As I’ve said, my closet, not too long ago, was filled with turtleneck sweaters and ill-fitting pants. I don’t think I ever looked bad, per se, but I certainly wouldn’t have been considered “fashionable” or “stylish” or “fit to be seen by the outside world”. I was dressed, warm, and comfortable and that’s all that mattered. And, you know, that is still all that matters, with the addition of fashionable or stylish to that list. They’re not mutually exclusive ideas and are actually not difficult to marry. You can be comfortable and stylish, I’ve found, and this has invigorated in me a new love of getting dressed in the morning.
Granted, all this is incredibly easy to do on an unlimited budget, but who has that? If you do, shush. I don’t and I don’t know anyone who does. Funds for extravagances like new clothes is tight for everyone with a house and/or kids and/or bills to pay, but if you’re smart about it, it’s actually quite doable. You just need to be patient.
However you come up with the cash is your business. Choose yourself over unnecessary purchases for your kids for once, make coffee at home instead of Starbucks for a couple of weeks, sell some old stuff on Kijiji. Personally, I asked for gift cards for my birthday and Christmas and spread out my purchases over the course of many months.
I also don’t go for high priced items. I find alternatives I can make work by shopping at discount clothing stores like Winners (which is like Marshall’s), finding versatile basics at places like Walmart (yep) or Zellers (yep yep), and buy only items on sale, usually off the clearance rack. Full price is not in my vocabulary. Those two words put together beside each other like that are terrible curse words.
For example, a while ago on a shopping trip, I spent about $60. At most stores, paying regular price, $60 would get you maybe, maybe, one top. I’ve never paid $60 for a top before in my life, and I’m not about to start now, just because I finally want to look put together. By using one gift card, shopping at Winners and Ardene (a cheap accessories store), buying only sale and clearance items, this was my haul:
A blouse, a dress (that I will be wearing as a long blouse), stirrup tights (to wear under the dress/blouse), two long sleeved t-shirts, a belt, three necklaces, two bracelets, a ring and a pair of earrings.
This is how I shop. It’s not all quality, admittedly, but it’s not bad. One of the t-shirts is Vivienne Tam, MSRP $68. I got it for $11. The dress is a Max C London, MSRP $70. I paid $15. All the jewelry, besides one of the necklaces, was 3 for $10. I mean, not top of the line, high fashion, designer stuff, but still. Good, quality items for much, much less. I only own one thing I’d consider an extravagance and most people would giggle that I think so. My brown boots I bought for myself for my birthday cost about $120, which is the most I’ve spent on one item of apparel before in my life. I just will never understand paying high prices for things that will only be in style for a season or two (or, let’s be honest, I will shrink or ruin in some other way), when I can get these things on the cheap, if I put in the leg work to find them.
I think I may be part of the problem and not the solution. I buy for quantity and variety, instead of investing in quality, timeless pieces.
And all this is moot if you’re rolling in dough. If you’re rolling in dough, I apologize for wasting your time.