Tag Archives: clothes

Wardrobe Revamp..Or Choosing Material Things Over Experiences

Right after I “saved” money on my summer vacation, I spent money on a wool sweater that I won’t be wearing til fall or winter.  I can run through all the justifications…big sale, good brand, free shipping, merino wool, polka dots…but it really makes no sense.  If it fits as well as it looks online, I’ll be happy.  However, it did make me set a clothing budget budget.  I’ve held off replacing many items over the past year and it’s been getting hard to find work-appropriate summer clothes. It’s also time that I replaced some worn-out shoes.  For what it’s worth, I haven’t bought anything for myself since January 2012 and have gone up a size.*

Despite my desire to revamp my wardrobe, I did imposed some guidelines to keep my spending in check:

1) Keep A List: I assessed my clothing needs and decided to keep a list (with budget next to each item) in my wallet at all times.

2) Really Assess Your Closet: As I mentioned in #1, I actually looked inside my closet to see what I needed/wanted.  After my first assessment, I came up with a fairly long list plus a target spending amount in each category. For example, I am willing to spend more on shoes than blouses.   However, I quickly busted my budget on one pair of shoes!  I re-examined my closet and realized that I didn’t need to buy everything on my list.  I could boost my summer work/play wardrobe just by using what I got.  1) I have two summer-y items hanging in my closet for months because they need ironing; and 2) I should finally wear a summer dress that I bought last year!

2) Work/Play: In the past, I had a clear division between casual and work clothes, which definitely increased my spending. Since my workplace is fairly casual, I’m spending on clothes and shoes that are good for both work and play.

3) Frugal Substitutes: Rather than replacing every item that is now too small or past its prime, I’m trying to figure out if one item can do 2 jobs.  Example:  Three of my work skirts were no longer presentable — a dark denim skirt,  black pencil skirt and gray A-line skirt.  I replaced all items with a more basic straight gray/navy skirt.  It’s very versatile and something I can wear to work or for a night out.

4) Remember that higher price doesn’t always equal higher quality! While I do think some designer brands look and feel better, it doesn’t always mean that their items will last longer.  Pricing also reflects brand perception and higher store mark-ups. Plus, I’ve found that many items I have from Target and Old Navy have hold up for years when taken care of.  Update: I do have to give kudos to my one pair of high-end designer shoes, a brand I never heard of but just looked up and realized that these cost on average $400-500.  I got it for close to $100 and you can definitely find them on sale or online for the $200 range.  Anyway, it’s an Italian brand, great-quality leather, comfortable, well-made and beautifully designed and has held up extremely well over 8+ years. My only concern is that this has become my go-to heels now that others have come and gone. I need to get a second pair just to give these a break and get another 8+ years out of them.  Or try to find the same pair on Ebay.

5) Buy What You Love: I spent a day mulling over the purchase of those cute shoes.  It went on sale so I took it as a sign to buy even though it was still above my original price point.  I made adjustments to my budget by cutting out other wants.   At the end of the day, if you don’t love it, it’s not a bargain.  Tip: Some retailers offer price protection so if you’re not sure you got the best price, go to the www.priceprotectr.com and sign up for a notification if the price drops within 7 days on the item you just bought.

* It’s strange to be a bigger size  on pants and skirts only, while still being smaller for blouses and tops.

How do you manage your clothing budget?  Do you set a budget or just buy what you want/need?

Goals: Accountability

Even with my goals posted, I still have to read through it daily in order to remember and take action.  Of course the best thing about posting up goals on a blog is accountability so here goes…

  • Update wardrobe. Purchased so far this year – $30 for a sweater, belt and striped shirt (via a Land’s End Canvas LivingSocial Deal), $26 for a sweater and $35 cotten dress perfect for next summer.  I also realize that I need to create a list so that I don’t go overboard so here goes in terms of priority plus my maximum price: 1 pair of dark straight leg jeans ($50),  1 jersey wrap type dress (work/casual; $40),  1 skirt (work/casual; $40), 1 pair of ballet flats or heels (preferably in brown/neutral tones; $70),  1 -2 blouses that are comfy as t-shirts but more  dressed up ($20 each).
  • Eat fish at least twice a week.  At least once – twice a week, I’m making this my default choice. If there’s fish on the menu, I’ll order it (unless it’s fried).  Leaving myself “no choice” is probably the only way I can remember this goal!
  • Don’t focus on saving money too much.  I am constantly reminding myself that I’ve rarely found lower prices on diapers and wipes than at Amazon.com, although I don’t know if this is still true now that they dropped their discount from 30% to 20% only.   I still compare prices way too often.
  • Enjoy parenthood. Sometimes this is easy; sometimes incredibly hard.
  • Exercise on the weekends.  Not happening….
  • Don’t expect others to read my mind.  My poor husband should appreciate this one.  I should also add “not to make mountains out of mole hills.” I sort of “let it go” in terms of a comment he made and the anger dissipated quickly rather than blow up.
  • Pamper myself.  I bought myself an iced coffee,  just because.
  • Let go of my idea of a “perfect” clean house! 

Bonus goal of doing good: Bought co-worker an iced coffee, praised several colleagues that helped me on a big project, looked into joining a credit union.

I’ll do my next update in early December.

I Wish..

I wish I could get every item on sale. There was a great sale at the Gap this weekend — 40% off on sale items — so I got clothing and baby clothes at amazingly low prices. There was a big sale at Banana Republic too (30% off on sale items plus they were handing out coupons for 25% off your entire receipt).  If only I could buy EVERY thing during big sales like these, I would have a dream closet and more money in the bank!

I wish I was a better shopper. After agonizing over buying something to celebrate a bonus, I ended up with a not-quite-right purse that’s just too small for my daily needs (and wishing I could get another one). This was a final sale so I can’t return it and I’m too lazy to re-sell it so I’m using it in the meantime.

I wish that my favorite clothes and shoes would never wear out…instead favorite items always wear out at different times, i.e. when I finally find that perfect pair of black pants to go with my favorite heels, the shoes need to be replaced…if I’m lucky, the shoes are good enough quality to re-sole or fix up.

Just random thoughts on shopping on a Monday morning…