Simply because the economy is experiencing a downturn doesn’t mean that your wardrobe has to look out of style. With a little forethought and some planning, you can shop for fashionable clothes on a budget. Knowing what clothes you have, what clothes you need and what clothes you want will allow you to spend your money wisely and not end up with items in your closet that were a waste of money. Knowing where to look for bargains will give you the best of both worlds–cute, trendy clothes and money in the bank.
Keep up with the fashion trends. Read fashion magazines and watch fashion reports on television or online. Spend an afternoon browsing trendy stores to get an idea of what is in style for that season. Look for the design of clothes and not merely designer names; only you will know whose name is on the label of that new shirt you bought.
Make a list of what you have in your closet that will still work for this season. If it’s possible, snip a piece of the fabric from an inconspicuous spot and glue it on a 3-by-5 index card; note on the card what the item is. Put these cards into a larger envelope. Take pictures of clothes that you cannot snip fabric from and put the picture in the envelope.
Make a wish list for your wardrobe, including undergarments. Note which items are must-haves and which items are not. Keep this list with the envelope of 3-by-5 cards and your wardrobe list. Carry this shopping envelope with you when you buy clothes so you know what items you need, and to match colors and fabrics.
Make an inventory of your accessories. Take pictures of your jewelry, scarves, shoes and hats; print up a small list of these pictures. Keep this list in your shopping envelope.
Set a clothing budget. Be realistic about how much money you can spend on clothes each month. Even if it won’t allow you to get everything you want this year, it will give you something to work toward.
Shop for foundational wardrobe pieces first. These include neutral-colored pants, suits, shirts or sweaters in classic styles. Look for quality construction and fabric; these are the items to invest in, as they will last through more than 1 or 2 years.
Shop for trendy clothing once you have built a good foundational wardrobe. Check out store sales, discount stores or consignment stores for these items. Wearing a trendy top you found on sale with a pair of classic slacks allows you to remain fashionable while staying within your budget. Some stores have lines of designer-inspired clothes, like Kohl’s Simply Vera.
Care for your wardrobe; this will prolong the life of your clothes. Check the care labels before you purchase an item to make sure you know what is involved in cleaning this garment. Certain dry clean only items can be cleaned using products like Dry Cleaner’s Secret.