The key to keeping well-dressed on a budget is to spend more per item on items that will last for years and less on trendy items you’ll wear for a season or two. Buy timeless, high-quality basics and trendier pieces from stores that offer the most affordable prices.
In an ideal world, you’d have an unlimited wardrobe budget and never have to choose between a new pair of shoes and your rent. But since most of us don’t work for the Kardashians, it pays to be a savvy shopper. Here are some shopping strategies that will help you build a well-dressed wardrobe while spending within your means:
Set a budget
Before you go shopping, determine how much money you can spend each month on clothes. If you have a flexible income, set a percentage; if your monthly income is fixed, decide exactly how much money you can allocate to clothing purchases each month.
Make a list
The easiest way to stay on budget is to shop with a plan — so before you head out the door, make a list of the items you need (like new jeans or dress pants) versus items you merely want (like those coveted red boots). This will help you avoid impulse purchases once you’re in the store.
Create a “haves” and “needs” list- A simple wardrobe consists of items that you will wear often. Items on the ‘need’ list are pieces you need and will wear often. Think boring; white t-shirts fit into this category. These are the items that you will spend a little extra money on because they are going to be worn often. The ‘have’ list is full of fun items like floral dresses or bright pumps. Make sure to stick to your needs list when shopping, or else you may end up spending all of your money on trendy items that won’t be in style for very long.
Buy classic pieces that will last
When you’re on a budget, it’s tempting to buy cheaper clothing that you can replace when it gets worn out. However, this can end up being more expensive than buying quality items in the first place. A $20 T-shirt from a fast-fashion store is likely to wear out after six months or a year. Even if you get rid of it before then, the trendiness of fast-fashion items means they might look outdated after only a couple of months. Instead of spending $20 on inexpensive basics, consider investing in better quality pieces that will last longer and look more polished.
Buy clothes that you can wear in multiple ways
Choose pieces that can be worn to work and in your personal life, too. That way, you’ll get more use out of each item in your closet. For example, you might choose a classic blazer or a black pencil skirt that will work equally well for the office and at an after-work cocktail party.
Take care of your clothes to make them last longer
If you’re like us, you’ve probably had your fair share of blowouts, snags, and holes. While you may have gotten away with stapling or gluing your clothes back together (or not), you must take care of your clothes to keep them in good condition for as long as possible.
Here are tips to make your clothes last longer
-Don’t use high heat when drying your clothing. It can cause shrinkage, especially with cotton and wool items. We know it takes longer to dry on low heat, but our clothes are worth it.
– Learn about the benefits of ultrasonic cleaning. These machines can make your stuff look new! This is especially true of jewellery and accessories, which can give your look a dose of elegance and glamour.
-Wash your clothes inside out to protect them against the elements. It also helps prevent the colour from fading or bleeding during the wash cycle.
-Let your items air dry instead of putting them in the dryer all the time. Hanging up wet clothing is a great way to stretch out sweaters and other knits, but also makes a great alternative to tossing everything in the dryer every time, which causes pilling and shrinkage.
Invest in basics
Basics are the foundation of your wardrobe, providing a blank canvas for the rest of your look and building blocks for every outfit. Consider upgrading your basics if they’re worn out or if they don’t fit well, you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes in how you feel about the clothes you already own.
Shop on sale
Retailers offer discounts throughout the year on select items, making it easy to shop for quality clothing at an affordable price point. Keep an eye out for seasonal sales, end-of-season clearance sales, and other special promotions that can save you money on quality clothing pieces.
Buy used clothing
Buying used clothes is a great way to save money without sacrificing style or quality. You can find classic pieces like blazers and dress shirts in excellent condition at your local thrift store or consignment shop — and chances are you’ll pay much less than the retail price!
Many of these retailers carry brands targeted at younger consumers, making them a good destination for teens and college students. The vast range of options can help you find the perfect jeans or a crisp white blouse on a budget.
Classic pieces of clothing are always in trend
It’s easy to feel like you have nothing to wear even when your closet is packed full of clothes. That is because we all tend to wear the same things over and over again. The best way to do this is to try on different combinations of what you already own. You may not be used to wearing certain colours, but it’s good to experiment with different styles and colours until you find the right combination.
Another option is to visit online blogs or magazines for inspiration. It will help you get more ideas on how to wear the clothes that are already in your closet. Once you learn how to combine them, it will be easier for you to make new outfits from them in the future as well.
Share clothes with friends
Your clothing audit is one of the first steps toward a well-dressed life. It helps you see what’s in your closet and what you need to add or update. You might be surprised at how many clothes you own but can’t find anything to wear.
To complete a clothing audit, you need to go through each piece of clothing in your closet and make a decision about it. Does it fit? Do you like it? How often do you wear it? Could you style it differently? If you can answer yes to all of these questions, keep the item. If not, then toss it into the donation pile.
Maybe your friend has the same problem, so it’s not a bad idea to exchange clothes.
Alison Pearson is an interior design student. She is a writer and designer, and her ultimate passion is art and architecture. She is also a bibliophile and her favourite book is “The Sound and the Fury” by William Faulkner. Follow her on Twitter.