Sunday, November 1, 2009

Clothes Shopping the Frugal Way Part 1

So this begins a series of posts on how you can create a killer wardrobe on a budget. And the short answer, which isn't necessarily easy, is spend more on fewer things.

WHAT??? A money saving blog is suggesting you spend more money? Essentially yes. But overtime it will save you a lot of money. Now this does not give you permission to go spend $150 on the latest "it" pair of shoes. But if you don't have a quality pair of basic black sling backs, it's worth making the investment in those.

But stop. We're not to the buying phase just yet... This series of posts will walk you through steps to creating a wardrobe that looks fabulous, will stay current and you won't be re-buying black pants and a white blouse over and over only to have them fall apart next season.

I realized that one of the reasons I never have anything to wear is because I don't have solid basics, and the basic pieces I do have, don't necessarily fit right or look well-kept. They are pilling or stretched out or the color is fading. I mean honestly it is a lot more fun to buy that funky dress, than a plain old button down. But you'll get a lot more wear out of that button down, than the dress which will very likely be out of style in a few short months. And if you have quality, well-fitted garments you will be satisfied knowing you always look sharp.

For instance, for years I decided to boycott "designer" jeans, I was certain I could find jeans that looked just as nice at a much cheaper price. So I spent three years and bought close to 15 different pairs of jeans. I always thought I had found the perfect pair, only to realize I was compromising on fit, or the fabric was scratchy, and they would inevitably shrink. Then I broke down and bought two pairs of jeans from Nordstrom and had them hemmed. I am very content with my jean wardrobe. They look fabulous, I feel great in them and no one notices that I might wear the same pair in a week. Bottom line, less can really be more.

Now this isn't to say you'll never buy a trendy piece again. But the key is to get a basic beautiful wardrobe and then each season sprinkle in a few trendy pieces.

So I know I'm already really really overwhelmed by this process. But that's why I'm going to follow my own process as we go and give feedback.

Step #1 this week take inventory of your wardrobe. Here is a link to a fabulous check list from Real Simple which I think has a wonderful take on what the basics should be, even though it is quite a long list, this wardrobe building is a process that takes year to cultivate. And feel free to modify based on your needs. For instance, a black cashmere wrap just isn't something I need to have in my wardrobe at this time. So I'll probably by pass that one. Same for the fleece vest, it's just not something I'd like to wear. However, keep an open mind on some things. For example I never thought I had a need for a black t-shirt. But then I thought about all the things it could do for my wardrobe and decided it could be a great piece to have.

Now as you take inventory keep in mind things that should be replaced. For example I have a white t-shirt. It's totally see through and doesn't fit right, so I should indicate I have it and it should be replaced. This will be useful as we prioritize items for purchase.

I'm going to focus on the always in-season, fall and winter checklists and do spring and summer later in the year.

Next week we'll focus on Step #2 which will include some potential shopping!

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