Wardrobe 101

Budget Blessers

And a very happy day to you, dear reader!

Everyone I meet seems to want to save money. I get it. I do, too! I have better things to do with my money than buy “stuff.” So in that vein, who couldn’t use a reminder of some Budget Blessers? I say reminding, because like the “eat less, move more” wisdom for losing weight, we all have heard these tips, but sometimes we need a breakdown to see how they apply to our own lives.

In the absence of more incoming cash, saving boils down to: Buy Less, Watch the Cost, Make it Last. Easy, right?

Note:  Let me say this right off the bat. Buying less may sound disingenuous coming from someone who shops for a living, but my goal isn’t to get my clients to buy things for the sake of buying. I am not paid by stores. I work for my clients, and as such, my loyalty lies with my client and his or her budget! Consulting with a Personal Style Coach can be a good money saving proposition. One client told me the cost of her consultation has saved her more than my fee in wardrobe mistakes. (In about six months! That’s a speedy ROI!)

Buy Less

There are many ways to go about this one! If you are trying to save money, (1) Don’t shop for entertainment. If you need something, and cannot make what you have work, then by all means, go to the store and get what you need, but shopping (with your wallet) for entertainment or to socialize (Read more about one of the hazards of social shopping, here.) is not a good way to put more in the bank.

(2) Buy fewer pieces, and better quality. Better quality pieces will wear and last longer, so one good piece, even when more expensive, is cheaper in the long run than three constantly need replacing. It’s the wardrobe version of measure twice, cut once!

Hand in hand with number two is (3) Only buy what you really love AND know you will wear. Is this a flash-in-the-pan item? Can you really see yourself wearing it out? Recently the question: “Will I wear this 30 times?” has surfaced as a guideline to determine if you will get full use out of an item. If the answer is no, maybe it should stay in the store. (Special occasion wear is an exception!)

(4) When you do go shopping, do so with a plan, and a list! Serendipity can bring amazing clothes your way, but can leave you with a closet full of clothes, and few outfits. Look at what you have, determine what you need, make a list, then go shopping. If you want to know more about how I shop…

Watch the Cost

Please don’t be fooled by price! Shopping the sales may be a wise choice, but not always… (1) CPW is the key.

(2) Don’t ignore consignment shopping, and thrift shopping. You can find high quality pieces for a fraction of the price you would pay new. This summer on our beach trip, I swung by a consignment shop that I found last time we visited. I snagged three items for less than the original purchase price of either of the two big ticket items. And those two were new and unused! The shoes had never been worn, and the handbag still had the little clear plastic scratch covers on the lock. Mind you, that Furla Piper and Talbot’s sling back were not on my list, but navy dress shoe and large summer handbag were! I threw in the Ann Taylor shell because I was feeling floaty…

(3) When you buy big ticket items, start bargain hunting early! Especially for special occasion wear. These affairs are (generally) not surprises. Starting to look months before (or even a year before) an event gives you the opportunity to find a gem on the clearance racks. Make sure to choose a less trendy piece that will not plunge into style oblivion before your outing. Remember, if you are buying secondhand or clearance that a good alterations person can be your savior. (But include that in the cost!) I have found “If it’s not worth altering to fit properly, it’s not worth buying.” to be a good benchmark. It narrows the field.

Make It Last

(1) Care for your clothes! Hang them up when you take them off. Air them! Don’t throw them in a heap on the floor. (Or on the chair in the corner. Yes, I saw that!) Learn how to store your things properly. De-pill sweaters and tees. Buy shoes that can be repaired, and take them to the cobbler regularly. Polish your leather shoes; brush your suede ones.

(2) Wash clothes when they are dirty, not every time you take them off. Treat stains immediately. Rest and air your clothes and shoes between wearings. When you wash, make sure to pretreat stains, and unless the load really requires hot, wash on warm or cold. Turn clothing inside out when washing to protect the inner surfaces from rubbing against each other. That rubbing wears the fibers and dye. The dryer is even harder on your clothes than the washer, so air dry as you can. (I hate the way jeans feel air dried, so when I air dry them, I tumble them afterwards for a few minutes to soften them up.) (For other good wardrobe habits, read this…)

(3) Wear it again and again. Restyle it. Accessories are your best friend! When we had an annual military ball to attend, I had two dresses… Both pretty simple. I alternated them from year to year, and since the most of the people who were there the first year had PCS’d (moved) by year three, no one would notice. Different jewelry and a change of wrap or jacket sorted it out. For a stretch I had only one. And I don’t think anyone was the wiser!

These are just a few tips for blessing your (wardrobe) budget? Do you have any others you can share? I’d love to hear them… Let’s start a conversation in the comments below!

Stylishly yours,

Thank you to Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb, and Nancy at Nancy’s Fashion Style for the Link-Ups! Your generosity and encouragement is appreciated!







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