Oh the budget … the realistic bottom line to our sometime lofty fashion dreams! But we ALL (almost all) have a budget no matter what the actual amount. And it pays to think ahead about where that money is going if you prioritize having a workable wearable wardrobe!
This is my serious budgeting face!
Okay, most of us fall down right from the start. Often times we have no idea how much we’re planning to spend on our clothing this season or this year. We buy on a whim, which can be super fun in small doses, but it’s not a sustainable way to build a wardrobe. Take stock of what you have and what you need. Go back to this post and think about what wardrobe staples you have that are flattering on you and what you will need.
COST PER WEAR
The idea of cost per wear is a helpful tool to help you decide where to spend your clothing dollars. The idea is to take the price of an item and divide it by how many times you’ve worn it (or will wear it). I challenge you to try this for a couple of key pieces in your wardrobe right now!
Items that are basics, modern classics, that you will wear on a regular basis, you can afford buy quality at a higher price.
MY BEST COST PER WEAR BUYS
Bag Leather Tote Bag
Little Black Dress
Your highest Cost Per Wear items might be different. It really depends on what is flattering on you and how you’re spending your time!
Trendy items that you probably won’t be wearing and loving for years to come can be a fabulous way to update your wardrobe and add some spark! How much to spend might depend on how long you think you’ll be wearing a trend. And that really depends on you. I know friends who bought over the knee boots when the trend was hot and wore them a bunch. I bought cheap ones because I knew I probably wouldn’t wear them much (and I didn’t). But a trendy pair of jeans will be in regular rotation for me, so that’s worth spending more on. If you feel like you’re in the beginning of a trend cycle and you’ll really wear the trend a lot, spend more. If you’re not sure how much you’ll wear the trend or how long it has left, you might want to buy something less expensive. For example, I’m not sure about the neon trend, so I bought a couple of cheap t-shirts from Gap!
The exception to the cost per wear rule of course is the special occasion outfit. The cost per wear on your wedding dress isn’t too economical, but I bet it was worth every penny. In my life the last couple of years, my biggest budget is for New York Fashion Week outfits. For you it could be a reunion, a party, a wedding, a vacation, a work presentation, a job interview … any number of things that are super important to you. If the cost per wear doesn’t make sense, just factor in how many photos you’ll take, plus how important it is to feel your best in this situation! If I was better at math I’d try to turn that into an equation for you, but you’re on your own there.
Sales can be fabulous or a waste of money. Now that I pay better attention to sales I know which ones are worth spending money on and which aren’t. My favorite sale of the year is the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and because it’s only weeks away I’m going to do a whole separate post about this! In general though, it’s new items at a discount and I find myself wearing what I buy during this sale over and over again.
I also love the seasonal sales, like the after Christmas sales and the summer sales. This is when clothing gets discounted because the season is ending. BUT there’s still actually a lot of the season left to enjoy your items, and this can be more or less true depending where you live. Here in San Jose, when I buy a coat on sale in January, I have about two months left to wear it, but when I buy a summer blouse in June, I can usually wear it wear it for five more months.
This end of the season sale is the best time to treat yourself to something pricey that you’ve had your eye on. And it can be a bit of a gamble on how long exactly to wait. If you wait longer, the item might get reduced more. But it could also sell out in your size. I had my eye on a Preen skirt for months and when it went to 40% off I snagged it and I’m so glad I did because it sold out fast! You just never know.
Lots of shopping websites have regular discounts and so if you have a favorite, it’s worth it to pay attention to their schedule.
Don’t buy something just because it’s on sale. In my foolish youth I made this mistake over and over! Maybe the size wasn’t quite right or the color wasn’t the most flattering for me, but gosh the price was SO good, how could I say no? Believe me, just say no! If you’re anything like me, closet space is precious and you don’t want to waste even a half inch on something you don’t love!
Now it’s your turn, share you budget tips with us! I’d love to hear your ideas because I can always learn. I love new ways to think about things.