How to Spend less and still look Fashionable
So you like looking good, but you’re not made of money. You’re sick of buying trend of the month dresses only to realise you have to buy more things to wear with them. Sometimes you never get a chance to wear them at all. They fester in your wardrobe until you stick them on ebay (only to watch them sell for less than half what you paid), or dump them at your local charity store. This state of living cannot continue. If you know deep down that when you go clothes shopping you’re going to be throwing money down the drain, you need to seriously re analyse your mid mall thought processes.
For a start, you need to realise that fashion isn’t simply buying into the latest must have, whatever that may be. As long as you wear something of good quality that fits properly and suits your colouring and figure, you will look great no matter how long ago you bought the outfit. With that in mind, make a start today in getting your clothes in order and your bank account in balance!
To begin with, find some time to try on all the clothes in your wardrobe. Do they all fit well? Are some a little tight or are they losing their shape? If you’re in your late teens or early twenties you might find clothes you’ve grown out of, too. Anything that doesn’t feel comfortable or look good on you anymore has to go. Yes, even those jeans you’ve treasured for years!
Next, be honest with yourself and pick out the things you know you’ll never wear again. Put it all in a pile and vow to be rid of it all ASAP. Whatever can’t be sold or given to friends can go to a charity store. Once you’ve done this you’ll probably feel relief at the sight of a wardrobe no longer stuffed to the brim with wasted cash! Clearing away unused and unwanted things helps psychologically as well as practically, as you’re no longer left feeling guilty over past misjudgements every time you decide what to wear in the morning.
Your next step is to look at everything you’ve got left and see what you can make out of it. Can you create more than three outfits out of one dress, for example? Perhaps it looks good for daytime with a cardigan and can be dressed up for the evening with heels and some clever accessories. Can you toughen it up with a leather jacket? Anything that can be worn in several different ways is a keeper.
You may be wondering how doing this will save you money. Fact is, once you’ve done something constructive like having a good clear out, you’ll feel you’ve accomplished a job well done, and therefore are more likely to want to keep up this uncluttered new regime! Ergo, you’re less likely to want to spend money on frivolous little things that just caught your eye and these are the very things that cause you to go over your budget again and again.
If you’ve got a classic, all purpose black bag, an LBD (little black dress, though red will do), at least two pairs of classic jeans (one dark one light blue), some tees and tops that can be layered, one or two daytime dresses, jumpers (sweaters) and cardigans, a coat for winter and a coat for spring and some durable accessories, then you’ve got something resembling a capsule wardrobe. Maintaining a capsule wardrobe means only buying garments that compliment what you already have. While many people have caught on to this method and follow it religiously, it’s not the most flexible way of making sure you never run out of things to wear.
So how do you still stay on trend if you’re cutting down?
You need to become skilled at is telling the difference between a trend that will last and a trend that won’t. Anything that comes across as a gimmick, such as t shirts with silly slogans on them, or things like harem pants, are to be avoided. Garments like these are almost always looked back on as a silly mistake that seemed good at the time, like tinted mullets or a tattoo of someone’s name. An easy system is to mimic’ a trend with things you already have, like wearing navy with red, white or gold accessories to get the nautical look, instead of buying a dress with an anchor on it that you won’t be able to wear two months down the line. You can also dip into trends by way of accessories. Buying a 12/$20 silk scarf covered in a print of chains and lifebelts is far more economical than you guessed it buying that dress with the big anchor on it!
Once you’ve figured out what will last, make a habit of asking yourself if something that’s caught your eye will go with at least one other thing in your wardrobe. By now you’ll have more of an idea of what you’ve got seeing as you spent all that time de cluttering. So if you know you’ll have to accumulate more future clutter to make an outfit out of it, you may want to give it a miss. However, if you like a jacket and dress that go together and you know they’ll match with some of your other bits and pieces, you can make the purchase safe in the knowledge that you won’t be taking something home another pricy mistake.
Be reasonable and listen to your common sense. Is it better to spend 20/$35 on a bright pink bag that you may use once or twice, or 50/$85 on a black bag in a classic shape that goes with anything and will be used again and again? Spend more on the things you need or can wear very often, and abstain from what you know is just a pick me up. This way you can have nice things without breaking the bank!
Likewise, buying a few good quality basics and necessities instead of tons of cheaper ones means that you’ll have clothes that last, so you’ll spend less money replacing things that shrank in the wash or have lost their colour.
Lastly, know your limits and place restrictions on yourself. Garments you need take priority over the ones you merely want. You may not be keeping an inflexible capsule wardrobe, but you are going to be following a budget. If you feel you desperately need a burst of freshness every so often, buy some pretty patterned or coloured hosiery instead of a new and expensive outfit. Little things like this can keep your current ensembles from looking tired and recycled, and can make old dresses look new. Stay strong, fashionistas, and good luck!