If you like wearing nice clothes, shoes, and accessories, then you know how expensive it can be to stay stylish over time. Every time fashion trends change or your favorite items break or fade, you’re forced to update your wardrobe. It doesn’t take a physics professor or an economics expert to conclude the constant buying and replacing of clothes, shoes, and accessories is a mostly unsustainable process.
Fortunately, there are ways to save money while staying fashionable. The following are seven ways to make it happen:
Start with thrift stores
Thrift stores help you save money in two ways. The obvious one is how you can find gorgeous garments sold for pennies on the dollar. The other, less commonly known way to use thrift stores to save is to sell your old clothes to them.
While you’ll never get back the money you originally paid, selling used clothing to thrift stores is better than throwing them away. Anything that doesn’t get bought can be donated through a more traditional thrift store chain like Goodwill or Salvation Army.
Outlet stores present themselves as an easy way to save money on fashion. However, upon closer inspection, those savings aren’t as significant as most people think.
For one thing, the items found in most outlets are there for a reason; they’re either poorly made, didn’t sell last season, or – most commonly – were explicitly made for outlets. What sounds like a great way to save 50% on clothes, shoes, and accessories is a way to spend more on items that are unlikely to be worn more than once before you realize why they were sold so “cheaply.”
Repair instead of replace
The rise of fast fashion has led to cheaper options. However, it also means people are less likely to repair damaged items. Instead, they throw them away and buy replacements. Not only is this unsustainable, but it’s also financially wasteful. Rather than throw away seemingly trashed attire, consider taking steps to fix them.
For instance, a pair of Oakley Silver XL with cracked lenses can be fixed with replacement lenses for a fraction of the cost of buying a new pair. Likewise, stained shirts can be revived with a little bit of elbow grease, and dirty shoes can be returned to near-perfect condition with an hour’s worth of cleaning.
One of the best ways to save money on fashion is to shop out-of-season. This essentially means buying warm-weather clothes in winter and cold-weather clothes in summer. While most clothing stores do a good job keeping their collections relevant to the current season, there’s usually a week or two window where the out-of-season items are still for sale at significantly discounted prices.
Stick to classic styles
As mentioned in the introduction, chasing the latest fashion trends is expensive. Rather than feeling constant pressure to upgrade your wardrobe, consider sticking to classic options that never go out of style. Everyone, regardless of age or gender identity, can look great in timeless styles of clothing, shoes, and accessories. Examples include denim jeans, plain t-shirts, black dresses, canvas sneakers, aviator-style sunglasses, and leggings.
Pay with cash
The easiest way to save money on fashion is to always pay using cash and debit cards. That’s because credit card balances – unless paid off by the end of the month – will incur interest charges, consequently raising the cost of the clothes, shoes, jewelry, and other items you buy.
If you know you can pay off the balance before the next billing cycle, then using credit cards to buy clothes is fine. But if you’re like most people and have a revolving balance, make a point to only use cash.
Follow the instructions
Lastly, taking proper care of clothing items, footwear, and accessories is key to saving money on fashion. If it says dry-clean only, then don’t throw it in the washing machine. If it says to wash with cold water and hang dry, then stick to what the instructions say. Doing so will prolong the life of your clothes, leading to savings over time.
Staying fashionable while saving money isn’t easy. But it’s not impossible. All it takes is careful spending, practical purchasing decisions, and a willingness to do what’s required to keep items looking good for years.