Mixing prints and wearing socks with sandals aren’t the only fashion faux pas you should worry about. Check out this quick list to make sure you aren’t committing two common wardrobe mistakes, and use these ideas to overhaul the way you shop for your next piece. They’ll help protect your budget while you dress for success.
1. Overspending on clothes
It takes an iron-will to ignore sales stickers — especially when the discount is 50 percent or more. Budgeting and good money management abandon you as you load up on piece after bargain piece.
Flash sales and special offers are some of the biggest reasons why you spend too much money on clothes. Remember, something that’s 40 percent off means you’re paying 60 percent for something you may have not looked twice at before the sale.
Flash sales and special offers are some of the biggest reasons why you spend too much money on clothes.
If you’re a regular at the mall, it’s likely you spend too much on clothes. You may even be tempted to use credit cards or take out loans to pay for the next best thing.
Chances are, if you’re searching through online options for getting some cash, you’re spending too much on clothes. Online loans like lines of credit and installment loans are meant for emergencies, not filling up your closet.
How much should you spend on clothes?
Most financial experts suggest following the 50/20/30 rule. This breaks down your spending into three categories.
- The essentials — or expenses like housing costs, personal loan payments, and groceries — should take up 50 percent of your income.
- Twenty percent of your income should go towards savings, including an emergency fund and retirement.
- Thirty percent covers everything else — hobbies, dining out, and clothing included!
For a more precise answer, some financial advisors suggest putting aside just one percent of your income to pay for clothing.
2. A closet full of fast fashion
Most of us end up spending roughly 3 percent of our incomes on clothing. Although this is more than what’s recommended, it’s actually less than what people spent in the past. In the 50s, the average person spent closer to 15 percent of their income on clothing. Fashion was often bespoke, so they had fewer pieces filling their closets.
Nowadays, we have fast fashion options from stores like Zara, H&M, and Forever 21. The time it takes these companies to make clothing is a fraction of what it once was. It’s also cheaper to produce. They’re dependent on cheap labor from the developing world, and those savings are passed onto the customer.
As a result, we’re buying more clothes than ever. According to Greenpeace, the amount of clothing the average person owns increased by 60 percent between 2000 and 2014.
Yet our closets have revolving doors. Most people keep a piece only half as long as they would even 15 years ago. Most of the time, these “old” clothes go into the trash.
To make sure you limit how much your wardrobe ends up in a landfill, you need to rethink your relationship with clothing. Just because you can find a shirt for $5 doesn’t mean you should buy it.
Think quality over quantity
If you have the budget for it, limit how often you shop and focus on well-made clothes instead. While you don’t have to drop a fortune on every piece, you shouldn’t be cutting corners just to fill your closet to the brim. Before you rush to the cash with a “must have”, ask yourself if you really need it.
If you have the budget for it, limit how often you shop and focus on well-made clothes instead.
Learn how to prolong your clothing’s life
If you don’t have the budget to invest in quality pieces, learn how can you make cheaper items last longer.
- Find a cheap tailor and cobbler in your area, so you have a professional on hand when you want to make repairs to clothing or shoes.
- Learn how to mend stitches, reattach buttons, and repair holes, so you don’t have to pay anyone else to fix these minor issues.
- Pay close attention to the washing, drying, bleaching, and ironing instructions on the tags. Caring for your clothes properly will help the fabrics last.
Compared to wearing white after Labor Day and mixing black with brown, these tips will take a little more time and thought to fix. But once you get your budget and fast fashion dependence under control, you’ll feel a lot better about your wardrobe. Trust us!