build a capsule wardrobe without breaking the bank
Spend Less and Get More
When building an affordable wardrobe you love, investing in the right pieces can make your wardrobe look and feel luxurious, and it can also give your pieces longevity. Quality doesn’t always come with a big price tag, but it often does.
Investment pieces and splurges can be a great thing, but it doesn’t mean they have to break the bank. Here are seven tips to help you save on your wardrobe splurges.
This article and the video below are taken from the Stunning Style Weekly Style Snack! Join us Wednesdays at 1pm ET on the Stunning Style Facebook page or the FREE Capsule Wardrobes for Classic Style Facebook Group.
Know What to Splurge On
Not every item in your wardrobe needs to be an investment. Carefully choosing what you splurge on will make your budget go farther. Certain items will add a luxurious feel to your whole outfit, like a great bag, or give you more comfort, like well-made shoes, and can last longer. Learn more about which categories I splurge and save on in my own wardrobe.
Set Your Budget
Always stick to your clothing budget. Always. It’s never worth accumulating debt for clothes and shoes. Besides, any savings you acquired will be eaten up and then some with interest fees on your credit card. It’s easy to justify if you feel like you’ll never find this item again, but I promise you will.
Once you know what you are looking for, set a budget for that item. It may mean saving up, but if you don’t have a target, you can’t hit it. We discuss this often in the Stunning Style Society. It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of having the perfect item or wardrobe RIGHT NOW, especially in the on-demand society we currently live in, but it’s worth waiting until you can afford it. It will be that much sweeter when you find it and you can afford it.
Brooke Castillo says the anticipation of something exciting like a trip, a purchase, or anything you are working toward and waiting for is most of the pleasure.
Try a less expensive version of a new-to-you style
Instead of trying to buy the ultimate, the perfect, the only trench coat of my life when I had never even tried on a trench coat was purchase a less expensive option to try it out. Do I even like trench coats? What color is perfect for me, instead of what color does everyone else think is perfect? What details do I want?
When I decided to reincorporate leopard in my wardrobe, I did the smart thing. I figured out what I thought would be the perfect leopard and bought an inexpensive version. After I couldn’t get enough of those and realized they would be a wardrobe staple, I invested in the ones I really wanted, and I’ve worn and worn and worn them.
Experimenting with your style to try new things that appeal to you is a great way to refine you signature style, but those aren’t the items to invest in right away.
Know Your Style
Buying something that doesn’t suit you is the costliest mistake you can make. Does that mean every purchase you make must be perfect? No, but experiment with your style on less expensive wardrobe items. One of the primary reasons I feel confident and comfortable making investment purchases now is because I know EXACTLY what I do and don’t love.
I’ve made the mistake before. When I shared 5 things to know before you splurge on a wardrobe item, I shared the story of my perfectly-right-for-someone-else trench coat purchase. It was a big splurge mistake, and I wish I could say that was the only mistake like that I’ve made.
All of my adult life I’ve wanted to buy those once-in-a-lifetime finds, especially if they had a great story attached to them. You know the ones I mean, “Oh this jacket? Well, we were in Florence, and when we walked into the leather shop, the owner walked up to me and said, I have the perfect jacket for you! He pulled it right off the wall and it fit like it was made for me! It’s been a favorite for decades. Timeless, perfect for me, and so well-made!”
That, my friends, is a true story. Someone ELSE’S true story. It actually happened to a friend of mine. And I wanted it to happen to me. I wanted to be that woman with impeccable taste who immediately spotted the ultra-fine quality of an item so perfect it was made for me and I kept for years. And if it had an amazing story attached to it? All the better. The problem was, I didn’t know my style. I was trying too hard and trying to make things work for me, and buying things I THOUGHT would be right.
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The obvious tip to save on your splurges is to watch for sales. The end of the season usually offers the deepest discounts of the year, but you can get some great deals earlier in the season too. I loved this top from the Summer Classic Wardrobe Guide, but I spent my budget on some wardrobe staples I needed first. At the end of the season this was on clearance, and I had more money in my budget, so I scooped it up!
I actually do have one of those stories about a perfect find, though it didn’t happen in Florence. When I was in college, I walked into an Express store right when it opened for the day, and they had just rolled out a rack of these beautiful long black coats. The Matrix movie series was at the height of its popularity, and this was like the wool version of Trinity’s coat.
This $200 coat had been marked down to $15! I snatched on up and put it on. It was like it was made for me. I turned around to grab one for my best friend’s birthday, and the rack was EMPTY. Just like that! I still have, wear, and love that coat. It’s actually really nice quality, the tailoring is gorgeous, and it looks like it cost far more than even the $200 original price tag.
Relying on end-of-season sales is risky. What if your size sells out? It could happen. But if it’s not in your budget, you weren’t going to buy it at full price anyway. Not everything goes on sale. Some luxury brands never discount their items, so it’s either full price or nada, right? Wrong.
Buying items pre-loved is a great way to save on your wardrobe splurges. Not only do you spend less, but you can get limited edition items that are no longer being made. One of my very favorite places to shop is Poshmark. It’s a site where you can buy and sell your gently used or new-with tags clothes, shoes, bags, jewelry.
I’ve bought and sold countless items there, including investment pieces. It can be overwhelming at first, and the main question I get is how does Poshmark work? I wrote a series of posts about it, including that and how to sell on Poshmark, and what I wore from my Poshmark shopping. I saved a fortune on this red jacket.
With the counterfeit market so rampant, when purchasing luxury goods, it’s a relief to rely on the Poshmark authenticate service for items costing over $500. You don’t have to be an expert because they inspect and guarantee it.
This bracelet was discontinued, and when I finally found it in my size, I felt confident buying it on Poshmark because the guaranteed the authenticity. I also got this bag new with tags for a third of the retail price.
If you’re new to Poshmark, use the code DANCEME23 as a referral code, and you will get a $10 credit toward your first purchase, and I will get a $10 credit after your first purchase! Win win!
Poshmark is a great place to shop for inexpensive items when you are figuring out your style, experimenting with something new, or transitioning your wardrobe after a major change like weight loss, having a baby, or a new job. It continues to be a favorite place for me to shop.
Another great place to find your splurge items is eBay. Experienced sellers have largely moved away from bidding to buy it now pricing, and I love the save searches feature. If I can’t find what I’m looking for, I save my search, and whenever something new is listed I get email notifications. That’s how I finally got my beloved leopard belt. I wanted the one that matched my bag and shoes, and after several months one popped up in my size and I snatched it up right away!
I also got this fabulous coat on eBay. It’s hands-down one of my very favorites and began an obsession with them. I featured it in the Winter Classic Wardrobe Guide in black this year.
Investing in quality wardrobe pieces doesn’t have to mean spending a fortune. Which tip was most helpful for you?