Budget clothes shopping: how to keep them guessing
It’s no big, bloody secret. Most people have been doing it tough in the finance department over the past three or more years.
Even if you’re not fond of wearing belts, they’ve been tightened so far that you’ve had to punch another three holes in the end of them.
As someone who not only looks shocking in a belt (damn short waist) but also has a penchant for new clothes AND calls herself a stylist, this has posed an incy, wincy challenge for moi.
But boy oh boy do I love a challenge. Yes, I do.
ESPECIALLY when it involves buying clothes. Give me any budget and I’ll work with it.
I got to thinking. Maybe you’d like to know some of my budget clothes shopping secrets. I’m not talking vintage shopping here (that’s a whole other post). I’m talking budget shopping from discount department stores, supermarkets and chain stores.
These stores are a goldmine for a stylish girl on a budget. You just have to have your fashion wits about you.
My 7 steps to striking budget fashion gold
1. Be prepared. Subscribe to your favourite stores’ websites and /or catalogues. Trust me, if there is something that takes your eye in a catalogue, you can bet that it’s taken other people’s as well (figuratively speaking or NOT if you get into a tussle over a bargain pair of shoes). Get in store the first day the catalogue launches to avoid disappointment.
2. Keep your mind open. The merchandising is hardly likely to “sell” you a look like you would see in a boutique or designer store. This is not about the in-store experience. Yes, you will probably be able to find someone to help you if you need them but they will not come up to you and ask you if you’re happy browsing or suggest you try another style instead.
3. You need to make time to do good combing. The right pieces are not going to leap out at you and say, “look at me, I could make your wardrobe complete”, mainly because clothes can’t talk but also mainly because there are a lot of clothes on the racks. You need to focus on each rack. And each style in each rack.
4. Feel the clothes. This is a biggie. Are you good at being able to tell if something looks cheap? This is such a good skill to hone. Some designer clothes can look cheap even though they’re not. And some budget clothes can look expensive when they’re definitely not. Is the knit fabric quite weighty? Does it feel good in your hands? Do the jeans you’re looking at feel like they’ve got a good weight to them.
5. Try the clothes on. No excuses on this one (except if your Coles store doesn’t have a change room for its Mix Apparel range as yet … then you’ll have to “guess” and vow to return the clothes should they be a disaster). How is the fit? Do you find yourself pulling and stretching at bits to make it look better? If that’s the case, step away and find something else. An ill-fitted garment looks cheap no matter how much you’ve paid for it.
6. Basics to stock up on: tees, long-sleeve tees. These are your wardrobe building block friends. If a tee is $5-10, you may be able to afford to buy more of them, which means you can layer two of them together to instantly create a look that has more interest. And doesn’t look cheap.
7. Bits to have fun with: on-trend shoes, accessories, scarves, bags. If you’re wanting a quick wardrobe update but worried those electric blue platformed heels will be out of season before you even get a chance to wear them, don’t spend so much money on them in the first place.
My number one rule of clothes buying – budget or otherwise:
You have to LOVE it. If there isn’t a spark in your eyes in the change room, then walk away from the purchase. It’s not a bargain if it doesn’t make you feel fabulous. Got it?
Here are some clothes bargains I’m loving right now:
Do you have any tips for sniffing out a bargain clothes purchase? What have you picked up lately that you’d like to share with us all?Main photo: Emerson coloured jeans, Big W