Save Money on a New Wardrobe

New wardrobe

Sell what you don’t wear

Go through your closet once a year. If you find something you haven’t worn in a year – or that you forgot you even owned – it’s time for it to go. Clothing doesn’t sell for much online (like eBay or craigslist) unless it’s a specialty item, so your best bet is to try a consignment shop. They’ll take a portion of the sale, but you won’t have to do much work. And the nice thing about not being able to sell your clothes for much on eBay or Craigslist is that other people can’t either – which means you can buy them for cheap!

Shop thrift stores and consignment shops

You can find some great deals at thrift stores on used clothes. Sometimes you can even get lucky and find something brand new for a huge discount. Yard sales are even cheaper than thrift stores, if you’re willing to dig through other people’s clothes.

Shop discount stores

The big contenders here are T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and Ross, but they aren’t the only ones. You can find name brand clothing that is imperfect or simply overstock for a fraction of the price of department stores. Be sure to check the quality of the clothing, but these stores can save you tons of money.

Never pay full price

Head to the clearance section first. If you don’t find what you want there, you can either use coupons, or simply don’t buy something unless it’s on sale. Old Navy has sales all the time, so if you love something and it’s not on sale, chances are it will be if you come back the next week. CouponSherpa and RetailMeNot will tell you coupons and discounts available at stores near you, or sign up for an app like Shopkick that will give you points for going into stores and scanning things, which you can turn into gift cards. Join store email lists as well.

But don’t buy it simply because it’s on sale

If you’re not going to wear it very often, then it’s not a good deal even if it was on sale. Treat clothes shopping like grocery shopping – don’t buy it unless you really need it and will wear it often. If you already have three black and white Breton striped shirts, you don’t need another, even if it is cheap.

Don’t use credit cards

If you can’t afford to pay it off right away, those clothes you got on sale will end up costing you more in interest.

Check the label

Steer clear of anything that needs to be dry-cleaned. Some fabrics to watch out for are silk, cashmere, wool, polyester – delicate or shrinkable fabrics all need special care that can cost you extra money in the long run. Stick to machine-washable knit fabrics.

Take care of the the clothing you have

If you do have finicky pieces, do your best to take good care of them to make them last. Use Woolite on delicate fabrics, avoid the dryer for non-knits, and don’t sleep in your nice clothes. Read the tags – they are there for a reason. Store items for next season in vacuum-sealed bags to avoid moths and mold. And it may seem gross, but washing your clothes wears them out faster, so try to get a couple of wears in before sticking them in the laundry – particularly items like jeans and sweaters.

Shop out of season

Shop the clearance racks for cute items to stow away for next season. You can get great deals on coats in May and swimsuits in October. January and August (especially for kids) are typically the best months to score great deals on clothes.

Repurpose old clothing

The easy way is to search Pinterest for items you already have to see how other people have styled them. Sometimes you may find a pairing that you never considered before, and a shirt can become like new to you. Or, if you’re handy with a needle and thread, you could try turning boot cut jeans into skinny jeans or hemming them into shorts, or this website has tons of ideas on how to repurpose some of your old clothes:

Host a clothing swap

Gather some of your friends or people in your neighborhood and have a “clothing swap,” where you all basically trade clothes. Anything that doesn’t get picked up can go to a consignment shop, or you could donate it to your local thrift store.

Beware of Outlet Malls

Some stores at outlet malls aren’t truly outlets (store overstock). Many brands have a “factory line” that are made specifically for the outlet store, and are cheaper quality. If it says “50% off,” it may just be 50% off the arbitrary “suggested price,” not actual list price (because this is the only price it’s ever been sold at), so you might not be getting such a good deal after all.

Choose classic styles

If it’s super trendy, you probably won’t want it in a year or two, or maybe even six months from now. Stick to pieces you know will withstand the fads, especially if they’re more expensive, designer pieces. Dress up basic pieces with accessories or layers to keep your style fresh.

Remember the Rule of 3

Don’t just think if you have anything in your closet that sweater will pair well with – you want it to pair well with at least three things before you consider buying it. If it doesn’t, you’ll end up needing to buy a new skirt or pants just to go with that sweater.

Shop your size

Buying jeans a size smaller than you currently wear may seem like great motivation to lose weight – but if it doesn’t happen, all you will have lost is money. Buy clothing that fits well now, and have it tailored if you do drop a few pounds – the cost of tailoring is less than buying a replacement item if you don’t reach your goal. Don’t buy those designer jeans until you’ve cut the weight to reward yourself for all your hard work!

Tailor clothes to fit you

If you have some clothes that you love but just don’t fit right, it’s less expensive (again) to have them tailored to fit your body rather than replacing them altogether with new pieces.

Borrow what you’ll only wear once

If you’re only going to wear that dress to one Prom, borrow or rent it, don’t buy it! However, if you’ll wear a tuxedo more than two or three times (assuming it’ll still fit), buying it and reselling it will make more sense, especially if you buy it gently used in the first place.

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