Staying up with the latest fashions and looking your best is important. It makes you exude confidence, whether you're at a job interview or just hanging out with friends. Starting your day with a bit of self-care and a great pair of shoes can make you feel as beautiful on the outside as you are on the inside, but dressing your best has a cost.
Okay, so you’ve come to terms with the fact that you’re not swimming in money - and that’s A-okay. Because, guess what? Not many people have the luxury of shopping on a weekly or monthly basis. So, the only practical and logical solution is being frugal. And we’re here to say, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! Sure, you were hoping you’d win some extra pocket money with that free spins bonus, to treat yourself to a chic outfit. But it turns out that didn’t quite pan out…
1. Start with self-care
You are the canvass for your fashion statement, so it’s worth investing in making yourself look great. Start with a great skincare routine so you will have a glowing complexion. Make sure your fingernails are neat and polished. Invest in a stylish haircut and hair care products to leave your hair shiny and clean.
2. Set a budget and stick to it
A good rule of thumb for setting a clothing budget is not to spend more than 8% of your salary. In order to stick to this you will need to plan ahead! Decide what you need before you hit the stores or start on-line shopping. Avoid using credit cards and accidentally accruing high interest debt. If sticking to a budget is really challenging, set aside cash in an envelope and only use that money to pay for your clothes. Once that money is spent, make do with what you already own until the fund is replenished.
3. Avoid paying retail
Save your big shopping sprees for end of the summer and end of the year sales. You can find some great deals, as the stores need to clear out their inventory to make space for the upcoming season’s merchandise. Bi-annual Friends and Family sale events can also be a great place to find the best prices on the clothes you want. If it isn’t sale season, but you are in need of some wardrobe essentials, check Google for discount codes or lower prices. You also may be able to get a one-time coupon to order online if you join a store’s email list.
4. Shop second hand and vintage
Online shopping has made it easier than ever to find second hand treasures. Sites like Poshmark, e-Bay, Thred-Up, Thrilling, and Facebook are full of pre-owned fashion finds. For higher quality name brand items, sites like The Real Real and Fashionphile will guarantee you are getting an authentic product, and not a low quality knock-off. For shoppers who love going through the racks there are an abundance of second hand stores from Goodwill to high end consignment shops where you can find great items that can fit any budget.
5. Invest in high quality wardrobe essentials
A basic wardrobe of high quality items that you can wear again and again can save you in the long run. These items become a versatile wardrobe capsule that can last for years and be updated with a few low-cost trendy accessories.
When choosing your wardrobe basics stick with neutral colors such as black, gray, navy, beige and white. Get a great handbag, trench coat and high quality sunglasses for everyday wear. Clothing basics that can be mixed and matched should include a great fitting pair of jeans, a black pencil skirt, a neutral colored dress, a basic t-shirt, a versatile blouse and a knit sweater. A few pairs of high quality shoes including heels, flats, and a pair of sneakers will complete your wardrobe essentials.
6. Make your clothes last
Once you have invested in a few high quality items, do your best to make them last for years. Only wash your clothes when they are stained or have an odor. Most clothing items can be hung up and worn several times between washings. When you do wash them, follow the washing instructions on the label. Air drying your clothes when possible will prolong their life, and save you money on your electric bill. Fold all knit pieces carefully, button all buttons and zip all zippers when you put your clothes away so they will keep their shape. Finally, invest in quality hangers to make sure your clothes keep their form.
Following these tips will keep you looking your best without breaking the bank. It just involves a little planning. If you pull this off, you may just have money left over in your clothing budget for an occasional splurge!