I remember walking through a department store at the age of six and admiring a dress with a matching sweater. When I asked if I could have it my parents pointed out the price tag. And although I no longer remember the price, I do remember the most important detail, it was too much to buy. Ever since then, I've been keenly aware of the high cost of fashion.
Most of my high school life I had been a slave to it. When I got my first real job at 16 (paid $7 an hour, not too bad in 1994) I took my first paycheck, $90 something dollars and went to the shopping mall and bought all the things my parents said they couldn't afford to buy for me. And back then (at least where I lived), clothing was more expensive than it is now. You didn't have the cheaper chain stores in the mall and of course, no internet. If you wanted to go cheap there was your local generic"mart" store or there was a garbage bag full of hand-me-downs. On average I spent about $80 for a shirt and skirt. I wouldn't even pay that now! And that was nearly 20 years ago!
I'd like to say that as time went on I became more responsible with my budget in terms of the wardrobe appropriation but I have to admit I spent way more than I saved. It wasn't until age 23, one semester before I finished collage, all out of money, bored one day, that I bought a sewing pattern for a button-down blouse and decided I was going to sew a shirt instead of buying one.
That started a long wonderful hobby that has led me here. Now, if I see an expensive dress online or in a catalog of my favorite brand I don't simply pull out my debit card, I try to figure out a way to make it myself. If I want to buy a new pair of skinny jeans I'll go to the thrift store and buy a pair of jeans for a $1 then tailor them to fit me. Honestly, I can't remember the last time I spent $80 on an outfit unless you count my sister's wedding;-)
Other money saving tips for those of you who don't sew from scratch:
1. If you see an expensive outfit you like first check the thrift stores to see if there's something close that you can alter slightly. And ask if there's a day of the week when everything is 50% off (many thrift stores do this).
2. Check out the cheaper chain stores in the mall. Some of them look like they are only for teenagers but every so often you can find something tasteful. If what you like is too short you can always add a lengthening slip underneath. These places are also great for accessories like belts, jewelry, sunglasses, shoes, bags, etc.
3. If you absolutely must buy something retail then buy it online, you can usually find coupon codes for between 15%-30% off plus often free shipping.
4. Not all outlet stores are created equal. We have a couple really good ones where I live but we also have a couple that are ridiculous. Talk to others and figure out which ones are bogus and which ones are great.
5. Never spend over $30 for a top or bottom unless you think you'll wear it for years. I admit, there are a few tops in my wardrobe that I've spent more than $30 on but they are things I really love and I've worn for many seasons. Other cheaper "look-of-the-month" things I toss after one season.
6. Buy quality over quantity. I'd rather you spend $40 on one blouse you really love than $30 on six chintzy camis that you sort of like. Try to spend less but don't take that extra money you saved and put it toward other clothes. You'll end up spending just as much as you did if you were buying retail and in addition you'll find yourself saddled with a hoarding problem. Plus, you'll have way more laundry and that's never fun;-)
There to help you. That's getting to a better State.
“Disclosure: Compensation was provided by State Farm via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of State Farm”