Fashion is a major expense. Each year, the average British woman spends over £500 on clothes, shoes, and accessories. Looking good is important for morale, and even to advance in the workplace. But it also makes one think about other potential uses for all that dosh, fun stuff like holidays, or practical things like paying down the mortgage. It doesn’t have to be an either/or choice. You can save on fashion without compromising on style. Keep reading to learn how.
1 Define Your Sense of Style
One of the easiest ways to save on your clothing budget is to only buy clothes that you love and that flatter you. Neon, beaded fringe, and oversize hoop earrings may be all the rage, but if your style involves clean, simple lines, and classics like elegant pearls, don’t cave to the pressure to follow the trends. By only buying things that you will wear, you can count on significant savings.
2 Opt for Quality
Fast fashion is cheap, cute, and trendy, but it is also notorious for falling apart quickly — sometimes on the very first wear! A £10 top isn’t a bargain if you only get one use out of it. When you invest in clothes that are made to last, you can save a lot of money in the long run. Opt for wool over polyester, genuine leather shoes over faux plastic, and real gems rather than paste. By definition, classics never go out of style, which will not only save you money, but also valuable space in your wardrobe.
3 Never Pay Retail
Train yourself to only shop during sales. This one requires a bit more discipline, but it’s worth the effort. Most shops hold their big sales at certain times of the year, often right after Christmas and in mid-summer. Keep your eyes peeled for sale signs, or simply ask an associate when they’re scheduled. Then mark your calendar. Practicing self-restraint can be highly rewarding.
4 Ask for Discounts
If you’re out shopping (at a sale, of course) and spot a simple-to-fix flaw, such as makeup on a collar or a missing button, you can always politely inquire about an added discount. The worst they can say is no.
5 Only Buy Items That Fit
Another easy way to save is to never buy anything that doesn’t fit you right now. While hope springs eternal, practicality rules when it comes to investing in apparel. If you’re searching for an incentive, tell yourself that you can buy those leather pants/micro mini/sheer blouse/etc. after you’ve met your weight goal, not before. You can make significant savings by not buying items that you may well never wear.
5 Fear Not the Charity Shop
Second-hand shops are a treasure trove for fashionistas on a budget. You can often find amazing deals on top designer brands, fulfilling your desire to wear the best, whilst only paying on a fraction of the original cost.
6 Learn to Sew
Yet another clever way to save on clothes is by picking up a few skills with the needle and thread. A loose button is no reason to discard a blouse; neither is a fraying hem. A few quick stitches can save you a bundle, and give your self-confidence a boost as you add a new skill to your repertoire.
7 Treat Your Clothes Right
A simple step you can take to prolong the life of your apparel is to treat it with respect. Hang up your clothes when you take them off, or put them directly into the laundry. Fold rather than hang knits. Use padded hangers for silks and other delicate fabrics. A little TLC goes a long way toward keeping your things in tip-top shape, saving you money by not having to replace items as often.
8 Read Labels
At the risk of sounding like your mother, read the care label before you do the laundry. If it says ‘Cold Water Wash Only’, don’t use hot. Likewise, if it says ‘Hand to Dry’, do so; don’t cook it in the dryer. If you spy a stain, take care of it promptly. That said, don’t over-launder. For the most part, jeans do not need to be washed after every single wear. And if you only don an item for an hour or two, it can usually be refreshed by being aired on a hanger rather than run through the machine. Simple steps such as these really pay off.
9 Take a Pass on Dry Clean Only Clothes
When it comes to reading clothing labels, take things a step further and read the care instructions before buying. If it is dry clean only, seriously consider taking a pass. Dry cleaning is expensive and bad for the environment. Score a double win when you wear washable clothing.
10 Gotta Have It? Go For It!
Saving money is important, but so is feeling good about yourself. If you come across something that isn’t on sale, requires dry cleaning, or is super-trendy but you absolutely love it and know you’ll wear it, treat yourself. This type of purchase should not happen too often, but a once-in-a-while splurge is absolutely okay. If you’ve followed some of the other tips in this list, you’ll undoubtedly have earned the leeway for a little fun.
In sum, the best way to save on clothes is to buy fewer of them, make sure you truly love every single piece, and treat them with the respect they deserve. When you follow these simple steps, your clothes can last for years, even decades, saving not only money but also time and cupboard space too. An all-around win!