A Thrifty Guide To Style

Having a lot of money to spend on clothes, shoes and accessories can be helpful when it comes to looking and feeling your best. But, it is far from essential. In fact, there’s no need to shell out a fortune on high-end clothing all the time, and with a little ingenuity, you can make your money work a lot harder for you when it comes to fashion and style.

Not to mention the environmental impact of consumerism and fast fashion.  In fact, in Australia, where we now send 85% of the textiles we buy to landfill every year. In fact, Australia is second-largest consumer of new textiles after the US, averaging 27 kilograms of new textiles per annum. We buy it, wear it once or twice, it’s gone out of shape/shrunk, get sick of it—or realise it’s gone out of fashion—and bin it only to begin the cycle all over again. Not good, is it?

I’m going to go through a few simple ideas with you today, to help you achieve a great look – without the cost, most people would have to attach. Read on to find out more!

Spend more on less

First of all, we’re not talking about limiting yourself to the cheap stores, here. In fact, it’s OK to spend good money on high-quality clothing, for the simple fact that buying cheap, fast fashion is a false economy. Compare a well-made coat or pair of jeans – if you focus on classic cuts they should last you for years – with the t-shirts you pick up at budget clothing stores. The cheap, poorly made materials won’t last 3-4 washes before they start to lose their shape, and you’ll end up having to go back and buy more to replace them. It makes far more sense to invest in a few quality pieces that will actually last you for several years.

Sell what you don’t need.

If you have clothes in your wardrobe that you haven’t worn for more than a year, you have to ask yourself if you will ever wear them again. The chances are, you won’t, so why on earth are you keeping them? Get rid as soon as possible, both for clearing out your closet space and also making some money to put towards more suitable clothes. If your old items are in good shape, you can sell them on places like eBay. If you can sell enough, it could contribute a reasonable amount – between 30-50 percent, for example – towards your next purchase, which is a fantastic discount.

Shop out of season

As you will probably know, clothing stores sell their lines as the new season approaches. Then, as the A/W or S/S ends, they start putting everything out on sale, to create room for the new clothes they get for the next season. The discounts you pick up in these sales can be quite significant, and it’s well worth buying ahead to ensure you never pay full-price. So, at the end of the spring-summer season, you buy next summer’s new clothes at a knockdown price. If you do use this approach, however, be careful to focus on classic cuts, rather than picking up trendy items, which may not last the distance and look dated by the time their season comes around again.

Trends are not friends.

While we are on the subject of trends, avoid them wherever possible. What is hot one year can quickly look terrible the next, and ultimately if you buy current gear, it won’t have the legs to prove good value. The chances are that no one will be interested in buying it once it has started dating. Again, classic cuts and timeless style are what you should be looking for.

Look after your clothes.

You would be surprised how few people actually look after their clothes properly. Your best pieces need to be cared for, treated with respect, and cleaned in the right way if you want them to last, and, therefore, save you money. Always read the label and follow the washing instructions to a tee, with no exceptions. Hang your clothes, too – and stop tossing them on the floor when you go to bed at night. Don’t forget, the more times you wash your clothes, the more worn and tatty they will look, so it’s essential only to clean them when necessary. If you are always throwing them in a pile, you will end up washing them more than needs be.

Know. Your. Size.

A surprising number of people aren’t aware of their own dimensions, and the result is that a lot of folks end up wasting money on clothes that will never fit. If you want to make every purchase count, it is imperative to know your size. Use a proper fabric tape measure, or even pay a visit to your local tailor for advice. Once you know your exact size – and shape – you will be able to start collating details on the brands and cuts that suit you best, and the dimensions that fit. It’s probably the best thing you can do to stop wasting money on unnecessary or unflattering clothing – so get it done asap!


Visit charity shops

Charity stores are fantastic for picking up bargains, as long as you put aside some time to scour the racks properly. Again, knowing your real size will help, as you can instantly discount everything that won’t fit. Another top tip for charity store shopping is to head to the wealthier districts of your town or city. You will be surprised at the incredible items people throw out just because they are buying an entirely new wardrobe, and if you can build up a relationship with the store staff, they might even hold things back for you.

Focus on quality jewellery

When it comes to accessorising, jewellery will play an essential role in your overall look. But again, it’s important to focus on high-quality materials rather than quantity of rings, necklaces and bracelets. Take Sterling silver, for example. If you discover more about this high-grade silver, you’ll find that it is a lot more durable and retains its shine for longer than a plated alternative, which will end up needing constant replacement as it breaks and loses its sparkle. It’s also worth pointing out that Sterling silver is a lot less expensive than gold or platinum, so it’s a good choice for anyone looking for high quality on a budget.

Shop in the men’s department

Retailers, clothes manufacturers and designers all know one thing: women are more likely to pay a higher ticket price than men for their clothes. The percentage difference between similar items can vary, but ultimately if you want to get the basics – such as tees, vests, and sweatshirts – you’ll almost always find them cheaper in the men’s department.

Buy kid’s shoes

If you are lucky enough to have tiny, dainty feet, you’ll never have to pay full price for a pair of shoes again. While the kid’s shoe section can be a little low on choice, there’s no denying that there is a lot of hard-wearing, durable quality on offer.

Learn to stitch

In times gone by, no one ever threw away clothes – they were just repaired. But in this somewhat disposable society, things have changed for the worst, and whether it’s a hole in a sock or a rip in a pair of jeans, the standard practice is to toss them away, or, at best, put them in a clothing bank for someone else to fix. But it needn’t be like this. You can buy a needle and thread for a few cents, and it could save you thousands of dollars over the years – and it will even help you save the planet! It might not seem like it, but a few holey socks per household all over the country means contributing to a lot more to landfill, which is fast becoming a major problem in almost every country in the world.

Play the outlet game

Outlet stores are, on the face of things, fantastic places to pick up some serious bargains. But be wary what you are looking for, and don’t be fooled into thinking that everything is high quality for a knockdown price. Some major clothing brands even create clothes specifically for outlet stores, so you won’t always get the high-quality craftsmanship you would typically expect. That said, if you go regularly and are prepared to spend an hour or so going through the racks, you will be amazed at some of the staple pieces you can pick up for relative peanuts.

Buy outfits, not separates.

One of the big reasons why we all waste so much money on clothes is that we see a beautiful blouse or dress and act on impulse. But when we bring it home, we realise it doesn’t match anything else we have, and the shop-loved item becomes a home-hated cast-off. Instead, always think about shopping for outfits, not separates. You will spend more per purchase, of course, but you will also find that you get a lot more wear and value out of your clothing.

Avoid retail therapy

Finally, always remember that shopping when you are feeling down or lacking in self-esteem almost always ends in wasting money. Sure, you might get a little high about buying an entirely new closet, but you need to shop in a savvy state if you want to save money.

Do you have any tips to add? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?

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