Today’s post is from my awesome staff writer Jordann. Enjoy!
Like lots of people, I love clothing. I’m not a clothes horse per say, after all, I tend to have a minimalist wardrobe, but I definitely appreciate a piece of well crafted clothing that fits properly, is well made, and priced right.
I’m pretty careful about what I buy these days. Back when I was a starving student I would only buy the cheapest clothing. I didn’t have a lot of money to spend and I just couldn’t justify dropping a huge portion of my piddly clothing budget on a single expensive piece of clothing with a credit card. The downside of this strategy was that my clothes didn’t last long before they shrunk, got holes, or were otherwise compromised.
Since I didn’t have much money to spend on clothing, I was usually very sad when something I bought only before fell apart, even if it WAS only $5.
Then, after I graduated from university and got my first real job, I found the wonderful world of brand name clothing. I did a complete 180 on my clothing philosophy. I still wasn’t buying much for clothing, since I had a ton of debt to pay down, but now I was only buying expensive clothes that I thought were much higher quality and much more suited to a recent graduate. Of course, once I fully grasped the magnitude of how much debt I was in, that spending habit stopped.
So, is buying expensive clothing worth it? I’ve had the chance to buy both bottom of the barrel clothing and reasonably high quality clothing, and the two are very different.
The verdict? Sometimes.
Not the definitive answer you were looking for right? Unfortunately, that’s the truth. Sometimes it’s worth it to spend the extra money on well made clothing, and sometimes it’s just not. Here are my top instances where buying expensive clothing is worth it, and when it’s not:
I’m running a half marathon this Spring. To prepare for this, I’ve been running a lot. In fact, some of my runs are over two hours in duration. For these situations, I need high quality performance gear. I’ve run in the expensive lululemon gear and the cheaper alternatives, and the expensive gear performs better every time. While this might not make a huge difference for the weekend runner, for me it’s the difference between making it through a run unscathed or making it through with blisters the size of quarters.
No, your Uggs don’t count. I’m not talking flash in the pan fashions that’ll be gone in a few years, I’m talking a simple grey winter coat that’ll stay in style and last for years. I’m talking about black dress pants or a suit. These things will still be perfectly acceptable to wear in several years, so paying for a quality item that won’t fall apart is worth it.
Personally, I don’t spend a ton of money on accessories. My reasoning for this is that I can easily update my wardrobe by purchasing a few accessories every year that are in style. Since those styles are apt to change in a few years, spending a huge wad of cash on those items wouldn’t really be worth it.
I’ve definitely spent more than a few minutes drooling over a party dress or bathing suit. The truth is though, when it comes to clothing I’m rarely going to wear, I don’t like to spend a lot of money on it. My $15 bathing suit is three years old and looks brand new because I wear it about three times a year. An expensive one wouldn’t look much better at this point. The same goes for that party dress, which, since I’m so frugal, wouldn’t be worn any more often than the bathing suit. For clothing that I don’t often wear, I tend to go for the more economical purchases.
When it comes to buying clothing, everyone is different. Some people might think I’m crazy to even be considering buying expensive clothes, while others are drawn to brand names like a magpie. I try to balance spending as little as possible with buying enough quality items that I don’t have to head back to the store every month to replace clothing that’s no longer wearable. To me, that’s a good balance between frugality and fashion.
I try my best to maintain a minimalist wardrobe. I avoid duplicates, I make sure everything I buy is versatile, and I agonize over purchases to make sure that I’m buying what I really need, and not just something I want.
Due to this, I’ve managed to keep my wardrobe under control this past year, even though I’ve been making more money than ever before and my expenses have never been lower.
That said, every Spring I still go through a little extra preparation to make sure that my wardrobe is up to date and as minimalist and it can be. Here are a few steps I make sure to go through.
Every Spring I take every single item out of my closet and scrutinize it. Does it fit? When was the last time I wore it? If I don’t wear it, why? Do I need to get it altered to make it fit just perfectly? Is it even worth the effort of getting it altered? I make sure to only keep the things I actually wear. This is easier said than done, since I usually want to keep things for sentimental reasons, or because I’ll wear it “someday”. This part requires me to be ruthless with my clothing, but I’ve never yet regretted tossing anything.
Anything that doesn’t make the cut, goes into the donate or trash pile. Most stuff ends up in the donate pile, but since I wear stuff until it’s practically falling apart, a good deal goes into the trash pile as well. Donations typically go to goodwill or the Salvation Army.
Some things are difficult to get rid of. Many people have attachments to their clothing, and I’m no different. I have problems getting rid of the shirts I get for participating in running races. Each shirt holds a lot of emotion and memories for me. The problem is, I have about 10 of these shirts, and it’s just completely unnecessary. I keep a couple to wear around the house while I’m cleaning and doing chores, but the rest need to go.
To combat this, I take pictures of whatever it is I’m having a hard time parting with. That way, I can still keep the image of the item, but I don’t have to have it taking up valuable space in my tiny closet. Sometimes that’s not enough. In those instances, I pack up whatever it is I’m on the fence about, and store it out of the way for six months. If, after six months I haven’t worn it or even thought about wearing it, I’ll feel better about getting rid of it.
After I do a thorough inventory of what I’ve got, I can figure out what I need for the year. Whether it’s a pair of shorts, sandals, maybe a new dress, knowing what I need helps me stick to my rules of maintaining a minimalist wardrobe. It’s a lot harder to make impulse purchases when I have a clear idea of what I need and don’t need in my wardrobe.
Keeping your wardrobe minimalist takes effort throughout the year, but by taking the extra time to go through your wardrobe with a little extra care every Spring, you can streamline the whole process.
|Clothes and hidden shoes|
|Clothes that I try on and don’t like in the mornings|
|Each hanger in my closet has about 5 or 6 things on it|
One of my goals that I listed on Wednesday was to take a picture of my closet. Everything right now is still in my smaller closet, as I haven’t moved everything into my future closet (I want to get it ready first). By the way, I also have clothes in the laundry room, in my dresser and in my bedroom (in baskets).
A lot of you said you couldn’t believe that it could be THAT bad. Take a look at those pictures! It’s a huge mess. I’m ashamed. I promise the rest of my house is not that dirty by the way.
As some of you know, I used to be a manager at a clothing retail store, so that’s where the insanity began. After bringing home hundreds and hundreds worth of dollars of clothes a month from my store alone, this led to me having a huge problem (of course). I used to have a really big shopping problem, but I have definitely toned that down quite a lot.
I don’t wear a lot of the things in my closet. Which is sad. I get tired of things very easily. You’ll also notice that I don’t own a single T-shirt. I’m weird and I think they’re extremely uncomfortable. I also don’t wear jeans a whole lot either. I need to get rid of those.
There are obviously a lot of things that I need to get rid of. I usually bring my clothes up to a local consignment shop every month or 2 because I’m trying to slowly get rid of my clothes. But I think I’m going to try and sell a ton of things today or tomorrow. Do any of you ever sell your clothes to a shop?
My plan is to get rid of more than half of what I have. I’ve already sold some, but not entirely enough.
P.S. I should also mention that I took these pictures this week, and I’ve already sold probably 50 items in the past month.
EDIT: There is now a post on my blog about Maintaining a Minimalist Wardrobe.