Tips on How to Maximize your Wardrobe Investment by Making your Clothing Last Longer
For the budget conscious and when considering your wardrobe investment, consumers should purchase their clothing, with a focus on “price per wear” vs “purchase price”. For example, if you wear a ‘bargain’ blouse you bought on sale for $50 only once or twice versus your “go to” blouse which you paid full price for at $200 and wear it say 50 times – which is the real value? I like to think of clothing pieces as serving a function, to clothe people each day in the most effective way and for the least cost. A budget-conscious woman typically would rather fill their closet with pieces that average $4/wear vs $25/wear every day of the week.
The longer a piece lasts the further your dollar stretches because you’re not having to purchase replacement pieces as often. That’s not to say that you should avoid clearance racks, but just be selective and don’t get caught up in “saving” money. The only money that hits your savings account is an actual saving. I recommend that as a measuring stick of whether to buy a ‘bargain’ or not: only buy pieces that you’d purchase at full price anyway – then you can’t go wrong!
Create a coordinating wardrobe of mix and match items rather than buying in outfits.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in a beautiful ensemble and buy an outfit without thinking about how it may work with other pieces in your wardrobe. I know I’ve been guilty of it. Doing this occasionally is fine, but if it’s your “system”, it will cost you a lot more money and closet space to have an entire working wardrobe. Instead, I encourage my clients to buy ‘wow’, statement pieces or even entire outfits that will coordinate back to the remainder of their existing wardrobe (built around capsules of color) so that you can create numerous combinations of outfits. For every base piece (pants, skirt, shorts) you have in your closet, aim to have 3 – 5 top combinations that go with it as a minimum.
The closer you approach 10 combinations per base piece, the more effectively you manage your wardrobe. Think about it, if you wore the same pair of black pants every day, would anyone notice? Now, wear the same blouse, sweater, or suit jacket every day… people are likely to take note!
Rotate your wardrobe on a regular basis.
I just spoke above about wearing the same pair of pants every day, but please do not confuse that as a suggestion. In fact, I would recommend that if you have a favorite pair of pants you just love and could live in every day to actually purchase multiples of the exact same pair of pants. For example, I own 4 pairs of black ‘Miracle Pants’ from Doncaster that I just live in! The consistent look works (as I mentioned above) but wearing items too often back to back puts excessive wear on them. Your clothing and shoes need time to rest – for the fabric (or leather) to retreat back to their natural state before they are worn again. Ironically, wearing 1 pair of pants say 5 days in a row will wear out faster than that same pair of pants worn 5 times over the next month.
So, if you want to maximize your wardrobe investment and have your pieces last longer, rotate them in your closet. Also, if you purchase a matching suit, remember that the base piece (pants or skirt) will receive twice the stress that the jacket receives – so if you want the two pieces to stretch further together, change up the jacket with other base pieces too before wearing it once again with its matching base.
J. Lee, the founder of Strategically You, empowers women by leading image and wardrobe coaching programs for women who want to craft their own authentic signature style and build a wardrobe that supports them rather than work against them by learning the industry insider techniques; the timeless principles of image, style, and wardrobe mastery; and the best ways to shave off hours of shopping time and thousands of dollars when stocking their closet.
J. Lee is based in Austin, TX, but works with women throughout the United States – offering in-personal and virtual programs, workshops, and conferences. You can connect with her on the Web, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.