Recently I decided I needed some new clothes for work and a trip to Germany. I really only needed a skirt and a dress, but I ended up coming home with 6 dresses, a clutch, new sunglasses, and 4 skirts. I couldn’t afford all that, so a few days later everything but the dress and sunnies were returned. Obviously it’s easy to spend too much on clothes. However, my bigest problem is that I buy tons of cheap clothes, and not enough quality pieces. I end up spending more money because these “fabulous deals” end up falling apart after a few washes – I should have just splurged on one luxury item and called it a day. So I’ve gone in search of advice on when to save and when to splurge on fashion, and I’ve found quite a bit of interesting information.
“When it comes to saving on fashion, experts say splurge on the basics that never go out of style, don’t get suckered in by trendy brands or en vogue styles, and always — always — seek quality. This translates for women into spending cash on that little black dress. In the business world, women are judged on their handbags.Women can go with one or two good pairs of pumps but can save money on the trendy shoes that come and go with each passing fashion season.
“My rule of thumb for saving and splurging is: I always ask myself how many seasons am I going to wear that for,” says Nikki Novo, a fashion writer who has been published in Allure magazine and on NBC.com.
Novo says she’s willing to pay for a good pair of slacks or that little black dress. “Anything that has a solid color and has a classic silhouette,” she says. As for the flavor of the season, such as loud graphic prints and the cute little dress or skirt, she’ll go to a Target or Forever 21.
Prices can reach the stratosphere for the well-known name-brand purses. The experts say trend away from brands such as Louis Vuitton or Coach, and spend that money on something that is high-quality but less expensive.
“Make sure it’s not imitation leather or anything other than good material,” Novo says. Cheap bags will break and become shiny with wear. They end up costing money because women have to buy another bag sooner than they would if they just bought a good one to begin with.
Natalie P. McNeal, author of “The Frugalista Files: How One Woman Got Out of Debt Without Giving Up The Fabulous Life,” says one good bag is good enough. Fashion bags that match a cocktail dress or a cute little summer bag to go with a sundress can be had for a steal at discount and big-box stores. She even used a makeup bag once as a purse, she says.
Women can also save money on secondary shoes. Shoe stores such as Nine West and Steve Madden turn out high-quality imitations of brand-name shoes that sell for 10 times the price, Novo says. So don’t overpay for those peep-toe heels, she says, because they are probably manufactured in a foreign factory just down the street from those expensive brands using the exact same material.
For women, they have to think about what accessories they can save on and which necessities to splurge on.
For men and women, follow the rule of thumb for handbags when it comes to belts. Buy one made of quality leather and not plastic. “You don’t want them puckering,” Novo says.
And go costume on jewelry, McNeal says. “Rhinestone studs, you can fake it with that,” she says.
Watches are a little more complicated, especially in the business world, McNeal and Novo agree. While a Rolex may not be within one’s price range, a good mid-range watch should complement a professional look.
While women can [and should] splurge on lingerie, it’s best to skip the top-of-the-line workout clothes. McNeal says not to become a gym queen and even suggests buying workout gear in the boys’ section of big-box or department stores if you can.
Be a savvy shopper. Your investment, in time, will pay off. High-quality clothing, even expensive name brands, can be had if the consumer is patient and timely.
Hit the mall during holidays such as Labor Day or after Christmastime when stores are shedding. McNeal says look for “flash sales” at the online clothing sites, which are proliferating.
And don’t be shy about going into a thrift store. They are full of treasures, especially in expensive neighborhoods.
But remember, even if you buy on the cheap, never look cheap. Because, McNeal says, in the professional world, the way you dress is the way you brand yourself. In an economy where jobs are scarce, every little advantage helps.”
So, that was a bit long winded and disorganized but I think it gets the point across. Spend on items that you’re going to wear regularly. Investing in quality, classic pieces is never a mistake. Instead, save on trendy items and accessories. That way you can look current without breaking the bank. Don’t forget to shop sales and outlets – I have a personal rule that I will only buy trendy stuff on sale. Additionally, I suggest that you plan what basics to buy meticulously – I’ve been looking for a specific LBD for three years now. Have a picture of exactly what you want and don’t settle for less.
I’d love to hear what all you ladies do to save money on clothes! Let me know in the comments below!