After spending much of my life as a frugal fashionista, I wanted to share a few frugal fashion tips and tricks that I’ve picked up over the years.
Believe it or not, it is totally possible to embrace both fashion and frugality. These 10 tips can help you do just that!
1. Limit Yourself to Two Purses (Yes, only two!)
Have one purse for Fall/Winter and one purse for Spring/ Summer. This way, you only have to change over purses two times per year. It will save you a ton of time, and help you avoid cluttering up your closet with purses that aren’t quite right for you.
Make sure you know what features you want in your ideal purse: size, zip/snap, strap length, what kind of inside pockets you like, etc. Stick to those traits on any purse purchase. This keeps you from making impulse buys that you’ll later regret.
2. Build a Mix and Match Wardrobe
Invest in good quality, washable, solid colored separates that are easily mixed and matched. I find JC Penneys, Old Navy, Kohls, H&M, and Cato are good sources. I do buy some of my wardrobe staples used on thredUP, which saves me a lot of money.
To shop on there successfully, make sure you know your sizes and what it is that you’re looking for specifically. You can get some brand new or very gently used wardrobe staples for less on thredUP. It’s also a good place to send clothes and earn money back once you decide to declutter your closet.
3. Know your Big 3 – 5
Ask yourself which stores you’ve had the best luck in over the past year. Try to narrow it down to 3-5 stores. Then, stick to those main vendors. Mine are: Kohls, Old Navy, Walmart, Karma Resale Shop, and Cato. But, I do make a special trip once every quarter to H&M/JC Penneys.
To save time, consider doing some advanced scouting online as most of these stores have websites. When you see something you love online, you can then zero in on those certain items when visiting the store and less time is wasted.
You can also look specifically for clothes from these retailers or brands carried by these retailers when you shop on thredUP.
4. Don’t be Shy!
If you see a woman whose sense of fashion you admire, ask her where she got that particular piece. Or, a more general question might be, “What’s you go to source for work clothes?”
She may have a favorite store you’ve never tried before. It’s worth a look in case it becomes one of your new favorites.
5. Make a “Want List”
Keep a list of clothing items you are thinking of acquiring on a sticky note. I keep mine at eye-level next to my closet. This “want list” will help you keep track of things you should look for on your next shopping trip.
By writing them down, you might also find that you don’t actually need or want some of those items a few weeks later when it’s time for your next shopping trip. The mere act of writing it down turns your brain into a heat-seeking missile and soon enough you will find what you need at the right price.
6. It’s OK to Splurge Occasionally
Sometimes it’s ok to splurge, especially if it’s on an item you know you’ll get use out of for a long time. Such as the time when I spent three digits on a purse.
I typically like to spend less than $50 (hopefully $25 or less) on any given piece. But, sometimes it worth it to go to three digits. This could be for things like a designer purse, a business suit, or a pair of real leather riding boots. All items you know you will wear again and again, and that will last at least a decade.
7. Know What Looks Good on You
Pay attention to what’s already in your closet. What are you drawn to in terms of color, cut, solid vs. patterned, etc.
Back in the 1980’s there was a concept known as “Color Me Beautiful” in which you were rated as a “Spring”, “Summer”, “Fall”, or “Winter” depending on your hair color and skin tone. Find out what season you are!
Knowing what you like, what looks good, and what makes you feel good will keep you from wasting money on clothes that aren’t flattering.
8. It’s OK to Buy Placeholders
For instance, I really wanted to buy some riding boots. But, I didn’t have the money saved up to pay for a pair of real leather riding boots as they are quite costly.
Instead, I found an imitation leather pair at Kohls. I really do wear them quite a bit. Now, I know that saving up and paying big bucks for a real leather pair will be a smart investment in my wardrobe. So, I set a savings goal to buy a real leather pair this fall.
9. Check the Clearance Rack at Every Store
Checking the clearance rack is a great way to save money on clothes. But, if you struggle with impulse buys, you might think you should avoid it, especially if “good deals” are your weakness. To limit impulse buys, keep in mind the “want list” you have posted by your closet door, and what items you know would look good on you.
10. Make the Leap from Goodwill to a Resale Shop
Yes, I used to go to thrift shops exclusively. But once I discovered resale shops and clothing exchanges I was hooked.
While you will pay more per piece at resale shops, I find it less overwhelming than thrift stores. Therefore I can whiz in for a quick 20-30 minute browse and usually strike gold. As a busy mom of two, I don’t have as much time to shop as I used to.
It is my belief that how we look on the outside affects how we feel about ourselves on the inside. Looking good makes us feel good! I hope these tips and tricks are helpful to you in your frugal fashion journey. Remember, you’re beautiful!
What are your frugal fashion tips?
Hi there! I’m Val from Fast Frugal Fashion and I’ve picked up these frugal fashion tips after years of shopping frugally. Check out my blog for more frugal fashion advice!