Lifestyle

Be Style Savvy on Any Budget

The changing seasons mean that department stores are stocking up on fall and winter fashions. For many people, this is a great time to spruce up their wardrobe and decide what looks work best for them. Here are some tips for building a wardrobe with staying power, regardless of your budget.

Invest in Versatility
When building your wardrobe, it’s important to take stock in the items you currently have and try to find pieces that work with what you already have. Before going shopping, go through your closet and decide which pieces you love the most and which ones you get the most use from (hopefully these are one in the same!). This also can be a great time to start clearing out the stuff you never really wear.
Keep your closet staples in mind when you’re looking for new clothes—it might even be helpful to snap a photo of them so you can better visualize ensembles when you’re shopping.

Buy Quality Clothing
It can be easy to be lured by the promise of a bargain, but cheaper prices don’t always mean that you’ll be saving in the long run, especially if you end up having to replace those pieces more frequently. Consider your clothes an investment. This doesn’t mean that you still can’t find incredible deals on the clearance rack—just make sure you’re taking the time to really inspect the pieces, how they’re made, and whether you’ll get the long-term use from them you’re hoping for.

Don’t Spend on Trends
Although having pieces that you can mix-and-match are key, you’ll probably want to add some fun, funky pieces to your look to add a little more personality. In instances where you want try out a fun new look that might be fleeting, it’s OK to seek out cheaper versions of these trends vs. shelling out big bucks for brand name.

Consider the Care Instructions. Picture this: You’re looking for the perfect sweater to complete your fall/winter look. You’re about to give up after a long day of searching, but suddenly, out of the corner of your eye, you spot the perfect candidate on a corner rack. It’s the right cut, the right color, and the price is reasonable, too! Everything seems to be perfect, until you check the tag and see the three words many women dread: Dry Clean Only.

Whether or not this ends up being a dealbreaker will rely heavily on your relationship with your dry cleaner. Are you on a first-name basis because you’re diligent about dropping off your items, or are you not even sure where you’re closest dry cleaner is because your clothes have never left the pile next to your laundry basket? It’s also important to factor in the cost of this service into the price of the clothing you’re buying—on average, it costs about $5 to dry clean a sweater. Will this item be worth the additional dollars it will take to maintain?

Make Meaningful Purchases
When purchasing clothes, take the time to try them on and only purchase the ones that actually make you feel 100% good while you’re wearing them. It can be easy to try to justify buying something that you want, but aren’t totally sold on (“If I lose 5 pounds, this would be perfect!”), but chances are it’ll end up sitting in your closet unworn. If you’re spending a lot of time in the mirror tugging at it to look just right, or trying to justify why it’s OK to purchase (“Well, it’s on sale anyway…”) then it’s probably not worth it. If you’re really torn on an item, hold on to it after you leave the dressing room and keep it with you as you continue to browse, then do a final gut check before checking out. If you’re still not completely sold—put it back until next time.

Have any special tips or tricks you use when shopping for clothes? Share them with us in the comments!

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