Building a Wardrobe on a Budget

Hey guys! I'm writing this post on Tuesday night and WOW it was a crazy day.  I went to go to work this morning and my car wouldn't start. I tried like 6 times and noting. Literally nothing.  I was about to just walk to work but I decided to try one more time and it finally turned on. On my way HOME from work, I had made it like one block from work and the engine light came on because my engine was overheating. Anyways, I ended up needing to get my car towed to the dealership (and ride in the tow truck with some random stranger) then take an uber home from the dealership. Phew. I had so much I was planning on doing tonight but that just knocked a chunk out of my evening so now I'm sipping wine and working on this blog post for tomorrow! Just a day in the life!

Anyways, I have no smooth way to segway into the topic of this blog post, so here it is! Building a wardrobe on a budget. I get a TON of questions surrounding this topic so I thought a blog post would be fitting.

So something you should know about me, I do NOT like to spend a lot of money on one item.  I am a major bargain hunter and I do whatever I can to stretch my dollar.  Cort and I have a very strict budget for eating out, clothing, entertainment, travel, etc., and we stick to it.  I have a set dollar amount that I spend on clothes every month, and it's NOT a lot of money. So here are some tips on how to make a little money go a long way and build up your wardrobe without breaking the bank.

  1. Plan your purchases: think ahead about what you want for the month and stick to those items when you're shopping.  If you have a clothing budget, this will help you make the most of your money and avoid that feeling of "where did all my money go?!" as you look at a pile of random things that you bought and didn't really need. Of course you can be spontaneous and if you find something you love for a good price, buy it. But have an idea in your head of what you really want and need so you feel like you are actually making worthwhile purchases.
  2. Define your style: I try to buy items that I know will go well with other items in my closet. This helps to build a cohesive wardrobe with the ability to mix and match items. It will make you feel like you have more to choose from versus a bunch of miscellaneous items that don't go well together.  I'm not saying that you have to put your style in a box, but it does help to know what colors/styles you like and build accordingly to maximize your options.
  3. Hold out for a sale: Most retailers mark items down so if I know I am shopping at a promotional heavy retailer (Gap, most department stores, H&M, TargetAnn Taylor, Urban Outfitters, etc.) I rarely buy items full price.  Usually within a couple weeks, it will be 10-20% off, so be patient and wait for the sale!
  4. Shop online: this will allow you to compare alll of your options before you buy to ensure you are getting the best deal. Always use online coupons and Honey so you can make sure you aren't missing out on savings. Also- most online retailers offer a discount code for signing up for the email list! Even if it's just a 10% off coupon, it all adds up! 
  5. Don't be afraid to thrift! Some of you might hate me for this but I looove good second hand finds! Plato's Closet, Goodwill, consignment/vintage stores have some amazing bargains. Some of my all time favorite pieces come from second hand stores. It takes a lot of patience, but in my opinion, it's worth it.  But trust me, what you save in $$ you spend in the time it takes to dig through the junk. It's not the most convenient way to shop but it's great if you need a dress for a wedding that you'll probably only wear once (chances are someone else only wore it once and decided to give it away), or want to get some good jeans to distress. I personally enjoy the hunt and love finding an amazing steals.. plus it's always fun when people get uncomfortable when I tell them where it's from ;)
  6. Invest in the right pieces: I'll always spend more on jeans, good sweaters, nice pants, or boots. These are pieces that should have a lower turnover in your closet and you'll end up saving money in the long run if you invest.  I don't, however, invest in trendy items that I know I will only wear for a season. 
  7. Revamp old items: This something I do allll the time.  If I find my black jeans are fading, I'll slit the knees and go for a distressed look, or cut them into shorts. Of course, if you know how to sew the possibilities are endless here.  If you don't know how to sew and WANT to be able to stretch your wardrobe, have someone teach you how to do some basic stitches. You will be amazed at how much you use this simple skill to repair or revamp an item.  
  8. Shop discount retailers: TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Nordstrom Rack, Last Call, Ross, etc., are some of my favorite stores.  You can truly find some amazing deals here (and designer deals), but similar to tip #5, sometimes you have to hunt.  I go to TJ Maxx allll the time and I always leave with something really cute for a less than $30. 

That's all I've got! I hope these simple tips helped. I know it's nothing earth shattering, but this is what I do and it's really helped me! I hope everyone has a happy humpday!!