I believe that the best way to look good without spending a lot is to buy good quality classic clothes and recombine them into current-looking outfits. A lot of people seem to be unable to think beyond an outfit’s original pieces and purpose. They either wear it long past its having gone out of style or else get rid of perfectly good clothes that, with a little creativity, they could easily update.
For example, this purple suit looks pretty dated with its double-breasted jacket and big shoulder pads. But look at the skirt by itself: pair that with an updated blouse and you’d have a nice work outfit.
Here’s an example from my own wardrobe. I have a black and pink polka-dot skirt that was originally ankle-length and part of an outfit that included a long sweater, which looked fine in the mid-90’s. But hemlines rose, silhouettes changed, and a-line skirts came into style. I took the long skirt to my favorite tailor and had it shortened to knee-length. For less than I would’ve spent on a new skirt of equal quality I was able to reuse my polka-dot skirt. Since shortening it, I’ve worn it more times than I can count, paired with short sweaters for an updated look. I’d call this a re-use success.