Clothing is an essential part of our existence in this modern world. We need professional clothes to wear at work. We need quality clothes to wear in our business meetings and special family gatherings. We basically dress not only to express ourselves but to command the respect that we want in our respective professional environments.
And due to our consistent need to dress up, we sometimes lose track on how much we are spending on clothes and shoes. I know a lot of people who spends more than half of their salary on clothing which is why I have decided to write about some tips and tricks on how you could save money on clothes without sacrificing style and function.
“What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today, when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language.” —Miuccia Prada
Here are some 12 tips on how to save money on clothes and still look amazing:
Understand Your Style
Sometimes we buy on impulse whenever we are at the mall. We sometimes wear these clothing items once and then they’re left in our closets to collect dust. One of the main reasons why this happens is that the item that we just purchased is not really our style but rather just an impulse buy due to our consistent exposure to advertisements both offline and online for this particular item.
If you truly understand your style, you will be able to control your splurges and focus on very high quality pieces that reflects your personal style.
“Fashions fade, style is eternal.” —Yves Saint Laurent
Buy Affordable Quality Basics
Regardless of one’s personal style, there are some basics that we all buy such as that crisp white t-shirt and soft cotton handkerchiefs. These clothing pieces do not need to be bought from designer shops. There are lots of high quality brands that sell them for a very affordable price.
Buy Out of Season Clothing Items
Try to observe the mall a week or two before a season ends. You will notice that almost every shops are on sale and they seem to be in a hurry to dispose the current items to give way to the next season’s clothing items. This is the best time to shop as the clothes become very cheap and affordable.
Do Not Follow Trends
Trends do not lasts that long that’s why they’re called ‘trends.’ If you keep on following the trends, you will end up with a closet full of unwearable clothes. Again, the key is knowing your style.
However, sometimes, we really want to get that trendy piece, right? I highly suggest that you get a trendy piece or two that will compliment your existing wardrobe. And before you buy that trendy item, think about the places where you could wear it? Is it appropriate to wear at work? Can it be worn with your other clothing pieces? Can you still wear it after a year or two? If your answer is yes, then perhaps you could get that piece since you know that it will be worn multiple times.
“Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way to live.” —Gianni Versace
Avoid Delicate or High-Maintenance Clothing Items
Before you buy that silk dress, think about its maintenance cost. Silk is indeed very beautiful and very luxurious however you cannot just throw it in the washer after wearing it. It needs to be dry-cleaned. There are clothing pieces that cost a lot to maintain such as silk, suede, genuine leather etc. Before you buy an item, check the care label to see if that particular piece will cost you a fortune to keep.
I personally love suede shoes because of how it looks and its beautiful texture. I bought a suede shoes once (I think the colour was beige or tan), and after wearing it for a couple of weeks, I could not wear it anymore due to the grime and dirt that had accumulated over the past few weeks of wear. I tried cleaning it but it does not look the same anymore. I tried to bring it to a leather specialty store but to have it restored will just cost me more money so I decided to just donate it and from then on, I only buy low-maintenance dark-coloured leather shoes.
Mix and Match
Whenever you are buying a piece of clothing or a pair of shoes, think about how well it will compliment your existing wardrobe. If you could mix and match it with a lot of your existing pieces then it’s good. It means that it will be worn a lot of times and you will be able to maximise the hard-earned money spent on it.
Invest in Real Gold Accessories
Accessories have become very cheap due to mass-production (same with clothes). You can now easily buy a gold-tone metal necklace for less than P100 ($2). It has become so cheap that people don’t give second-thoughts on buying lots of these items on a monthly basis. However, when you add all those up, you’ll be surprised on how much you spent on those accessories.
Since these items are produced cheaply, you will notice deterioration in quality just after a few use and these items will often end up in the garbage bin since I’m sure that you wouldn’t bother yourself anymore to clean it if you have tons of similar items in your closet.
Instead of buying these kind of cheap accessories, I highly suggest that you save up, practice delayed gratification and then buy real gold jewelries instead. Gold appreciates in value and real gold jewelries can be pawned (something that might be handy in case of financial emergencies).
Instead of buying gold jewelries at the mall, buy from pawnshops. The price is definitely much lower. And also before you go to any pawnshops, go online to check the market price of gold to make sure that you are quite aware of how much gold really cost thus enabling you to bargain more effectively.
“No other commodity enjoys as much universal acceptability and marketability as gold.” — Hans F. Sennholz
Borrow from Family and Friends
There are certain clothes that we will only wear once or twice and instead of buying these items, I highly suggest that you borrow it instead from your friends and family. An example of this is ‘Barong Tagalog’ which is often worn in very formal Filipino events. Just make sure to have it dry cleaned before you return it to whomever you borrowed it from as a sign of courtesy and gratitude.
Visit your Local Thrift Stores
You’ll be surprised on what you can find on local thrift stores. I’m a thrifter and most of my clothes are bought from thrift stores. A lot of people do not thrift because of the negative perception about thrift stores. Although it still rings true for some of these shops, a lot of the thrift stores in the city have upped their game.
There are many thrift stores now that are clean and have air-conditioning units to make their shops more comfortable to their customers. The downside though of this improvement is that the prices of their merchandise have increased. However, don’t be disheartened as thrift shops always have grail items to be found (if you’re patient enough to go through all their racks).
1. Wear comfortable clothing
2. If you’re on the hunt for grail items such as designer clothes, better visit thrift shops on their ‘New Arrival’ day.
3. If you’re on the hunt for very cheap items, make sure to visit them during their sale period which is usually a week before they sell their newly arrived items.
4. You should also give them your phone numbers so they could contact you when they have ‘New Arrival.’
5. Bargain politely, even though these items are already being sold very cheap, they still sometimes give discounts to their customers.
Buy Secondhand Clothing Online
If you do not have the time to go to thrift shops, the second best alternative is to buy clothing online. If you’re from the US, you have tons of options such as Ebay, Grailed, Poshmark etc. If you’re in the Philippines, you’re in luck because we also have Ebay here and as well as Carousell. If you want to buy internationally, you can also visit international sites such as Grailed (menswear only).
Most people that I know who buy online are on the hunt for designer pieces for a fraction of the retail price. If you are one of those people like me, I suggest that you follow these basic tips and you might a score a vintage designer piece for a fraction of the retail price:
1. Patience is the Key: Ebay has a ‘Watch’ functionality while Carousell and Grailed both uses the heart symbol as their mechanism for liking an item. If you click on ‘Watch’, it means that this item will be on your watchlist and you’ll be notified if there are any updates such as price changes. The functionality of the heart symbol with Grailed is basically the same. However, with Carousell, you will not be notified with anything but it just organizes everything that you ‘liked’ in one place called ‘Stuff Liked’.
I suggest that you use these mechanisms to monitor the items that you intend to purchase. I then buy these items once I have the budget to do so or once they go on sale.
2. Know Your Stuff: There are tons of fake items online and it’s getting harder and harder to sift through the fakes as days go by. However, do not be disheartened as there are still tons of original items available online if you really know what you’re looking for. I will write a separate post about this one as this is a very broad topic to tackle.
3. Ask: Some sellers provide the maximum number of pictures (12 for Ebay and 10 for Carousell) thus giving the prospective buyer enough visuals to decide. Some sellers also provide details on the description such as measurements, flaws (if there are any) etc. Before you buy anything, make sure to check out all the provided pictures and to read the whole post written by the seller. If you want to buy the item but you are still unsure about some details, do not hesitate to ask the seller.
4. Bargain Politely: Even though the price is already way lower than the usual mall price, you can still bargain with the seller.
5. Confirm the Additional Cost and Ask for Cheaper Option: The cost of items for Ebay and Carousell do not include the shipping fee. Do not hesitate to ask the seller for a cheaper or faster option. For example, if the seller is located in your city, ask if having it delivered via Lalamove or Grab Express would be cheaper. If it is, then go for this option instead.
Sell or Donate your Clothes
We have a lot of clothes that we already have outgrown both in size and in style. Our body size and our sense of style changes as time goes by. Do not hold on to these clothing pieces as they eat up valuable storage space in your home. I highly suggest that you sell them offline or online (whichever is easier for you) or better yet, donate them to those in need.
If you have a very closet full of clothing items that you do not use, they might cause the deterioration of your favourite pieces. Clothes do need ample space to breathe too to avoid developing that weird closet smell.
Confidence is the Key
At the end of they day, do not let your clothes wear you. Let your clothes be just an accent to your already existing confidence. Clothes are made to keep us comfortable and it has evolved to become a symbol of ourselves. Only wear clothes that make you feel comfortable and clothes that speaks volume about your personality and sense of style.
“Fashion you can buy, but style you possess. The key to style is learning who you are, which takes years. There’s no how-to road map to style. It’s about self expression and, above all, attitude.” —Iris Apfel
Do you have additional tips on how to save on clothes? Feel free to share your tips on the comment section below.