Some of us love to shop and others not so much, but we‘ve all got to wear clothes. Why not look great while not breaking the bank? Here are nine tips to getting the fashion wardrobe you want while staying on your budget.
1. What type of fashion do you REALLY want?
If you had a $100 a month to spend on clothes, are you the person who would want 10 ten dollar tops from Target or would you want one lovely sweater from Neiman Marcus?
Either way works, but I find that most people really want the nice top that is more expensive, but instead buy the inexpensive clothes because they see them while shopping and throw them into the cart.
Or if you are like me, you find something you really love but don’t buy it because it is too pricey and then end up buying more things that you like less. In my perfect scenario, I’d resist the impulse cheap buys and make a plan to buy the nicer things when I’m out.
Think on it a minute and decide if all was a perfect world, how would I dress?
2. Review what you have
People tend to accumulate and accumulate and hold on to things that are never or rarely used. Take some time and face your closet. First, see the big picture.
- Do you have a ton of blue things, but no red?
- What about having 100 t-shirts but no date-worthy clothes?
- What about shoes?
- Are they all sandals?
- Tennis shoes?
- Do you have pants you never wear because they need ironing?
You’ve already decided how you want your wardrobe to look, so start going through and finding what fits your vision and what doesn’t.
I took an afternoon and tried everything on. If I didn’t like it, I put it in a pile. I got rid of things I kept needing to lose a few pounds for and tossed items I’d had in my closet for years but never wore. This gave me a good idea of what I had and what I liked.
Take the pile of things you don’t wear or use and…
3. Sell, trade or toss
If you have nice things you don’t wear or use, consider selling them.
I’ve auctioned off a few purses on Ebay. I’ve sold workout clothes I never liked in my local Facebook neighborhood sale group. The purses made me a pretty penny. The workout clothes did not make nearly as much, but I had more money in my pocket afterward. I sent a few dresses to a friend and donated the rest.
Now that you’ve cleaned house and made a few bucks you can see what you are missing!
4. Shop the classics
Write down the fashion items that would make up your dream wardrobe. A small closet full of quality clothes that actually fit make you look so much better than a huge closet full of cheap, old, ill-fitting items ever will.
Need help on what you want to buy? Stick to classic items and embellish with the trends.
For example, for a woman, a classic might be a beautiful black dress, and the trend would be an infinity scarf and statement earrings.
For a guy, a great fitting pair of pants and a no-wrinkle shirt matched with a vest or a bow tie embellishment.
The classic look depends on your style. I mostly prefer to think of the classics as items that you wear all the time. Items that can last a thousand washings. Items that really pull a lot of your wardrobe together. Items like a pair of Dr Martens boots that you could wear in any weather and in any season. It’s a bit pricey but you can always look out for a Dr Martens sale or try your luck at a local thrift shop.
For me, high quality, dark skinny jeans is a classic. I can dress it up for a night out or down for chilling with friends. Another classic for me is brown leather knee boots that I’ve worn all over the world, rain or shine. The jeans and the boots were a bit pricey, but they’ve lasted for years, and I love them.
What are your classics?
The best way to be fashionable on less money is actually to buy fewer things. Scale down and focus on what you really love.
20 tops that can go with 10 pants and 5 shorts and 2 skirts will give you** 340 outfits**.
That might never happen, but reaching for fewer things you love that can go together will make your choices explode. Looking at colors that coordinate among your wardrobe also expands it.
If you love three to four colors, then most of your clothes can work together.
5. Fashionable on a budget?
Ah, the worst part of living, having to have a limit on how much you spend.
Set a spending goal per month that you can live with.
Is it $100 a month, $50 or $500? Get that much cash from the bank and keep it on you.
Want more money for clothes and accessories? Consider if you need all the cable channels you buy or eating out less in favor of something cheap and quick at home.
6. Shop online sparingly
Consider trying to shop in the stores versus online. Online can have some great deals. For people who know their sizes, it might work out most of the time. But by the time you pay shipping, realize something doesn’t fit and then pay to have the items returned, I find that online shopping might not be as inexpensive as you think.
Online shopping for accessories, like purses, scarves, or brands that you know fit because you’ve worn them before would be your best bet.
Look for free shipping and the option to return to your local store.
7. Go out and shop!
Get your list and start shopping it. If you need basic items like a white top or black tank, hit up the Targets, Kohls, and other mid-priced stores. If you want specialty items, shop big sales and always make sure to check the clearance rack.
Many of my fashionable friends regularly shop stores that are kind of hit or miss, the TJMaxx or Ross type of stores, but since they check often, they find great things.
I don’t like to shop nearly as much. When I go out, I try Macy’s on sale days, Neiman Marcus Last Call, and Saks off 5th for items I can wear a long time and will last.
Check out a few thrift stores near you. You never know if you will love thrift shopping until you try it.
8. Take a buddy and your cash
If you are the person who is tempted to overspend or go off your list, take a shopping buddy with you to hold you accountable – try not to take a friend who will do the opposite.
Take your cash with you and leave your credit cards at home.
9. Your true value
Finally, realize that your true value does not come from your amazing new jeans or that awesome necklace. I grew up in the country, and no one had very nice clothing. No one cared so much because no one had too much.
When I went to college, I was blown away by what people were wearing and worked hard to change my wardrobe. But the person inside doesn’t change with the clothes.
Clothes will not make you a different person.
If clothing is eating away at your budget consider why:
Loving to shop is one thing.Loving to shop because it makes you feel better about yourself is another.
Remember the goal is to have financial freedom so you can buy and do what you like. Is what you are shopping for going to help you reach that goal?
Know a man in your life who needs some style? Check out Mens Style on a Budget – A Step-by-Step Guide.