With every new year we think to ourselves "out with the old and in with the new," especially when it comes to your wardrobe. When you're ballin’ on a budget like me, however, you know this is nothing more than a nice idea. So how do you spruce up your wardrobe for the new year without breaking the bank? You build your wardrobe wisely, over time, and reinvent what you already have.
It's the holidays, and your relatives probably opted for the gift cards or cash because who knows what you want better than yourself? If you're really lucky you also got that Christmas bonus at work.
Unfortunately, it’s very easy to waste that money, even when you’re trying to shop responsibly, and though it may feel great to roll in dough for a week, you'll be left with a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear when that money is gone. Here are some shopping tips to stretch those pennies for the fashionista who’s ballin’ on a budget.
1. Make wise investments
The most important lesson to learn is what articles of clothing to buy on the cheap and what articles of clothing are worth the extra dollars.
When funds are limited one may think everything must be bought on the cheap. The reality is buying cheap is actually very expensive. Cheap clothes fall apart and you end up having to replace and replace. You are then wasting a lot of money to look cheap.
So when do you buy cheap and when do you invest?
The easiest way to invest wisely is to spend more on bottoms and jackets and buy tops on the cheap.
Don't buy a $100 top that will be out of style in 3 months. That's a bad investment. If you want to look trendy, buy the same top at Forever 21 because by the time it falls apart from the washer the latest trend will have already hit the market.
On the other hand, If you see a great pair of jeans (which never really go out of style) that fit you perfectly but are a little pricey, that would be the time to whip out the Benjamin's baby. Denim lasts for years, it's a durable. The more expensive jeans (than a $25 pair at Forever 21) are better tailored and therefore worth every penny. They virtually pay for themselves over time. And even once your jeans are old and falling apart, you can then make a fun DIY project and create that distressed denim look. When I was 15 and wanted my dad to pay $70 for a pair of distressed jeans he laughed me and said “why would you pay that much money for someone to rip up your clothes when you can do that yourself?”
Another important note to make- pay attention to the quality of fabric. Just because you're looking at an expensive brand doesn't mean you're always getting your money's worth. Some expensive brand names use cheap fabric to make higher profits which will end up falling apart and wasting your precious pennies. Bare in mind, some fabrics are more expensive BECAUSE they are delicate and need to be handled with extra care- I'm not referring to that, I'm thinking of that thin, cheap cotton or artificial fabrics that will shrink and tear in the wash.
2. Shop for your wardrobe
Always look for pieces that you can mix and match with your entire wardrobe.
This may seem common sense but It's VERY easy to get caught up in those really cute shoes or that gorgeous top. If you impulse-buy that really cute top but go home to find it doesn't match ANYthing you own it will sit in the closet collecting dust. That's a waste of money and unnecessary buyer's remorse.
When you are choosing articles of clothing, have your wardrobe in mind. If you already have those impulse-bought articles of clothing collecting dust, find the right bottom to compliment that gorgeous top you had to have and never wear. Once you've done that, don't rush to the register just yet. Think of all of the tops you have that you can wear with the bottoms you've picked out. If you are drawing a blank, it's better to keep looking for something with more versatility.
3. Keep it classy
In this day and age, I can't stress enough how important it is to choose articles of clothing that actually flatter your figure over something that is the latest trend. The trends are not always forgiving for REAL women. If you first invest in classic pieces your wardrobe will never look outdated, and if you INVEST in good quality, classic pieces your wardrobe will have a solid skeleton that should last you years. From there you can compliment your wardrobe with the latest trends on the cheap.
For example, If you don't have the figure for crop tops and high waisted shorts or jeans, for the love of god don't do it girlfriend! It's a waste of money and it won't do your body justice. It is a rare species of female that can actually look ok wearing high waisted shorts and crop tops, and even that is debatable. If you are a hot mama with curves or straight as a stick, this may not be best for you. If you want to do high waisted, stick to flowy skirts or dresses- they will keep the focus on the smallest part of your waist to give you the ideal hour glass shape. Plus a dress is an entire outfit, just accessorize and you're set.
Basically, Invest in pieces that will not only make you look fabulous now but will continue to look fabulous throughout the years. From a solid pair of flattering jeans to a classic pea-coat for winter, to the tailored pencil skirt for work year round. Invest in timeless pieces and your wardrobe will maintain it's chic for ages, without question. If you don't know a classic piece from the latest trend, I suggest watching some old Audrey Hepburn movies- if you see something she's wearing that is still in style today- that's a classic.
4. Diversify your accessories
When push comes to shove and money is really tight, the best way to spruce up your wardrobe is to spruce up your accessories. Your accessories can define the occasion, they can make the same outfit you've worn many times before look fresh and new and they can alter your outfits to fit every season.
A patterned maxi dress, for example, can be dressed up or dressed down for any occasion just by accessorizing properly. Throw on some sandals and delicate, small jewelry to make a great, casual day-time look. To switch to evening, whip out your statement chandelier earrings and heels (or even wedges depending on the formality of the occasion) and you are instantly dressed up and you didn't have to make a wardrobe change (or more importantly, buy a wardrobe change)
These tips will help keep you fabulous, even when the funds are running low. In fashion, there are no good excuses to look anything but fabulous and making wise investments can keep you fabulous forever.