Wednesday, 15 May 2013

How Much Does Your Style Cost You?

If you can't honestly answer that question with any degree of certainty, I recommend you take a hard look at your finances and work out if you're a clothes-a-holic like me!

I am in full-on thrifty mode at the present time, scrimping and saving all my pennies as I have an uncertain employment future, dependent on various contracts and one big interview.

I have realised that I might have to ease off on the shoe and dress purchases.  I was browsing on the Money Saving Expert site (an excellent resource, please do have a look!) and in one of the forums people are pledging their clothing purchase limits for 2013.  Some are vowing to spend only £500, others as little as £100.  'Hmm, maybe two hundred quid, I could probably do that!', was my thought.  I then totted up what I've already spent on clothes this year and was shocked to see that I'm already at around £200, and we're only a third of the way in.  How has that happened?!

Here's what I've bought in 2013 (items paid for entirely with cash, not including gift cards leftover from Christmas):
  • Cervin red tights from Kiss Me Deadly, £17 and I haven't even worn them yet.
 Kiss Me Deadly Cervin Red Tights

  • Mango fitted orange cardigan, £11 in the sale, wool mix, such a star buy.
  • Grey beaded belt from Anthropologie, £14.95 in the sale
  • Traffic People jacket, £39 in the sale
Traffic People Mia Jacket

  • Anthropologie peplum top, £24.99 in the sale
Anthropologie peplum top
  • Charity shop pale blue wool jumper, £5.99
  • Fuschia tights, 50p 
  • Red wool beret from Accessorize, £14
  • 2 dresses from Sainsbury's, £21 in sale
  • 2 cardigans from Primark, £6 each
  • M&S tights, £10
  • Boots from J Shoes, £45 in sale
J Shoes Western Boots
In addition to all of the above, I also had gift cards to use up and bought a silk Hobbs dress, knickers from Boux Avenue, and a lingerie set from Kiss Me Deadly.  Plus, I won a pair of knickers in a contest!

I don't think my problems of not having the right outfit to wear to particular events are going to be solved by continually buying more things, I think the answer is being a bit more clever about how I wear things.  Here are some suggestions I came up with on how to make your wardrobe work harder for the money: 

1.  Work out the difference between what you want, and what you need
Everytime you think "Hmm, I need a plain black cardi/white blouse/colourful shoe" to make that outfit work, write it down!  If after a few months you've had the same problem several times, maybe you do need to buy an item to help you get the most out of your wardrobe.  Otherwise, it would be a waste.

2.  Get rid of what you don't wear
This is a tough one, but it's hard to see beyond the clutter sometimes.  I've got a 1930's green skirt suit that hung in my wardrobe for years, and years.  I eventually came to the hard decision to sell it.  It's in my friend's vintage shop right now, but if it doesn't sell there I will put it on Ebay.  Having a wardrobe full of items you do actually wear will make choosing an outfit so much quicker, and selling things will make you a bit of money back.

3.  Get a different perspective
If you've got an item and you are at a loss of ideas of what to wear it with, enlist some help - ask a friend, look at pictures online to see how others wear something similar.  I bet you've already got the perfect items to team it with in your wardrobe somewhere, you don't need to buy something new to go with it!

4.  Rotate your wardrobe
If, like me, having your entire wardrobe out at any one time is physically impossible, you'll need to rotate things so that you give items a fair chance of being worn.  My task in the next few weeks is to have my winter coats dry cleaned and put away, and unleash the Spring coats and jackets from their vac-pack prisons.  No doubt, at the same time I will unearth a dress/jumper or other forgotten item and wear it to death for a few weeks, giving me the lovely feel of having something new, but without me having spent anything.

5.  Be more critical
Do you wear things that you're not 100% happy with?  I had a red skater dress that I loved, but everytime I put it on I realised that the waistband was about 2 inches higher than where my waist was.  There was also a sun dress that made me look frumpy.  Taking a more critical look at whether something fit perfectly helped me whittle down my filled-to-bursting wardrobe, and has also helped me rein in my spending dramatically.  It has to be perfect.

I'd love to hear if you are all aware of how much you spend on clothes?  Or if your head's in the sand about it?

P x


  1. I think the last item I purchased was a pair of shoes earlier this year because I was replacing ones where the sole was starting to fall off and before that, another pair of shoes last summer which were a splurge as I didn't really need them but they were in a sale and so pretty. So, I think in the last year I have spent £23 on clothes/shoes for myself. I think it's pretty obvious I don't have a clothing budget!

    1. Melanie, you are so disciplined! Such self-control - I admire it. And also do feel a bit like a guilty shopaholic... x

  2. Wonderful, frank look at a topic that we all need reminding of every now and then. I'm on a fairly tight budget and don't have oodles to spend on my wardrobe each year, so I like to take a good hard look at what I need and what my shopping goals are at the start of each January. Of course some things are apt to change before December 31st, but this clear cut plan has really helped me keep to my budget (usually ;)), while remembering what my wardrobe goals (both long and short term) are.

    ♥ Jessica

    1. That's a great idea to have shopping goals at the start of the year, we all feel the pinch after the holiday season so maybe that's the best time to make realistic plans rather than make a list of things you want but don't need?? I think it's going to take me years to master this, it's really hard not to shop!! I'm hoping that my other half and I will be able to get our own place in the next year, and he's promised to build me a walk-in wardrobe. Is that going to help or make the problem worse I wonder...

      P x

  3. I used to spend more than I care to think about, in the last two years I have reduced it dramatically but I am always going to love to shop! I now make myself justify anything I want to buy, or I make myself go away and think about it, it's amazing how many things I change my mind about after a good night's sleep.

    1. That's great that you've managed a reduction, but that itch to's just under some people's skin, I agree! I'm all about the justifcation too these days. I'm just back from spending my lunch hour shopping. Bought 3 cardigans. Because I reasoned that all my 'Spring' coloured cardigans have 3/4 or short sleeves, which is no good in the UK right now when it's still quite chilly. Hope I've justified that and won't change my mind overnight (it does happen!). x


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