Remember that intriguing blog post I was going to write, about building a stylish fall wardrobe when you don't have any money?
I've written it and re-written it in my mind. I've completely scrapped the idea and gone for a broader "Frugal Living" sort of post, but I keep going back to this post. I said I was going to write it, so even though I don't have any new or grand ideas, I thought I'd share what I DO have.
I just don't want to downplay the fact that it's difficult to live "without money," whatever your situation is. And seriously, it can be hard to justify clothes-shopping when money is tight. After all, you could take that same $12 for a shirt and buy oats and beans and rice... Am I right?
Taking that into consideration, here are some clothes-wearing and shopping ideas for you!
First of all, go through the clothes you already own. Find the items that...
-aren't pilled or stained or ripped
-you feel great in
and put those items in a "keep" pile. See, the easiest and least expensive way to create a wardrobe is to wear the items you already OWN!
It's a lot simpler to figure out what you need this season, when you have what you own sitting there in front of you.
Next step: figure out what you still need. I like to find items that I can use in multple outfits.
When I went through my clothes, I found that the items I "needed" most were...
-a long sleeved gray shirt
-a long sleeved black shirt
The three main colors I wear in the fall/winter would be dark purple, gray, and black, and I already have a couple purple tops from summer that I can transition to fall/winter if I wear a black or gray sweater overtop!
I love gray and black because I can wear them with my skirts OR jeans, depending on how I accessorize them!
Another great option would be a simple striped top--whether it's white and navy stripes or white and black stripes. It's another shirt that can be worn casually or formally, depending on what you pair it with.
I've mentioned buying items you can wear in multiple outfits. Basically, you need to be ok with wearing the same clothes over and over again.
I tried doing just this several weeks ago. At the beginning of summer, I'd purchased several tops that just hadn't lasted. They were looking and feeling stretched and worn out. I looked through my summer tops to find the ones I consistently enjoyed wearing, and... guess what... there were two of them.
This wouldn't be possible if you didn't do laundry often (as I do), but I ended up wearing those tops every day for a couple weeks. I'd wear one, throw it in the wash, wear the other one. Then the weather started cooling off, and I could occasionally wear a long-sleeved top to throw in the mix!
Oh, and by the way... I wore them with my dark wash skinny jeans, of which I have two pairs.
You might be wondering if I got completely sick of these tops and jeans. Nope! Once you establish that you LIKE a certain shirt, I think it's easy to wear it again and again. Every time you wear it, you feel prepared and ready for the day--even if you last wore it two days earlier!
As for the boots, I had a pair of brown boots that I purchased for $15 at Gabes several years ago. Besides looking worn out, they're super uncomfortable. I wear boots "out" all the time in the winter, so that's why new boots made the short list!
Third step: figure out HOW you'll pay for these new items. If you're working with a budget, it's recommended that you decrease the amount you're spending in one area, to make up for the extra money you're spending in another area (in this case: clothes).
OR, my personal favorite way to "earn" extra cash: sell things you're not using around your house. Once you determine that you really "want" one thing, it's interesting how you prioritize what is important to "keep" around your house. Maybe I'm a rare example, but if I see something just sitting, that we haven't read/watched/touched in the last few months, I'm happy to see it go.
Several years ago, we bought the complete series of Stargate: SG1. It came in a beautiful box, and there for several months, we faithfully watched it. But since Netflix came along, and we got different interests, we hadn't watched SG1 in over a year. Which meant... it was gathering dust.
No longer. Matt and I discussed items that we'd rather have around our house (like boots), and I listed SG1 on Ebay. It sold within a week for almost $100. I found a great price on some new boots (also on Ebay), and spent a fraction of our earnings on winter boots--with plenty of money to spare.
I call this method "Sell to Buy." You take items you don't need or want, sell them, and then buy what you'd rather have with the earnings. It's a win-win: you get rid of your unwanted and unused items, and now have the money to buy wanted items you'll use all the time!
So now that you have the money in hand, the fourth and final step to creating a stylish fall wardrobe would be...
Four: Buy a few, nice items to round out your closet!
Here's what I would NOT recommend... buying a few CHEAPLY MADE items that will get pilled/worn out/stretched out in a matter of weeks. I've made that mistake a few too many times. I've even had to throw away a shirt after ONE wearing, it was so awful.
My three favorite places to buy inexpensive and yet NICE QUALITY items would be...
-Goodwill (or local thrift shops)
When you're out shopping (even when the items are inexpensive), keep that list of "needed" items in mind, and focus on just buying those. I've had some thrift store experiences where I thought, "Oh! It's only $4! And it's cute!" So I brought it home, and wore it only a few times. You want to buy items that will fit with your style, and you'll be excited to wear it over and over!
If you haven't heard of ThredUp before, it's a GREAT place to find awesome deals--good quality stuff, great prices. Once you know which brands you like, and what size you wear, and what you want to buy, you can do specific searches...
Gap, black long-sleeved shirt, size 2 or 4...
or whatever you're looking for!
My best luck with ThredUp has been with jeans. Now I know that I like American Eagle, dark wash jeans, and what size I wear, instead of buying $50 jeans in the store, I can buy the same jeans I like (gently used) for $10-15--or even less.
And while on the topic of ThredUp, if you click my link, you can earn $10 off your first AND SECOND purchases! (Once you place your order, I'll also receive $20. So it's a great deal for both of us!!)
If I could add a P.S. to number four, it would be...
Have fun with accessories. I mean bracelets, earrings, necklaces, scarves, and so on. If you're looking through clearance racks, it's easy to find some of these items for $2 (which is much cheaper than most clothing items). Accessories make it possible to wear the same shirt and skirt three weeks in a row, and no one would ever know, because you're "dressing" it up differently each time.
So there are my ideas. Happy shopping!