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How to Spend Less on Clothes (and Build a Better Wardrobe)

Want a great wardrobe but don't want to spend a fortune building it? Laura gives men and women eight smart tips to spend less on clothes and build a better wardrobe at the same time. You’ll learn how to create a wardrobe strategy, know what’s a good deal, find deeper discounts, and understand how to care for what you buy the right way so it lasts longer.

By
Laura Adams, MBA,
August 24, 2016
Episode #463

Page 1 of 4

How to Spend Less on Clothes (and Build a Better Wardrobe)Clothes are a basic necessity that also express your style—but building a good wardrobe can be expensive. According to Statisticbrain.com, the average American spends about $120 a month on clothes. No matter if you’re way above or below that number, the challenge is to get the most out of every piece that you bring home.

In this article I’ll give men and women eight smart tips to spend less on clothes and build a better wardrobe at the same time. You’ll learn how to create a wardrobe strategy, know what’s a good deal, how to get deeper discounts, and how to care for what you buy the right way so it lasts longer.

Tips to Spend Less on Clothes and Build a Better Wardrobe

Use these tips to build a great wardrobe for less and protect your purchases so you can enjoy them for years:

Tip #1: Set a “one in, one out” rule

A few years ago I noticed that I kept running out of clothes hangers and my big walk-in closet kept getting more and more crammed. I was adding new items but rarely purging old ones and it was finally catching up with me.

So I created a rule that every time I buy something new, something similar has to go. For instance, if I buy a new pair of shoes, I better be ready to sacrifice an old pair that I haven’t worn in a while. Or if I buy a new sweater, I need to throw one out that doesn’t look so great anymore.

If you want to be aggressive about paring down your wardrobe to essentials, get rid of 2 items for every new one that you bring home. This strategy will really make you reevaluate what you like and wear often versus what’s just taking up space in your closet.

If you truly have a gap in your wardrobe—like no black boots or running shoes—that’s one thing. But in general we tend to buy more and more of what we already have. And the more stuff that’s in your closet or drawers, the easier it is to forget about the good pieces you already have because they get buried.

Decide why you need another top or pair of jeans before you buy it. Is it because what you already have doesn’t fit, is out of style, or just looks shabby? Be clear about why a piece in your wardrobe isn’t working and make the decision to donate it to Goodwill or throw it away before or immediately after you replace it.

Be clear about why a piece in your wardrobe isn’t working and make the decision to donate it to Goodwill or throw it away before or immediately after you replace it.

Tip #2: Create a clothing baseline

While I can’t tell you the exact number of garments you should have in your wardrobe, I recommend that you create a clothing baseline. This is the total number of items in your closet.

I settled on my hanging wardrobe baseline when I got rid of all my mismatched hangers and invested in Huggable Hangers. These amazing hangers are thin so they save space, and have a curved shaped with a non-slip, velvety surface. This prevents the shoulders of tops from getting stretched out and keeps clothes from falling off.

If you saw the 2015 movie Joy, starring Jennifer Lawrence, it tells the story of Joy Mangano who invented Huggable Hangers and many other products that sold millions on the Home Shopping Network and QVC.

These hangers make my closet look more uniform and organized, but they also keep me honest. If you only have 100 special hangers, then you can’t exceed that amount of hanging garments.

For items you typically fold, like jeans, sweaters, or t-shirts, decide how many is reasonable and stick to it. If 10 pairs of jeans is more than enough, make a deal with yourself to throw away any unused pair before expanding your wardrobe to 11 pairs.

The baseline and “one in, one out” strategy helps me stay away from mindlessly buying sale items. Even if something is at a rock-bottom price, I remember that I’ll have to give something up in order to bring it into my wardrobe. 

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