Health & Wellness Articles

7 Ways to Build a Stylish Wardrobe on a Budget

Smart Ways to Save Money on New Clothes

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Think those fashion-forward trends are too expensive for your small clothing budget? Think again! You can have champagne taste and still get the wardrobe you want by adopting some smart, budget-friendly shopping tips. These seven dollar-saving tricks will help you get the most bang for your buck while providing you with a fabulously frugal wardrobe.
 
Tip #1:  Skip the Department Store, Spend Online
A lot of the time, shopping online can be a big money saver when it comes to buying new clothing items. If you try something on at the store that you absolutely love, go ahead and jot down the name, brand, style and size then search for the same item online rather than purchasing in-store. The chances are in your favor that you’ll find a better deal online. Signing up for your favorite retailer’s email newsletters will also keep you in the loop as they send you the skinny on sales directly to your inbox (some sales and clearance items are online exclusive, too!). You can save a pretty penny on not just tops, dresses and jeans, but designer shoes and accessories, too.

Tip #2: Scour the Web for Coupon Codes
Whether you’re heading to your favorite clothing store or looking to shop online, browsing the web for coupon codes can save you cash either way. Websites like RetailMeNot.com, KeyCode.com and CouponChief.com can help you find discounts on clothing items plus discounts on shipping (sometimes shipping is free!). You can also do a Google search for coupons on blogs by searching for the store name and the word “discount” or “coupon.” Oftentimes, you can find coupons and discount codes directly on your favorite department store’s website, as well. Just click, print and bring those coupons with you if you plan to shop in-store.

Tip #3:  Spend Less with Social Media
Even if you’re subscribed to your favorite clothing boutique and department store’s e-newsletters, you may not get in on all the good deals unless you follow their Twitter and Facebook pages. Often, small local shops and even larger chain stores post discounts, deals, sales and coupons exclusively for their social media fans and followers. So, click that “Like” or “Follow” button and watch the deals roll in on your social media news feeds.

Tip #4: Grab Basic Wardrobe Essentials, Then Build Upon Them
Everyone should purchase some durable, basic pieces for their wardrobe that they can mix and match then pair up with practically anything. A wardrobe that contains certain pieces will help you keep more cash in your pocket each season--you’ll already have your tops, skirts and jeans no matter what! Fill your closet with classic, solid colors, neutrals, a little black dress and some dark denim. Then, whenever the seasons change, shop for some new trendy accessories, jackets and shoes to add some fun, sophistication or pops of color to your classic wardrobe. Read more about the fashion essentials every woman should own.
 
Tip #5: Know the Right Times to Buy
Did you know that the best day of the week to buy dress pants online is Monday? This is a fact according to ShopItToMe.com, a San Francisco market analysis company that analyzes over 750,000 on-sale clothing items each year from 200-plus online retailers. The company says that on Tuesdays, you can save more than 40 percent on men’s apparel. And Wednesdays are perfect if you want a great deal on some shoes! Fridays are good for accessories. So, what’s the absolute best day of the year to buy all types of clothing? The day after Christmas--December 26. So, snag some good sales and deals yourself thanks to all of those returns on unwanted gifts!
 
Tip #6: Reap the Rewards with Rewards Cards
Sometimes your favorite clothing retailers will offer you customer rewards cards--and this isn’t something you should shy away from. Unlike store credit cards, these customer rewards cards offer discounts and deals without charging a credit account. Instead, each time you shop at a store offering a rewards card, the store clerk will swipe your card which will then add points to your “customer account.” Once you rack up enough points, you will be offered exclusive deals and percentages off clothing and accessories. Sometimes, you can even redeem these points same-day rather than having to wait until your next visit.
 
Tip #7: Rent Your Dress
Need a fancy dress for that ritzy work holiday party or that big, formal family wedding? Well, you don’t have to go broke to look fabulous for just one night, darling! As the number of online clothing rental services increase, you can now easily stay within your budget while wearing the most beautiful designer dress. I mean, are you really going to wear that $750 dress more than once? Rent it for $50 or $75 instead, then send it back! Not only are online clothing rental services an affordable alternative for purchasing expensive clothing items that will likely hang in your closet collecting dust, they’re also incredibly convenient. Some good websites to try are RentTheRunway.com for all types of high-end clothing items, and Bag Borrow or Steal for luxury bags and accessories.
 
Now that you’re equipped with the right tips to save money on clothes, keep in mind that the way you care for your clothing items can either extend their lives or cut them short. Make your wardrobe last years longer by washing clothes on the gentle cycle and in cold water whenever possible, skip the dryer (it can shrink fabric, fade colors and deteriorate clothing fibers), treat stains as soon as you notice a spill or spot and store your clothing properly. And if you need yet another reason to maintain a healthy weight, making sure that you don’t outgrow your clothes is a good way to stay healthy and save money every season.
 

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Member Comments

  • I also shop thrift stores. I refuse to buy a lot of clothing til I get to my desired weight
  • I also shop thrift stores. I refuse to buy a lot of clothing til I get to my desired weight
  • Won't need new clothes if I'm fitting back into my old classic pieces.
  • Learn a bit of tailoring -- it's surprising how much better a cheap piece of clothing looks if it has some tailoring to make it fit you. Hems on pants are one example.
  • I was surprised this was so online focused. I don't mind shopping online, but clothes get tricky. My mom has given me countless clothing she's bought online, tried on, and it didn't fit her well at all (luckily most of them work for my shape). Returning them costs shipping and it's a pain. I prefer to be able to try something on before buying. What if the neckline scoops way low, or the pants end up being too short? It seems like more of a waste than a savings.

    Having said that, I'm all on board with the thrift stores. I also buy a lot of clothes off-season. I got a pair of jeans for $4 at the start of last summer, at a department store!
  • I'll second the recommendation to check consignment shops and thrift stores. I found a long London Fog trench coat with removable liner for $17. My husband found one for $8. Can't beat that!
  • My #1 regarding wardrobe enhancement: make friends with your local thrift shop and the consignment shops. I have found wonderful clothes...designe
    r labels!

    When I began my weight loss journey, my clothes were baggy, and I didn't want to spend big money on transitional clothes. Finding the local thrift shop was great. As I lost more weight, I brought the too-big items back to thrift shop for someone else, and I got small items. It's a win-win situation.
  • Not mentioned were high-end thrift and consignment shops. Last season's styles can be picked up for a steal.

About The Author

Natalie Nichols Natalie Nichols
Natalie lost nearly 30 pounds the SparkPeople way before becoming a health and beauty contributor to the site. A self-proclaimed "girly girl," Natalie couldn't bear to break a sweat when she was younger, but now can't imagine living a life without exercise. In her spare time she practices yoga, enjoys cooking and stays involved in her community. Leading by example, she hopes to inspire others to live healthier and happier lifestyles, too.

Say hi to Natalie on Twitter.