Shopping on a Budget – Part 1; Spring and Summer

Now that Winter is over, we all look at our closet and wonder: “Is this all old-fashioned? “or “If only I could get a wardrobe overhaul and start again.”. Well, the answers are- probably –“Yes”, and “Well – you can, but it will take some forethought.” Your second-rate salary needn’t hold you back from improving your wardrobe. You just need to learn how to shop for a new wardrobe on a budget. And to do that, we first need to destroy some of your false beliefs.

Looking for a new suit and all of the matching accoutrements that go with it, from cool shirts, shoes and belts looks expensive when you look at shop windows. It appears to be at least a few hundred dollars out of your pocket, and that’s just for one outfit – one that will be out of date, style, or not seasonal enough in 6 months.

Well, look at your wardrobe from a seasonal point of view. When do you wear your most variety of clothes? For me, it’s the summer: Polo shirts, short sleeved ‘Hawaiian’-style shirts, jeans, shorts, the list of clothes I wear in the spring and summer months vastly outweigh the ones I wear for fall and winter. Even if you feel you need a couple of jackets for the warmer months, these are only one or two.

After all, winter may be ‘party season’, but most of the time you are inside the house, so if you are wearing clothes for yourself, you can wear all of the old favourites you like!

Concentrate on emptying your wardrobe for your busiest season of public wear and dry clean, wash, and repair the winter wardrobe for now. Your local tailor will help you with alterations and re-sizing. As we are going to move into Spring, now, let’s start there.

Now, let’s look at that ‘lightweight’ wardrobe. What is dead, old, stained or just plain unwearable? OK, let’s get rid of it: Donate, junk, whatever, let’s create some space: Now you have less clothes, but what you have left works for you, so you have a ‘base wardrobe’ that you can work with. All you have to do, now, is add to it. Mix and match what you have already with some new pieces that work for the season.

In fact, you may just need some new chinos and jeans, matching shoes/runners/deck shoes and a handful of new t-shirts, casual shirts and other sport-type tops. All of these can be bought at sales from various retailers, and you can get e-mailed warnings of sales coming up at these chains in your area. All you are doing now is waiting for the best time to shop.

If you don’t like the style, cut, colour, or look of an item, don’t buy it just to be fashionable, wait for the best pieces at the best prices, and you will come up with a co-ordinated ‘look’ that works for you. Remember that you are spending the next six months building a wardrobe, so there is no rush. You are only going to do this once, so take your time and you will have a dressy and fun summer to look forward to.

You will also feel better about your choices and create some space in your closets and drawers. An important point, here, is to update what you can from your current wardrobe items first: Clean your shoes and get laces that match, repair buttons and get rid of loose threads. Dry cleaners, and your local tailor will do these repairs for you if you can’t.

In our next post we will look at fall and winter, which tends to be the more dressy time of the year, and will continue overhauling that wardrobe at the least possible cost.

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