I’m not the sort of person known for her fashion choices, as I pretty much live in jeans and t-shirts. I understand part of the appeal of buying clothes — there are certain clothes that make a person look and feel good. I’m just a little less clear on why a person might want to keep up with the latest trends, even though I do get that fashion can be a priority for many people.
No matter how big or small of an emphasis you personally place on fashion, though, there are plenty of moves you can make to save some money in that part of your budget. Here are a bunch that can save you real money.
- Cultivate a sense of your own style. Every fashionista I know has her own standard lecture about buying clothes that you can mix, match and accessorize into multiple outfits, but picking out pieces that will work with what you already have requires you to have a specific style that you consciously work towards. That way, you can tell at a glance if a certain piece is actually going to fit your wardrobe or if you’ll need to buy even more pieces to accompany it.
- Make shopping a team effort. Stores are laid out to be distracting to ‘help’ you find items of apparel that you didn’t even know you needed. Going in with a partner makes it a little easier to stay on track; you can make it even more manageable by setting a shopping agenda and asking your partner to hold you to it.
- Know how to make your clothing last. A small tear is enough to convince many people that its time to throw out a shirt and a lost button is simply a tragedy. Being able to do some minor repairs, as well as properly launder your clothing, is a simple step that can help you get a lot more wear out of your clothes.
- Make friends in the local fashion scene. I have a friend who designs and makes clothes — she wants to make it to Project Runway some day. Her abilities to make custom clothing come in handy, but she’s saved my closet in plenty of other ways. She knows every thrift store in town, she can alter pieces to make them a better fit and she can also generally make me look more fashionable for a fraction of what it would cost normally.
- Get a clear picture on what you actually use in terms of your clothing. Something as simple as always putting clean clothes at the front of your closet can help you weed out those items that you don’t actually wear regularly. That can give you a better idea of what you should choose to buy in the future, as well as help you cut down on the clothing you have to store and care for. And I don’t know about you, but seeing clothes that aren’t getting used often enough in my closet helps me keep my new purchases under control.
- Remove the clothes you aren’t going to wear again. It may seem counter-intuitive to get rid of clothes – after all, you’ve already sunk money into them. But you can either sell those clothes second hand and use the proceeds to buy items you want, or you can donate them and take the tax deduction.
- Decide your own fashion priorities. I’m certainly not one to begrudge a person choosing to spend money on something that makes them happy, so go for it if you are happier with a bigger fashion budget and it doesn’t hurt your finances. It’s worth while, though, to pick priorities within the broader area of fashion (even for those of us who are a little less enthusiastic about what we wear). I occasionally need to look professional and I’ve set aside a respectable chunk of my clothing budget to just go towards the clothes and accessories I need to blend in at conferences and the like. You just need to decide ahead of time what matters to you.
Clothing can be a particularly personal choice, especially when it concerns the money side of things, but it is possible to manage your clothing budget and purchases in ways that guarantee you’re getting the most use out of your money.