Building a Wardrobe on a Budget
We’re all successful, here, I think we can agree on that.
And while we all want to have a closet stuffed full of on-trend, professional, designer clothing, that’s just not in the budget for most of us! But, budget or no budget, you need to look your best if you’re going to feel your best and rock the office!
I’ve been there, trying to build a wardrobe while starting a life, buying a house, and having a baby. All of those things are very expensive – and so are clothes, in case you haven’t noticed! What’s more, I haven’t shopped at a single thrift store. Not that there’s anything wrong with them, but I feel weird buying “used” clothes.
Luckily, I got some awesome advice – from many places, really – that have been foundational in helping me build a killer, very professional, quality, wardrobe without spending a whole chunk of cash.
And I’m sharing those tips to develop a wardrobe on a budget with you!
Find Your Style –
Hold on – we’re not quite to the actual clothes shopping & buying part yet!
If you want to buy clothes efficiently and frugally, then you need to decide before you go anywhere what exactly your style is. Take into account things such as your workplace, the functionality of your clothes, and what styles you’re drawn to. When you decide on your style before you go shopping, you have time to think it through completely, ensuring you won’t buy any pieces that you later decide you hate, thus wasting money. Here are some questions to get you started determining your style:
- What types of outfits are your drawn to on Pinterest?
- What is the dress code at your office?
- How much range of movement do you need while at work and at home?
- What seasons will you need to dress for?
Take your time deciding upon your style and hopefully you will land on a timeless, yet all-your-own look!
Overhaul & Learn –
Now that you have a concrete determination of what you want your style to be, it’s time to take that style to your closet. Purge anything and everything that doesn’t fit, has stains or rips, or doesn’t fit your style.
Purge relentlessly and without mercy.
Once you’re done, take a look at all of those discarded clothes laying on your bed or floor. What lessons can you learn from them?
- Do you tend to buy low-quality clothes?
- Do you hang on to clothes that don’t fit in hopes you’ll be able to fit into them later?
- Could you pay more attention to stains when they happen rather than letting them get the better of your clothes?
Let these discarded clothes be a lesson to you – come to terms with the size you’re at, recognize that spending money on quality clothes is totally worth it, and put a stain and rip treatment plan in place so that you can take care of the quality clothes you’re going to by.
Create a Battleplan –
You are a solider, and the store is your battlefield. At every twist and turn there are marketing schemes, lying in wait, urging you to spend more of your hard-earned money than you need to! Creating a solid plan now, before you even set foot in the store is your Battle Plan. Plan carefully now by determining what basic, multifunctional items you NEED in your wardrobe so you won’t be duped!
Here are some basics to get you started:
- Legging (for winter)
- Cardigans/Structured Jackets
Write down exactly how many you need of each and every item – and I mean NEED, not want. If you can, write down specifics that you’re envisioning for your wardrobe, pieces that can be used in at least 4 different outfits, worn in several different ways, and that are functional in many types of weather. Once you have your battle in place, it’s time to move on the the actual shopping part.
Hone In –
With your rock-solid battle plan in place, it’s now time to determine exactly what store you’ll be shopping at. No thrift stores, we’ll be shopping at higher-end stores, and honing in on their clearance rack. The higher the percentage off, the better?
Personally, I love Kohl’s as they have excellent clearance racks, but other stores such as Nordstrom, Macy’s and nicer retailers tend to have the most discounted clearance racks and the most coupons. Before you shop, scope out coupons, or discount shopping days online. Get your % off or $0 off coupons printed, clipped, and in your purse before you even thing about dates to shop.
Once you’re the store, quickly walk through the store to determine where the clearance racks are (unless you know where they are already).
Ignore everything else!
Everything else is a marketing ploy to get your to spend more money than you need to! Today, your only option is the clearance rack. Be prepared to spend at least an hour combing through the clearance racks, but keep your focus on quality. You’ll need to be patient, and you’ll of course find a lot of sizes that wont’ fit, but the pieces you do find, cling to like your life depends on it.
Above all else, be patient!
You will not necessarily find more than a few pieces on your first shopping trip – and that’s ok! but what you do find will be at least 60% off (plus whatever coupons you came prepared with). In a week or two you’ll repeat the process, maybe with a different store, maybe with the same one, but you’ll repeat the process until you’ve filled your wardrobe with pieces that fit your own personal style, that will hold up in any type of weather you have to deal with, and that are constructed well.
Keep Your Receipts –
Once you’re home with the first of your new clothes, don’t take the tags off of them. Hang them in your closet where you can see them frequently, but leave the tags on, and keep your receipts in your purse. As a couple of weeks pass, you’ll start to get a better feel for those new clothes in your closet, and unless you were really sharp-headed when you shopped, there are bound to be a few pieces that you’re just not as thrilled about a couple of weeks later.
That is perfectly normal – and that’s why you kept your receipts. When you’ve waiting it out, and decided that some of the pieces aren’t worth keeping, don’t serve as many functions are you had intended them to, or anything else that doesn’t quite fit with your vision for your wardrobe, return them! There is no shame in returning clothes – in fact, you should be happy about returning clothes because that is making your wardrobe better!
Once you’ve made the final determination about what clothes make the cut, it’s time to start all over again!
So tell me, how do you create a wardrobe on a budget, when you don’t like shopping thrift stores? Call me a snob, but I just don’t like buying “used” clothes, so I developed a way to buy new clothes really cheaply! It all starts with a closet purge, then a clear vision of your style. Once your vision is clear, your can shop for pieces that perfectly fit your vision and the gaps in your closet, and end up with a closet full of beautiful, quality pieces that will last for years!
How do you build your wardrobe on a budget?
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