It’s no secret I lovvvve fashion. It’s also no secret that I’m not a millionaire, have to pay sky high Seattle rent and love to indulge on an extravagant Sunday brunch. So…what gives? Honestly, it comes down to shopping smart and knowing when to save and spend. So today, I’m giving you my guide for saving, spluging, and investing in my wardrobe. And yes, each is different!
Stage 1: Before Shopping
- Know Your Budget
Knowing your budget is crucial to understanding exactly how much you can spend. If you’re not sure how to make a budget, check out this post I wrote last year. Have a number in your mind about how much you can spend and what you’re willing to spend per item you’re shopping for.
- Know Your Wardrobe
Spend some time to look through your closet and make note of what you already have. Take photos of your pants, blouses, and shoes to remember what items you can create outfits with in the future. It’s also good to note what colors and patterns are in your closet so you can match pieces later.
- Know What You Want/Need
Believe me, I go shopping for no reason all the time. And it’s fun but it usually results in me buying random stuff or spending money on something that doesn’t transfer well into my wardrobe. Before you go shopping (in person or online) write down items that you need or want in your wardrobe. It will help you stay focused!
Stage 2: During Shopping
Whether your strolling or scrolling (ha I’m hilarious!), here’s how I determine what I should spend on certain pieces.
When to Save
- The item is trendy and probably won’t be stylish for long
- The item has a high potential of being damaged – For example, my black booties take a beating every winter so I don’t spend too much money on them.
- You won’t wear the item very much – I’ve never spent much on swimsuits because they can only be worn for a few months of the year.
- The item isn’t comfortable – We’ve all tried on gorgeous heels that hurt like hell. If you’re still gonna buy them (which I have), make sure they don’t make a huge dent in your bank account.
- You’re going to spend more money maintaining it than it’s worth – Tailoring and constantly going to the dry cleaners adds up! If just keeping the shirt clean and looking good costs more than the shirt, it’s not worth buying.
- It doesn’t quite fit and can’t be fixed– If something doesn’t fit right or is just slightly too big or small, don’t buy it. It’s likely you won’t wear it and it will hang in your closet.
- You have to buy a new outfit for it to match anything – I’m all about buying a statement piece that only works with a few things. But, if you’re debating whether to save or splurge, don’t splurge and then have to spend more money to complete the outfit.
When to Invest
For me, investing in a piece of clothing means it’s high quality, will last me a long time, and is often slightly more expensive than what I usually shop for.
- The item never goes out of style– Denim, blazers, or a good watch can be worn today, tomorrow, and 10 years from now.
- You will wear it all the time – Calculate the average cost per wear to see what the item is really costing you over time.
- It’s comfortable– If it’s comfortable, you’ll probably wear it more which makes it worth the investment.
- The quality matches the price – Not all expensive things mean they’re top quality. Do a little research and find out if your investment piece lasts over time. Nothing is worse than spending money on something that doesn’t last long.
- It complements your wardrobe – The more clothes you already have that you can wear with it
- It fits or can be tailored to fit – Invest in clothes that make you look awesome! I’m much more willing to spend money on pieces that fit well or can be further tailored to fit perfectly.
When to Splurge
I define splurging as when you unexpectedly find something you really love and just have to have it at that moment. It could be a $90 leopard fur coat (uhh..whoops did that) or something more extravagant. My advice, is definitely splurge once in a while. But even the best splurge is not worth being financially uncomfortable…so choose wisely.
Stage 3: Post Shopping
- Try it on again at home
I always try on my pieces again at home to make sure I still like them and they look and feel good!
- Try to create a few outfits with it
Especially with those investment pieces and splurge items, make sure you have a few outfits that match.
- Keep your receipts and check return time periods
I’ve definitely lost receipts or accidentally waited too long to return something. Stay organized so you don’t miss any chance to return an item you don’t love.
Shop the Look!
Dress provided by Clayton and sock boots provided by Pour La Victoire – all opinions are my own. *Note, I did have to hem the dress and removed about 4” in length.