Australia ranks first as the top spending country on apparel spending an average annual amount of US$1,050 per person.
Vogue reports that we spend a huge amount for online and brick and mortal apparel purchases compared to Canada who ranks second with only $831 and Japan with $814.
Although apparel purchases are not taking the biggest bulk in our budgets, this amount along with other small little things like coffee, eating out and gadgets, are spending leakages that can cost us millions of dollars.
However, if Coco Channel is your idol and you believe like her that you are in an eternal fashion show, then at least try to save on clothes while still trying to stay stylish.
Clean your closet
Always clean your closet and have an inventory of things you already have and things you need to buy. By doing this, you will avoid buying something that you already have.
Keep clothes that you need and pack those that you have not worn in two or three years (except clothes with classic cuts, they come back in style every few years or so).
While you are at it, pack clothes you do not need anymore and donate to charity. This way, you do not only make room for new clothes but you are helping other people in need.
Shop for what you need
This should be the rule of thumb. Shop only for things that you need to have. If you really want that pair of red shoes then you have to save for it first.
Before buying anything, count to three and make sure your head is clear of any frenzy.
Know your style
Now that you know what you need, figure out your style.
Are you preppy or hippie?
Edgy or classy?
Find out which style appeals to you and suits you best so you can streamline the kind clothes you will buy in stores.
In addition, knowing your style will cut your shopping time, decrease the likelihood of you buying items you do not really like and you would most likely only go in stores that sell the type of clothes you like as well.
Moreover, according to Rachel Zoe, “style is the best way to say who you are without having to speak.”
Stick to the basics
When looking for clothes look for cuts and styles that last the test of time like black pants, French-cuff dress shirts and black pumps. Basic pieces are usually more versatile and you can use them in different ways and occasions.
Consider clothes that are flattering for your body type as well.
Stick to colours like black, white, browns and beige first before splurging on other colours. These colours are easiest to match with other coloured pieces you may already have.
Of course you may buy clothes with your favourite colours but make sure you will not have a hard time looking for pieces to match with it.
Avoid trendy clothes
While it is tempting to buy that hot item on the mannequin that everybody else is wearing, do not buy it yet.
First, you need to check if the style really suits your body type.
Ask yourself what occasion you are planning to wear it and can you still wear it for another event?
If it is going to be everyday clothing, is it easy to wear? Frills might get in the way of your job or just too much for an everyday wear.
Trendy clothes are usually expensive and tend to go out of style too. So if you really want to save, invest on classic pieces.
Even Karl Lagerfeld would tell you, “Trendy is the last stage before tacky.”
Look for quality items
This may seem counter of our goal to save but investing on items made of quality material and classic design is a good move even if it is a little pricier than other items around.
Good quality products usually last longer than those made of cheap materials.
Accessories have the power to create a look from simple to stylish.
If you want to stay trendy, buy inexpensive accessories and wear it over your basics.
Just remember that if you plan to invest on accessories, buy classic pieces like pearls or diamonds.
Learn how to sew and reinvent old pieces of clothing. You can do this by simply sewing a new button or maybe even an interesting patch. You can also repurpose an old t-shirt to make into a pillowcase. This way you do not only save money but save you also get to use your creativity to save your favourite piece!
Aside from checking the price of the item, check for care instructions. As much as possible buy clothes you can wash at home. Dry cleaning may cost a lot in the end.
Care for clothes
Check if the item needs:
Hand washing only
Warm or cold water wash
Frequent or less frequent washing
Store your clothes properly and do not just toss them. If you care for your clothes properly, you may use them for more years.
Hunt for Good Deals
While it is tempting to spurge on items on sale, be sure to check deals thoroughly. Sometimes, it is not really a good deal or might even be a false advertisement.
Thrift shops have plenty of hidden treasures – you just have to be patient finding them.
Major sales from big stores or malls hold annual or semi annual sales keep tabs on them by signing up for new letters or following them on social media sites (if available). Major sales usually offer really big discounts on great items.
Online stores. Buying online is a good option if you know your size and style very well since you cannot fit it and try it on before purchasing. The good thing about online stores is that you can compare items from different brands and stores and choose the best price for you. However, be aware of delivery fees and other possible hidden fees that may add to the total price before shopping around online.
Flash sales may be from designer brands but they tend to create a frantic feeling that makes you buy many items you may not necessarily need so as much as possible.
Factory Outlet stores do not really sell stuff 50% off. Items in factory outlets are usually a mix of clothes especially made for the outfit store and those clothes that did not sell in regular because they have a short-lived trend, unflattering colour or poor fit. Some of the items are not on “sale” while other items are not of great quality or design.
Shop out of season
Shopping pre season makes us feel excited but at the same time we are buying it for the premium amount.
If you shop for basic and classic outfits, shopping for winter outfits in spring is not going to be a big deal.
For colder weather, go for classic trench coats and boots while you can grab a basic black bikini for summer.
Buy with cash
This rule goes out to almost any other item you need to buy. Buy with cash or cash with EFTPOS but not your credit card.
When you buy only with the money you have, there is a lesser chance that you will over spend.
Share and Swap
Rummage your sister or your best mate’s closet for items that you may be able to borrow for an occasion. Even your mum’s closet may be a good place to look for great finds (especially if she kept all those old clothes that are now vintage).
Make sure to ask their permission and return it to them washed so you can borrow again next time.
Clothes can be viewed as luxury and status symbol, a form of self-expression, objects that lift our mood or just a necessity – and it is all that. However, we do not need to go broke to look presentable.
Remember that clothes are just material things that should be worn and not the other way around. Like Ralph Lauren, a famous designer once said, “fashion is something that comes from within you.”
Besides, no matter what you wear, happy girls are always the prettiest.
There may be other ways to save money on clothes, what is yours?
Special thanks to Pixabay for the main image.