Thursday, January 30, 2014 • 3:39 PM •
Smart Shopping: Save on Clothes
It’s the ones with tons of money to throw around that fail to be creative. Many buy whatever is the new hot item to buy and don’t search for unique creations. These people also don’t use each piece in their wardrobe to their full advantage. Think of all the things you bought this past year. Ask yourself how many of those things you actually use.
Walk into a store and there they are – discounts galore. Most of what you see is either mediocre in style, quality or both. You may not need that extra sweater for 22.97 or that pair of flats for 45 bucks, but your compulsive nature gets the best of you and sets you back from achieving the looks that you really want.
Many of us have heard the term cost-per-wear, a budgeting technique which some believe to be a justification method for spending large sums of money on a single item. The fact of the matter is that we need to be as rational as possible when it comes to filling our closets. If what you are buying does not increase the overall quality of your wardrobe, then it really isn’t worth buying, regardless of cost-per-wear. We must simply strive to spend as little as possible. A fashionista doesn’t buy more, she just buys better.
A quality wardrobe contains the essentials. First and foremost, it is important to understand the difference between buying out of need and out of want. For example, a warm winter coat for our harsh winters up here in Canada is absolutely essential. Needs should come first. Don’t go buying that shimmery watch if you don’t even have enough socks and underwear to last you the season. As much as we’d like to ignore things like this and be irresponsible with our purchases, we must realize that in the long-run it’s a lot more important to be comfortable than it is to be trendy. Coming from someone who’s made the mistake of buying cheap painful heels, I know what I’m talking about.
There are some out there who overdo the basics. For example, if you are a frequent leggings wearer, you do not need ten pairs of leggings. The laundry machine exists for a reason. Three pairs will suffice. The extra money can go towards something cute to pair with those leggings, instead of just throwing on the same old charcoal grey tunic or hoodie.
Envision a Regular Day
Unless you’re buying something in particular for a special occasion, you should try to project yourself into the future. I do this before each and every fashionable purchase, and this prevents me from buying things that I will hardly wear. Imagine that you’ve bought the item, and now you’re scrambling to get ready in the morning. Are you having problems matching that item with the rest of your closet? Is it too fancy for the office? How good does this item look on your body when seen from a distance? Don’t buy because you love the look of the item – buy it because you love the way you look in the item, and because you see yourself putting it on with ease on most days of the week. If that means that you won’t be buying glamorous clothes, it’s totally fine. Some of us are just not meant to put effort into dressing up in the morning. If you are one to go out and buy nice things, but then are too lazy in the morning to figure out how to actually wear that item, then you could be saving yourself a lot of money by not buying nice things in the first place. Face the harsh reality!
Realize what works for you and go to the store with a certain idea in mind. If the store doesn’t satisfy your needs, then simply do not buy. Things that may look cute at first glance may look sloppy with everything else you own.
Keep Your Eye on the Prize (What’s your image, or your “fashion personality?”)
With the above being said, be sure to walk into the store having an idea of an image you want to achieve instead of letting the mannequins in the store decide for you. Inspiration and compulsion can quickly dig a hole into your pocket. Just because something looks good on someone else, doesn’t mean it will look good on us. Do you want to be a delicate flower, or a ball-busting biatch? Stick to the plan and only purchase the items that will help you pursue that image. Check out our article, “What’s Your Fashion Personality?” for some ideas of what type of image you would like to portray. Online shopping is a great way to make rational decisions. Make a Pinterest board of looks you would like to pull off, and pin any items that match that look. Then, start eliminating the pieces that don’t quite make the cut.
Opportunity Cost is Key
Opportunity cost is key. If you purchased that average-looking acrylic sweater for 30 dollars, just think about that 60 dollar super cozy cocoon wool sweater that your money could have gone towards. One “it girl” sweater beats two “boring betty” sweaters. Lol.
Check for Quality
Do not forget to check the item for quality. A pretty item on the rack may have you overlooking its cons. If it’s a low-quality item, then make sure that it is priced accordingly. Low-quality items aren’t strictly a no-no in my book. I’ve got a few cheaply-made tank tops that are holding up just fine, however I cannot STAND wearing low quality shoes (pun definitely intended)!
There’s nothing wrong with consuming if the item is actually going to be consumed. You’ve got to know what you need, what you want (what you really really want<—spice girls reference) and what looks good on you (really really good, not just passable). Why settle? The trick is to do less shopping and more shopping around. In an industry based on trends, you’ve got to be picky. Decide who you want to be, and make a list before hitting the mall. It’s about quality items that are not only practical in your wardrobe, but also comfortable while making a statement. Raise your cost-per-wear. If you’re not wearing what you buy, then you probably aren’t buying what you actually wear.