How to Stop Wasting Money on Clothes

You spend hours trying on clothes, you spend hundreds (maybe more!) Buying these clothes, then you open your closet and, lo and behold, you don’t see anything worthwhile. This is a common dilemma and financially wasteful.

Here are some of the common pitfalls we fall into when we shop and how to get the most out of our investment.

Strive for quality

Fast fashion is tempting, but cheaper clothing usually means cheaper material and construction.

In Quartz, writer Kayla Tyner compares our approach to fashion and food:

Most of the cheap clothing we consume in large quantities is similar to our fast food diets – high in calories (quantity) but low in nutrients (quality). We are a culture that buys a lot of garbage. Think about your own wardrobe – Think how many pieces of clothing you have and how often you wear each one. I guess most of us wear about 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. This is a lot of wasted space and wasted money.

These fast products also wear out quickly. So when you open your cabinet doors and look at them, you miss them because they are faded, worn out, or just out of date.

Count the numbers to fight the trend. Look at your annual clothing spending, add up how much of it goes to fast fashion, and then focus that budget on fewer, higher quality items .

Tyner suggests:

The average American household has an average annual income of approximately $ 50,000. If he spends 3% of his income on clothes, they will have $ 1,500 a year or $ 125 a month. Instead of buying five fast, trendy, low-quality items at $ 25 each, they could invest in one or two high-quality items at a higher price ($ 125 or $ 63, respectively).

There are a few caveats to this.

First, quality items are expensive, and not all of us can afford to spend $ 200 on a pair of trousers, even if they last ten times as long as a pair of $ 20. Quality doesn’t have to be expensive. You can find used quality clothing at consignment stores or even eBay. It’ll take a little longer, but you’ll probably spend a lot of time digging around for fast fashion, so save time and money and buy better, fewer items that you actually wear.

Second, don’t use “I buy quality!” as an excuse to spend even more on unnecessary things, which is a tempting alternative. Part of the appeal of fast fashion is that it allows us to indulge in shopping for little money. If you always give in to this impulse and buy quality clothing, your clothing budget will skyrocket.

Know your fitness

One of the main reasons I can never find anything to wear in my closet is because it feels like nothing fits. Of course, I can put these pants on my body, but when they are on, they look sloppy. As personal stylist Lauren Messiah says , “Just because you can wear it doesn’t mean it fits.”

Take some time to study how different subjects should fit together. Here are some guides to help you get started:

You can also work with a tailor. A good tailor will explain to you how your clothes should look on you and then adjust your clothes accordingly. In fact, consider donating your existing wardrobe to a tailor before buying new clothes. If you can never find what to wear, perhaps you just need to find clothes to wear. There is one trick to finding a good tailor : give them a test drive. Ask them to alter an item of clothing that is not too expensive, and then make sure the seams match and the item fits well.

Buy for reality

It took me a long time to admit that I’m just not the type to wear heels. At 5’2 ” I feel like I should be that kind of person, but I’d rather be short and comfortable. But did that stop me from buying many, many heels over the years? Of course not. I love the idea of ​​being the kind of girl who wears stiletto heels for dinner, but until I’m that girl, I’m going to have to buy reality.

As noted former program participant Get Rich Slowly April Daykman, if most of your clothes supports the life of your dream, and not the one that you actually live in, most likely, you will have a huge wardrobe, which have nothing to wear. This is not to say that I should never have high heels, but they definitely shouldn’t make up the bulk of my shoe wardrobe.

When buying, consider the following: how you conduct your daily activities; how many similar items you already have; and what is the climate where you live. (If you live in Arizona, you probably won’t need a million coats, no matter how good they look on you.)

Take care of your things

Finally, maybe you have nothing to wear because everything you love to wear is destroyed. Maybe moth holes keep popping up on your favorite sweaters, or maybe you keep shrinking your tops, or maybe you’re just too lazy to iron the shirt you want to wear.

It helps you understand the basics of garment care, which seems simple – just throw the garment in the washing machine and hit a button, right? – but there is one more nuance here.

First, your garments have intricate symbols that explain exactly how to wash them. Learn to decipher these symbols ( this handy table can help ).

Avoid dryers if possible. One study presented to the American Chemical Society found that drying cotton garments repeatedly caused them to crack. This caused pellets and reduced the fabric strength of the garment by 25 percent or more. At the very least, keep delicate fabrics such as bras out of the dryer.

“A closet full of clothes and nothing to wear” is a common problem, and ultimately the solution comes down to a little more awareness. Most of us don’t really care about our wardrobe.

We shop when we feel like spending money. If it looks good, we buy it and then stuff it into our closet along with a bunch of other dull things. If you find yourself spending too much on things you never use, it might make sense to think a little more about your purchases.

The post was originally published on September 28, 2017. It was updated on March 11, 2020 by Lisa Rowan. Updates include: verified links for accuracy; updated formatting to reflect the current style; function image changed; Consolidated advice from Tyner, Messiah and Dyckman.

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