Wednesday, July 8, 2015

What I Know About...Not Spending All My Money on Clothes

I started packing this week, which was either the best or worst decision I could have made. The best because after this week, I'll only really be around for the last week of July and that doesn't give me much time to corral all my possessions. The worst because, well, packing. I've found that my formula for packing is to first get rid of as much as possible. Even more specifically, to get rid of as much clothing as possible.

I don't know how I ended up with so many articles of clothing - I don't shop all that often, really, but even more concerning is how often I think I have "nothing" to wear. I have plenty! The problem is I've been guilty of impulse buys, thinking I have a different body size that I do, and blindly following unfortunate fads. This past year I took a hard look at my clothes shopping habits and I've come up with a few tricks to keep my closet uncluttered and my bank account stable.

I know...
  1. Thrift stores and clearance racks are my friends, but sometimes my closet is friend enough. I love a new shirt as much as the next person, and I love it even more if I think I got it for a bargain, but if I already have three similar shirts at home, what am I really accomplishing? The best way I've learned to save money is to shop my closet and create new outfits from what I already have.
  2. If I really don't have a certain item, I shop only for that item. I have legitimately gone to the store for "one black shirt" or "chambray button up" - because that specific item is what I had my heart set on. Other items that only slightly fit the bill get left behind. Oh, and I try thrift stores for the items before heading to other retailers. Because...
  3. One lady's trash is this lady's spring wardrobe. Besides not buying clothes or only buying very specific articles, shopping second hand keeps costs down. It's not rocket science. To save some money, I'm prepared to spend some time at thrift stores to find what I'm looking for (in my size and in good quality as well).
  4. A capsule-esque wardrobe helps keep out unnecessary items (saving $$) while also making getting dressed a breeze! Capsule wardrobes are all the rage on the internet, and for good reason. There's no hard and fast rule for them. Mine is that I can only add if I also get rid of things, and I try to only add seasonally (deciding I want a certain item for summer, say). I'm also working on transitioning my wardrobe from "casual house manager" to "business casual quasi-teacher," so that's added more challenges (like, I know I need dress pants, but that doesn't mean my jeans have to go, right?).
  5. Sometimes you gotta spend a little to save a lot. If I'm throwing down some cash on a winter coat or a cocktail dress (things that I want to last for several years or more), I do my homework. I don't want to cut corners and buy whatever is cheapest, because that item probably won't last as long, and I'll just have to buy another, wasting whatever money I initially saved. I can still research prices/stores, keep an eye out for sales, and buy something that isn't full-price, but I feel okay paying a good price for a quality item knowing I saved money in the long run.
The bottom line on clothes is that they're a learning curve. Now that I'm learning what my style is (lots of neutrals, a few stripes, minimal accessories), I can stick with clothes that fit me and leave all the other stuff that, while cute or fun or cheap, I ultimately never wear. I save moola and I look good doing it. Win-win.

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