2009 February 5
We all want to look great, but money is tight – how can you make the most of your appearance as your budget shrinks?
Buy with Style
- A sweatshirt is one the most versatile clothing items for people on a budget. Wear it alone, or with a T-shirt or Polo-shirt under it on cold days, or even under a shirt on really, really cold days. It can be worn with a jacket, when it will look more formal, or with jeans when it will seem more casual. You can tie it around your shoulders or your waist, to give you some variation in your clothing appearance if you don’t own that much.
- Picking two classic colours to work around for basic clothing items means that your clothing budget goes a lot further – grey and blue or black and brown, for example, as base colours for trousers, jackets, skirts and shoes means that around 80% of everything you buy can be worn in combination. Make those colours more unusual: green and pink, or red and white, and your clothing mix and match options drop to just 17%! You can keep those less common colours for T-shirts, sweatshirts and other casual clothing items where colour is much more acceptable.
Time and Space Management
- If you have shelves in your wardrobe, use them for jumpers, sweatshirts and t-shirts, organised according to one of the systems below.
- Take everything out of your wardrobe and drawers once a year and put it into four categories: keep, give away or sell, mend or pending. Keep is items you know you’re going to wear, give away or sell is stuff you no longer want, mend is all those shirts without buttons or jeans that need hemming that you’ve never got around to, and pending is stuff you haven’t worn recently but still like. That pending pile gets thirty days and if you haven’t been inspired to wear it by then, stick it on the give away or sell pile. Always try selling or swapping unwanted clothes before just giving them away.
- There are a variety of ways to organise your clothing – one is to hang and shelve it by purpose: work, casual, going-out, etc. This allows you to find items for the right occasion quickly. Or organise by colour, so hang all your black items, blue items etc in groups. This saves time when you get dressed in the morning because you can pick an outfit that’s colour coordinated without having to hunt through the rack for something you think should be there but is actually in the wash.
- Buy all your socks in the same colour and weight – then you never have to bother about matching them up – just chuck them in the drawer and move on!
- Ties, belts and scarves should be classic or nothing, if you’re on a budget. Santa ties, pink belts and scarves with cartoon characters are all bad investments, as you can only wear them once or twice before people start thinking that (a) you don’t own any others and (b) you don’t know when the joke is over. Navy ties, brown leather belts and classic polka dot scarves are always in fashion and nobody will notice if you wear them every other day for a year!
- Take your shoes off as soon as you get home. Then you will always know where they are (inside the front door) and you’ll keep your home cleaner because you won’t track dust and dirt through the house and if you put shoe trees in your shoes they will last three times longer.