Two things I love: Shopping and Clothes. But, there have always been a couple of obstacles in the way…aka money and mobility.
I recognize that for a lot of people that space is also a constraint, however, it never has been for me. I have always found a way to make it work. I am known for my wide-spanning closet, being that friend who is always overdressed or would have something perfect for the occasion to borrow. My love for clothes probably comes from my mom. I was always a well-dressed kid – thanks to her! And buying clothes is always fun with her as a buddy as we are similar shoppers – quick and to the point, and she also has great taste. She even hand-made a lot of my clothes when I was growing up!!
So going back to the constraints. Being a college student with no full-time income, I have had to be mindful of where my money is going. Along with the fact that I move so much, it has to be economic to ship everything and/or downsize with no broken hearts. So, here are my three rules to managing my closet which has gotten me through my life with some fashionable and quality pieces by meeting all my constraints. This article is geared towards Millennials/Gen-Zers looking to get the bang for their buck while looking fabulous! If you are someone who needs to get on a trend seconds after it surfaces and/or always only needs to wear designer wear – stop reading now because what I am going to share might hurt your feelings.
Shop Sales Only
Unless you are buying bespoke or only high-end designer wear, I guarantee you that wherever you shop, they will have on-going sales. Items go on sale for many reasons – not that no one is buying it. Items can be leftover from a line, or that piece is the last size in that line, and they don’t have showroom space for it so they stick it in the sale. Maybe that season of clothes is over – summer sales, winter sales, spring sales….Black Friday — need I go on? Maybe it is slightly defective, but you can’t tell the difference anyway or you can easily fix it with some thread and needle. Whatever the reason, if you are patient to go through the merchandise, you can and will always find great pieces on sale.
Straight up, let me tell you, ALL CLOTHES ARE OVERPRICED. Sale items bring it closer to production costs, but not close enough. If your tag says made in India or Bangladesh or Vietnam, etc. It probably only took a couple of dollars to produce. THAT’S IT!! And add a couple more dollars to ship it to the US seller… So why are you paying 200x more for that piece?! I have not paid full price for about 90% of my closet. Whenever I want to buy new clothes, I take time to keep a close eye on the sales pages online on my go-to stores and if I am in person, I walk straight into the sales section and don’t look anywhere else. It always gives me satisfaction when I compare how much money I saved to the once upon retail price. When I need to downsize, it is also easier to get rid of items following one of my key moving rules – is it cheaper to ship this item or replace it at the destination? The more your clothing budget grows, the more expensive/designer shops you can shop at sooner if you shop only sales.
Sign up for memberships/emails/rewards programs
This is a tricky balance. Signing up for all this WILL SPAM your inbox and play to your weaknesses but if you have some will-power, this step will pay off. It took me a good amount of time to learn not to get tempted by every email that got sent to me. Nowadays, I take time to mass delete all these shopping offers when I check my inbox in the morning – out of sight, out of mind. BUT when I do need to buy something, I just go look in my trash box for the latest offers I can apply. Signing up for rewards programs is typically free too! If you are consistent with where you shop, your gained points will pay off in no time. I once got this fabulous $60 top from Express for $5!! This top had an original retail price of $60 and it was on sale for close to $20 and applying some of the discounts I had accumulated from rewards points, I only paid $5 that day.
Treat Yourself on Special Days
There are special days I go all out and shop SHOP. These include birthdays, weddings, graduations, holidays, etc. If you have some saved up a budget for special occasion splurges, then treat yo’ self!!
Pro-tip: When getting rid of clothes – sell, donate, or recycle!
Lastly, when it is time to get rid of some clothes, please do not throw them out! Textile waste is a HUGE global crisis. You can try to sell second hand if your clothes are in decent condition and get some money you can put towards your future purchases. Otherwise please find a Goodwill or local donation spot and RECYCLE.
Take care of your carbon footprint and have fun saving some money. Stay fab!!