Posts Tagged Clothes

When to spend: Quality versus cheap clothing

A key tenant of spending wisely is to know value. A $1 item that will last a month is less valuable than a $5 item that will last a year. Smart shoppers know that spending more and buying better quality is often a better deal than the cheapest item on the shelf.

But unless you’re very, very wealthy, you simply cannot afford to buy the absolute best of everything. Being frugal where you can and investing in things that will last you a long time and save you money, time, or your health in the long run is the wisest way to spend, but it can be hard to tell when you should invest and when you should cheap out.

Here’s my personal guide to wardrobe-related saving and spending, assembled after wasting a lot of money in the wrong places.

Save on Glasses

There are online glasses retailers where you can buy glasses for $10-$20. These are the same quality as brick and mortar optical stores’ wares but cost a tenth of the price. At this point, paying $100-$300 for prescription glasses or sunglasses is just nuts.

There is also no need to buy name brand glasses. No one will be able to read the tiny brand name or tell if your glasses cost $5 or $500.

Also, in recent years, the online try-on functions at these sites have become very advanced and there are tons of reviews of individual websites online that will help guide you to the cheapest, best specs.

Spend on work clothing

As someone who works in a professional office environment, I long ago learned to spend a little more per item in stores that sold higher quality items versus buying a large wardrobe of “throwaway” pieces that will only be able to be worn a few times before looking tattered.

Despite the single-digit price tag, stores like Forever21 and Zara are not your friends.

To keep costs down overall, I recommend a capsule-style wardrobe filled with better quality clothing that will look good, feel good and last, saving you money in the long run.

My best trick for high-quality on a small budget is to shop exclusively on sale and clearance during clear-out times for stores like black Friday and at the end of Summer. When shopping online, search for and stack coupons on top of sale events and watch for hidden shipping costs when calculating your total price.

Save on workout wear

Undershirts, layering shirts, workout clothing and other items that will get sweaty, nasty or not be seen can be bought more inexpensively because the aren’t going to last you as long. While office clothing might be able to be worn for years, workout clothing is often only good for a season. Consider cost per use in this matter and save your money.

Spend on footwear

Life is just too short to walk around with your feet hurting.

Shoes are pretty much the only category I’ll favor proven brands over generics. Some people have no problem wearing cheap shoes, but for mine I need arch support, padding, leather that will mold to my feet, get more comfortable with each wear and stand up to the elements. Too long did I limp around, blistered, in cheap, flimsy Payless flats as a young reporter only to have them fall apart every few months.

Now I buy quality shoes and only have a handful of pairs.

Partially as an experiment and partially because they were expensive, I wore one pair of brown Clarks boots 5-6 days a week for 8 months straight.

Not only did no one in my office notice that I only wore one pair of shoes, when I told them, they were impressed that they lasted that long.

The boots originally cost around $130 on the Clarks website, but the ones I bought were the previous season’s design (the current season’s design was the same shoe with a couple buckles.) To save money, I scoured Ebay for boots from previous years (I swear I don’t miss the buckles), and ended up getting a brand new pair for $70.

It was a lot to spend on one pair of shoes for me, but I’ve now had them for 2+ years, I still wear them several times a week and they look nearly new.

Quality shoes will last a long time. My cost-per-use for these boots is less than pennies per wear at this point. Invest in your feet.

For sneakers, I search Amazon for my preferred brand and size, and grab shoes in unpopular colors for a fraction of the price of the same shoes with different hues.

Save on costume jewelry and seasonal accessories

If you’re a jewelry minimalist and only wear a single necklace and/or earrings everyday, absolutely invest a little in good, long lasting metals and stones.

BUT, if you like to accessorize different outfits with colorful costume jewelry and scarves, absolutely don’t spend your whole paycheck on those items.

Baubles like these can so often be picked up at garage sales in nearly new condition or on highly discounted clearance as the seasons change at department and regular stores.

Statement jewelry goes in and out of fashion quickly and is more easily tired of than its simple, minimal counterpart.

It’s cost-per-wear will also be higher as that type of jewelry won’t be able to be worn with as much of your wardrobe.

Your Turn!

  • What do you spend more money on in your wardrobe and what do you save on?
  • What other subjects would you like us to do a “When to Spend” article on?

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Minimalism and Shopping: Questions to Ask Before Buying

After the decluttering and the clearing out, I started to feel like such a pro minimalist. But soon the day will come when you need to buy something – and this sent me into a panic mode at first. Could I go to Target and buy only soap? It took a long process of trial and error, but these are the questions I now ask myself to consider with minimalism and shopping.

1. Is this a planned or spontaneous purchase?

I only buy things that I’ve been considering for some time. This means that I’ve thought about purchasing and already considered whether or not it was a necessary purchase. A lot of the time, I will think about buying something for a couple of weeks, and then at the end of this time, decide that it’s actually not something that I need. This process is super helpful for me, as I used to be a very spontaneous shopper (and addicted to Target). It also helped me learn how to start living a minimalist lifestyle.

Minimalism and Shopping

2. Is there something else I could use instead?

This question has actually prevented me from purchasing things that I’d wanted and thought about but didn’t actually need. I now buy primarily multi-use products, or turn my products into multi-use products. For example, I used to use separate products for my face and body. Now, I try to use the same soap for my face and body (preferably a bar soap as they last longer), and I use the same moisturizer all around as well. I have even moved into using products that can go further than this; I’m currently trying out oils as moisturizers, because they can also moisturize my hair (and knock out the need for a hair serum!).

3. Will I use this until it expires?

I’ve bought many a product that I had not planned to use to it’s fullest potential. Before minimalism, this was mostly fast fashion – cheap jewelry from forever 21 that would stain my fingers green after a week, tank tops that would fall apart after a couple of washes. But even after transitioning into minimalism, I would purchase things that I might only need for a short time.

Minimalism and Shopping

The best example here is the multiple types of coffee makers I (used to) own. I travel the world full time; I live out of a backpack. I definitely don’t need to be carrying around more than one coffee maker, but at one point I was carting around a French press, a cone filter (complete with a pack of 100 filters), and a plastic reusable Tupperware container full of coffee. I do love a good cup of coffee, but even to me, that is over the top. Since this ridiculous incident, I’ve removed all of these items from my backpack and now just use the coffee maker that is available to me (also trying to quit the daily coffee habit, so I don’t have to rely on anything).

These are the three questions that have helped me avoid lots of unnecessary purchases, and have assisted me so much in my journey to minimalist shopping.

Your Turn!

  • What secrets do you have for avoiding unnecessary purchases?

Video Tour Of My Tiny House Clothes Closet

A while back I switched to a what effectively is a uniform, I don’t like the connotation that brings, but essentially I wear the same thing everyday.  Each day I reach into my dresser and pull out a gray shirt, a white undershirt, socks and underwear; all of which are standardized.

I didn’t start out doing this for this reason, but since starting a lot of articles came out about how people are switching to simplified wardrobes.  Notably some people who are constantly in the spotlight and you’d think would be concerned about being seen in the same thing.  Below are Mark Zuckerberg, Barack Obama, and Steve Jobs.

simplified

The main reason why people opt for a simplified wardrobe is because it’s one less decision they have to make.  There is a well known phenomena called Decision Fatigue

Decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making.

It may seem silly that people don’t pick out their clothes, but when you have to make a lot of big decisions in a day, each decision you make, reduces your ability to make good choices.  Also if you’re worried about the clothes you are wearing it can distract you.

All this is to say, figure out what your wardrobe needs to do for you.  Here is the video of my wardrobe.

 

 

Your Turn!

  • What’s does your wardrobe say about your choices?
  • How have you minimized your clothes?

Minimalism and Uniforms: How Capsule Wardrobes Can Enhance Your Life

Creating a capsule wardrobe and uniform has given me so much more time, freedom, and saved me tons of money. Taking minimalism to the closet can really pay off in more ways than one. Here are four benefits of creating a uniform.

minimalism uniform

1. You Don’t Have to Think About What to Wear in the Mornings

Gone are the days of pulling your hair out in front of your closet, because you have so many clothes but nothing to wear! Creating a uniform simplifies your morning routine in such a powerful way. You’ll wake up every day knowing exactly what you are going to wear – and it will be a uniform that makes you feel comfortable, confident, and powerful.

My uniform is black jeans and a basic black top. If I’m in a warmer climate, I’ll wear a black tank top and a pair of jean shorts. No matter what I am doing, my morning is easy because I already know what I’ll wear that day.

2. Shopping Becomes So Easy

minimalism uniform capsule wardrobeWhen you are working with a uniform, you’ll know when you need new clothes and when you don’t. I know that I don’t need clothes, because I have enough shirts to last me for the week, until it’s time to do laundry. All of my clothes are in good condition and don’t need repair.

When my shirts start to get holes in them, or my jeans rip in unflattering places, then it’s time to get a new pair of jeans or a new tank top. Even then, I will go to the store and buy simply that – one pair of perfect jeans, or one black tank top. The uniform prevents me from mindless shopping and saves me so much time and money.

3. You’ll Save Money

Because you won’t be mindlessly shopping, you’ll be automatically saving money by not buying unnecessary clothing. Creating and using a uniform makes life so simple. Uniforms prevent impulse purchasing. Pre-uniform, I used to spend at least two weekends at the mall, feeling like I needed some new clothes because I had nothing to wear (though I already had a ton of clothes). I would wander aimlessly until I found something I liked, then buy it, not thinking about whether it would go with anything else in my wardrobe, how often I could wear it, etc. Now, I don’t go to a store to buy clothes unless I actually need something – and now, that is not very often at all.

minimalism uniform

4. You’ll Look Put Together

By creating a uniform that fits well and looks good, you’ll be easily getting dressed in the morning and looking pulled together daily. The uniform is curated for the individual, meaning that you choose what works best for you, on your body and within your budget. In the capsule wardrobe, all of your clothes will match and go together seamlessly.

This was just four of the many benefits of capsule wardrobes and creating a uniform.

Your Turn!

  • Would you try a capsule wardrobe or uniform?
  • What would be your ideal uniform?

How To Build A Capsule Wardrobe

Capsule wardrobes are all the rage in the minimalist movement at the moment. A capsule wardrobe includes a set amount of clothes for each season. This means that you have a box of clothes for summer, a box for winter, a box for fall and a box for autumn. If you’d like to become ultra-minimal, you can condense these into fall and winter in one box, and spring and summer in the other box.

The amount of clothes you choose to have is up to you, but the idea behind a capsule wardrobe is to create a small wardrobe in which you can mix and match numerous ways. Creating your capsule wardrobe will take a tiny bit of work and a little bit of thinking.

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe

Why Should You Consider a Capsule Wardrobe?

Creating a capsule wardrobe will simplify your mornings, save so much stress of figuring out what to wear, and keep your home clean and tidy. Getting dressed in the morning will become so much simpler, because your closet will have less clothes, and you will love all of them. You’ll no longer have to rifle through shirts that don’t fit or pants that are unflattering.

Things to consider as you build your capsule wardrobe:

1.What are your favorite neutrals?

Neutrals are the easiest to mix and match. My capsule wardrobe is filled with different styles of mostly black shirts, with one white shirt thrown in, and a green dress. I like to wear jeans most of the time, either in pants or shorts form, so any of my tops go with any of my shorts/pants. It is important to make sure all of your clothes can match with any bottoms – this gives you so many more options. For this reason, I tend to stay away from prints, and go for solid tops and bottoms.

2. What styles suit you best?

This is something that I learned mainly through trial and error. I love wearing tank tops and think that they are universally flattering. However, there are some styles that just don’t work on me. Though crop tops are super trendy, I don’t own any because I just don’t like the way they look on me. When building a capsule wardrobe, take into consideration what you prefer, not what is on trend.

 

3. What kind of clothes suit your lifestyle?

How to build a capsule wardrobeIn terms of styles, make sure that you aren’t just thinking about what looks and feels good on you, but also what will best suit your lifestyle. For example, if you work in a corporate job, most of your clothes should be workplace appropriate. If you work from home, you’ll have a bit more freedom in this area, but make sure you include clothes in your capsule wardrobe that will work for any occasion that you may need.

4. What do you do for fun?

It’s important to make sure you include clothes in your capsule wardrobe that you can wear on your occasional weekend event. I like to keep something that can be dressed up or down for this, like a simple black dress. That way you can still wear it in your everyday life, but dress it up a bit more if you need to. I like to have two options for events, so that I am not always wearing the same thing out. If you go to events often, it may be better to keep more options in your wardrobe that can be dressed up.

5. What do you most often wear?

In building a capsule wardrobe, I like to think about what I prefer to wear most of the time. I built my capsule wardrobe around my “uniform,” aka my most loved outfit. Because I prefer to live in warm environments, my “uniform” is shorts and a tank top. I own two pairs of shorts and about five shirts, all of which I can mix and match. Getting dressed in the morning could not be easier, since all I have to do is grab a pair of shorts and a tank top.

how to build a capsule wardrobe

How To Build A Capsule Wardrobe

When I’m creating my capsule wardrobe, the first thing I focus on is what I wear most often already. I like to keep my outfits super simple, mainly focusing on black tops and jean or khaki bottoms. This works well for me because everything matches. To make my life as easy as possible, I just have a couple shirts in my favorite style (black tank tops), and a few black shirts in different styles – short sleeve, 3/4 sleeve, and one black and white striped top. I wear all of my clothes often, and I can pick any top to go with any bottom.

To create your own capsule wardrobe, think about what you already wear and what you need for your lifestyle. Put together a simple list of items that you can wear regularly and create a set of clothes that all work together.

Building a capsule wardrobe will simplify your morning routine. By spending less time and energy focusing on what you are going to wear that day, you’ll have more energy to focus on more important things.

Your Turn!

  • Do you have a capsule wardrobe?
  • Do you think a capsule wardrobe would suit your lifestyle?