one of my favorite times of the year. Yes, for the obvious reasons like baking and shopping. But, one of my favorite holiday “traditions” is the ample opportunity to get dressed up. From office parties to holiday dinners to New Year’s Eve, all of the excuses to wear those glamorous pieces (you know, the ones with glitter, sparkles, and tulle) really make the season feel special.

And while twirling on the dance floor in a sequined frock never gets old, spending a lot on outfits definitely does. I personally love a good deal, and rarely ever buy anything full-price. So when Real Simple asked me to put together an entire holiday wardrobe for less than $75, I happily accepted the challenge. Read on for more on the pieces I’ll be adding to my closet this holiday season—and my pro tips for scoring stylish finds—all for under $75.

The Statement Top

Shopping vintage is one of my many tricks of the trade. I found a fully beaded top at one of my favorite vintage stores, Monkey Girlz Treasures. It's from the ‘60s, but the floral beading makes it feel au courant this season. The best part? It was half-off the already low vintage-store price. At only $17.95 (including the 50 percent discount), it was one of those rare finds you know you’ll never come across again. And between the classic silhouette and delicate beaded flowers, it will probably become one of my favorite items in my wardrobe. An insider trick to vintage shopping? Go into the store with plenty of time—there’s a lot to sift through, and if rush through it, you’re bound to miss something really special.

The Fancy Skirt

If you’re the kind of person who feels like beading and sequins is over-the-top, a silky fabric with a little shimmer is a great way to add festive appeal. Still not convinced? I scored mine for just $12.49, which made it easy to take the plunge without worrying about buyer’s remorse.

The Brocade Jacket

You know what they say: A good jacket can make any outfit. Looking for holiday outerwear that feels a little fancier, but don’t want to make a huge investment? Here’s a secret: Goodwill has so many beautiful pieces at bargain prices. I found a brocade gold and blue jacket for only $13.99 that I can also wear post-NYE to perk up basic jeans-and-a-tee ensembles.

The Perfect Party Shoes

Holiday shoes should be three things: special, sparkly, and, of course, show-stoppers. I went in to Forever 21 with a mission to find the perfect party shoes. When I spotted these sparkly flats, I liked how they looked but felt like they needed something extra. As I made my way to the cash register, I spotted a headband with two blue pom-poms and instantly knew that the “something extra” my shoes needed was just a little DIY magic. I removed the pom-poms from the headband and used a hot glue gun to attach them to the front of my shoes. Voila! My $19.90 flats look like a unique piece that could be worth so much more! I’ll be getting a lot of use out of these even after the holidays.

Rebecca Glasser-Baker

The Glam Bag

A delicate beaded bag can do a lot to elevate an outfit. This one was only $1 (!) from a bin at the Salvation Army—almost too good to be true. Places like Goodwill and Salvation Army are veritable treasure chests for little odds and ends. All you need is the willingness to look and use your imagination—with the proper styling and tailoring, even the most unexpected piece can become the shining star of your wardrobe.

The Crystal Earrings

Jewelry is another moment where you can really let your DIY skills shine. I made these earrings for only $3.99 with supplies I bought from Michael’s.

My grand total? Just shy of budget, at $74.12.

Want to see more? Follow Caroline on Instagram @cvazzana, and online at makingmanhattan.com.