Ever stumble across a fashion article/blog that has the title “Affordable Essentials” or “The Affordable Brand Celebs Wear”? After reading that article/blog did you ever think to yourself “That’s what they consider affordable?”. Nowadays I’ve been coming across more and more blog posts or newsletters featuring stores and brands that they say are affordable but my wallet seems to disagree. What exactly is affordable? Sure, everyone has a different price bracket of what they consider a bargain, a steal, and a splurge. But sometimes when reading these articles I feel like I am in some way not making the type of money I should be making. Or maybe I’m supposed to focus more on the quality of the items I am shopping for instead of the quantity.
If I had $100 to spend, my ideal would be to get as many items possible for that amount of money. And there are definitely places I could go that would give me a bang for my buck. On the other hand, I could also “invest” that money into a single item. A higher quality item. An item that will last me multiple seasons and multiple years. But that’s the struggle. Quantity vs. Quality. Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand and respect the choice of choosing a higher quality item. It just makes more sense to put your money to an item that you aren’t going to donate in a couple of months or hide in your closet for the rest of your life. It is just easier to spend $15 than $70 on one dress.
So how do you decide? Here is my plan:
1. BUDGET: WhoWhatWear has an ideal guide on what to spend monthly on clothing. They have suggested 5% of your take home. This is just a guide so if you feel you need to spend less or more, that’s your choice.
2. PLAN YOUR WARDROBE: What items do you need? What items need to be replaced? What items do you have too many of? Planning out your wardrobe is a long and tedious process, but in the end it will help you figure out what pieces you wasted money on and what pieces you can invest in. If you find yourself wearing the same items over and over again, those are your foundation pieces. You can invest more money on a quality foundation piece that you will wear forever.
3. SHOP SMART: Ask you self these questions before buying: Can I build at least 3 different outfits with this? Will I wear this for more than 1 season? Is this my style? These questions will help you when you are at a crossroads when purchasing. You want to be able to put every item in your wardrobe to good use. So if you can’t wear it 3 different times for different occasions, you might want to pass. Items that are too trendy will lose value as time passes and will eventually get lost in your closet. Be mindful of your personal style. There is no sense in getting a pair of paisley bell bottoms if your more of minimalist or prep. If you want to experiment with other styles I suggest getting accessories.
Hopefully these tips help you make better wardrobe choices. I am still trying to live by this guide so don’t feel bad if you relapse and come home with a new pair of Vans when you already own 5 pairs. Let me know what you do to shop smart. Any tips I can add? Do you think its better to save your money and splurge on higher quality items or are you a die-hard Forever 21 fashionista?
Last Thought: Keep in mind that an “Investment” piece does not always mean “Designer” piece. More on that another day…