I recently made a surprising discovery. I don't spend half as much on clothes as most of my friends do. I knew I was a bit stingy when it came to clothing shopping, but I think it came as a surprise because I considered myself fairly well dressed. I was used to getting a fair amount compliments on my outfits. So I decided to figure out why my friends were spending twice as much as I was on equally cute clothes.
It boils down to just a few factors such as trends, mindset, and most obviously, where you shop. With these factors in mind, I've created a list of tips for how to create a fabulous wardrobe on a tight budget. Some you may have heard before, and some are more of a change of mindset than a map to the cheapest prices, but I can personally attest that all of them have helped me save money and create a closet of clothes that I really love.
1) Ask yourself why you're buying it.
If your answer is 'because it's in right now' you might want to re-consider. There's often a big difference between buying something because it's 'in' and buying something because you like it. Trust me, I've been there several times. Just the other day I was sorting my closet and I found a handful of neon tank-tops and I had one of those 'wow, did I really wear this?' moments. (If your parents lived in the 70's I'm sure they've felt this way more than once) And then I realized that I'd bought those tank tops back in 2012 when all the young teen girls were buying everything mint green and neon at Forever21. If you're a neon person, more power to you, but I'm not, and I didn't even wear most of those tank tops more than twice. So next time you're buying something trendy, make sure you love it for its own sake, not because everyone else is buying it. You might just be surprised by how much you save on shopping trips.
2) Give it a day.
Avoid buying things that aren't on your shopping list. In the moment you may think you really need that gorgeous chiffon clutch, but this study shows that people regret 71% of impulse purchases, and most of them are clothes. In fact, this probably goes for most impulse buys. Just don't. Give it a day or even a week, and if that chiffon clutch is still as necessary as it seemed when you were at the mall, then, by all means, go for it. But bear in mind, you're more likely to regret making a purchase than not making a purchase.
3) Make sure it's comfortable.
If you're anything like me, you're probably a little particular about how comfortable your clothes are. I think this is one thing that has saved me huge amounts of money. If something isn't really comfortable, I don't buy it. People, especially ladies, seem to believe that being fashionable comes at the price of comfort. Lies, all lies! 1) You don't need to wear frumpy clothes to be comfortable, and 2) you don't need to be uncomfortable to be fashionable. I'm not going to claim to be a major fashionista, but I have managed to create a wardrobe that makes getting dressed in the morning fun and easy rather than a chore. Chances are, if you buy uncomfortable clothes, they'll just go in the back of your closet and you'll end up wearing the same 20% of your clothes that you always wear.
4) Quality > Quantity
The idea that you can't buy quality on a budget is yet another myth that so many people believe. If you can buy one pair of timeless, comfortable, semi-expensive boots that you can wear for several years, you'll end up saving more money in the long run than if you end up buying three pairs of trendy, slightly uncomfortable, less expensive boots. (Trust me, the genuine leather boots are incredible, and to emphasize tip 3, they are some of the most comfortable shoes I own.) The same goes for almost any article of clothing. Your wallet will be happy, you will look fabulous, feel comfortable, and, bonus point, it's better for the environment. So next time you're tempted to buy a knockoff brand, hold onto your cash and save up for your dream wardrobe.
5) No one needs to know where you got it.
On second thought, that sounds kind of sketchy but bear with me. I'm not saying that you should buy stolen items and I'm not promoting Wal-mart. What I am saying is, you can buy barely worn, $90 pants at Goodwill for $9 and Pendleton wool blazers at St. Vincents for next to nothing, and no one will ever know. I'm not exaggerating about those prices. Quality doesn't have to be super expensive. And, when someone asks where your gorgeous blouse is from you can pretend that you can totally afford a $100 shirt, shrug and say, "I think it's Calvin Klien." Or, you know, you could tell them where you actually got it and then share this post with them. Just an idea...
I hope these tips help you save as much money as I have (or more) on your closet and if you know any fabulous secrets for creating a fabulous but budget friendly closet, please do share in the comments below!