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Why do some people look good and others look like they’ve dressed themselves at the local jumble sale? It’s all about money, isn’t it? Those with a lot of cash can afford the best designer clothes, take a pride in their appearance and look smooth and polished all the time, right? Wrong.
While having a lot of money can mean that you’ll have the cash to spend on the latest fashions, just because you aren’t rich does not mean that you have to dress poorly or not take pride in your appearance.
It’s a myth that shopping for new clothes will break the bank. In fact, thanks to globalisation, clothes have never been cheaper. True – buying yourself a completely new wardrobe in one go can cost you a lot, but if you break it down and shop regularly rather than once a year, then you’ll keep your wardrobe fresh without putting a strain on your bank account. The trick is to set a monthly budget for clothing and stick to it. The alternative is to borrow ahead of a big shopping spree.
Peer pressure means that we’re all led to believe that only designer labels will be good enough when it comes to looking great. But few people are going to be looking for signs that you’re wearing a designer label suit when you look good at first glance. Sure, a £800 dress may be better quality than one which looks the same and costs £700 less but nobody is going to know that unless you tell them. Stick to affordable clothes and you’ll have a much wider choice in your wardrobe.
You’ll be amazed at just how up-to-date fashion from cheaper labels is. There’s very little difference between – say – a pair of £100 Levi jeans and a similar pair from Marks and Spencer. The only real difference is the label and if you wear a belt, then this is hidden from view anyway. Try to look at your outfit as a whole and buy more supporting pieces – t-shirts, shirts, etc. – rather than those expensive statement items.
Charity shops may have a dowdy image but it all depends on where you go. If you visit a charity shop in a well-heeled area then its stock is likely to reflect the buying power of the people who live there. They are more likely to change their clothes more often than people in less-well-off areas and more likely to hand their older clothes over to charity.
There’ll be clothes in your closet that you haven’t worn for ages and, in all probability, will have completely forgotten about. All those things like shirts or skirts that you bought on holiday once and then tucked away in a drawer never to be worn again. Take an afternoon and have everything out of your wardrobe and put the things that still take your fancy in a pile. Everything else can go to the charity shop for somebody else to enjoy.
Keep an eye open for things called ‘sample sales’. These will be advertised in the local paper or on social media. These are where stores get rid of stock that they’ve had on display purely to gauge interest. And don’t forget that standard sales are virtually year-round events these days. You’ll need to be smart and get up early to grab the most fashionable items in the most common sizes, though.
People who know how to sew typically spend far less on their wardrobes than those that don’t. And they almost always have far more clothes than other people. Making your own clothes from patterns is far cheaper than even shopping in bargain stores and can be a lot of fun. If you don’t feel confident making an entire outfit, you could always jazz up something from your existing wardrobe – perhaps sewing on some new buttons or adding some piping.
Buy yourself some washing machine die, some salt and change the colours of your old and boring clothes to something a little more up to date and exciting. Dying clothes in the washing machine is cheap, remarkably easy and the new colour will last just as well as the one that shirt or those trousers originally came in.
Oliver Jones has written for Solution Loans since 2015. His passion for personal finance comes through in the 150+ blog posts he's written since that time. His talent for explaining all things money means he's covered topics as diverse as...Read about Oliver Jones
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