I wish someone had told me the secrets I’m about to tell you. Secrets so simple to building a wardrobe, I’m not sure if I really should even be calling them secrets.
But first things first – before you read my secrets, you need to make some room to implement them. And how do you do that? Declutter the crap out of your wardrobe. I can guarantee that by the time you have finished reading this sentence, you have already thought of at least 2 items that you know in your heart of hearts you should chuck. The stretched top, the jeans that don’t look quite right around your bum, the worn out coat or the trackies with broken zips. Chuck, chuck, chuck. Be ruthless. Do what I did – bring a friend around to help yourself be ruthless (remember I’m a teacher and teachers are HOARDERS). Have a wine while you do it. Give yourself a dollar for every item you get rid of. I don’t care how you do it, just do it. Doesn’t fit right? Chuck. Old and worn? Chuck. Only goes with that 1 pair of pants that don’t really fit me anymore? CHUCK. If you’re in NZ or Australia, summer is well and truly over. Chuck out anything you didn’t wear that season – there is a reason you didn’t wear it! And the same for my northern hemisphere friends with their winter items 🙂 Chuck, chuck chuck. When I chuck clothes my routine is – put online to sell once at a small reserve. I don’t bother with postage but that is your choice. If they sell – great! Usually I get around a $10 return per item (because I buy quality now). If they don’t sell then I give them away to friends or family. If they don’t want them then they go to charity. And here is what I do with the money from selling the clothes – that money gets reinvested into new quality clothes. So my wardrobe isn’t paying off itself, but it is a hell of a lot cheaper than when I first started!
Once the clutter has been sorted then you can start merging the old and the new. Are you ready for shopping smarter? Ready for my secrets? Here we go….
Secret 1) I don’t have a credit card. I go by the old school theory of no affordy no purchasey. Straight away that eliminates buyer’s regret. I haven’t had buyer’s regret for 7 years because I think through every purchase. I very rarely have to declutter my wardrobe either now, because I have thought through every purchase. No credit card = thoughtful purchasing. Implement now.
Secret 2) Buy cheap, buy twice. Quality clothes last longer than cheap clothes. And in the long run this actually saves you money. It might seem like a big buy at the time but more than often the difference is only $20-$40. It only SEEMS huge because your chain store is offering a white t-shirt for $40 and the other store is offering it for $65. That seems like a lot. But you know what? After 5 washes, your $40 white top is see through and it lasted about 2 months. Your $65 top is still going strong and lasts a year (unless you’re like me and have put a stain on it within 24 hours but that’s a different story).
Secret 3) Read the labels before buying. Education is key here. Spend a few hours over a month learning about what makes a garment quality and you will avoid shrinkages in future. A dress may look great and you can think of at least 10 different places to wear it, but if it is hand-wash you have to be prepared to actually hand-wash it. If it says to dry in the shade, dry it in the shade. Remember polyester is ok but can make you sweat. Cotton is fantastic as the garment will last longer. Viscose mixes can shrink so be careful with those. Sometimes it pays to go slightly bigger. Learn your fabrics.
Secret 4) Now I’m not saying that EVERY item has to be “quality”. For example, I am now at the stage that if I see a ‘fad’ I want to try out, I’ll buy cheaper. Off the shoulder is a great example of this. I bought my first off the shoulder top last week and it was 30% off. So for $35 I get to try out a fad and decide if I’ll go quality.
Secret 5) Stop buying full price. Seriously. If you earn a 6 figure salary then go for it. If not, and you are building up a new functional wardrobe for yourself then you need to learn some self control. You know, the world’s economy isn’t that great and retail shops know this. Notice how there are a lot of sales around these days? Yeah, there’s a reason for that! I very rarely buy full price anymore. In fact around 90% of my wardrobe I have bought on sale. Here is how I do it:
I set up an email account purely for clothing stores. Any item I purchase from a shop, if it lasts and I love it, then I will sign up to that store’s website. This means in only one email account I get every launch, sale and competition sent my way. I no longer have to go hunting. It’s all there in one email account. It works! For example, winter is coming (GOT reference) and I need a new pair of boots. Do you know how many stores have emailed pre-season sales my way? I’m talking leather boots for 30-40% off ALREADY. Jump at that! Yes it is only autumn, but if I go into that shop and put those boots on lay-by NOW, then by winter I have my new season leather boots NOT at full price and in time for the right season. Those boots will last YEARS compared to the cheap boots I used to panic buy after one rainy day, only to chuck after 3 months. Find the shops you love. Set up an email account. Follow them on Instagram (another platform for their advertising), Follow them on Facebook (competitions!) and check in when you need something. Also, last thing….be smart about this one ladies. You KNOW that every holiday and season there will be some sort of sale. Easter? Sale. Boxing Day? Sale. Mid-season? Sale. Learn the pattern and use it to your advantage.
Secret 6) When you go to buy something, go through your wardrobe in your mind and make sure you have at least 3 other items that could go with it. So in reality the ONE top you are about to purchase should create at least 3 different looks/outfits. 1 or 2? Don’t buy.
Secret 7) Stop emotional buying. Do you want it or do you need it? I understand that somethings you just bloody want for no reason than throwing it on and going YUP I LOOK GREAT! But you know what happens with wants? Once you have them, after a few weeks, you want something else. And then something else. And then you have a wardrobe full of wants that don’t really go well together, don’t fit great and aren’t practical for work. Doh! Make a list of the things you need. I do this about twice a year. Be ruthless. When I first started recreating my wardrobe I focused only on my work clothes. My list looked something like this:
x2 work pants (I’m talking nice black pants and 1 other colour. I opted for navy)
x2 skirts (and I got smart about this one. I chose skirts I could wear WITHOUT tights for warmer months and WITH tights for winter)
x2 work shirts (I’ll talk about this in another blog)
x1 blazer (blazer’s are your best friend – another blog to come!)
That was it! That was my start up work wardrobe. I sold clothes, I invested that money back into spending, I hunted out bargains, I put things on lay-by and I was patient. Good things take time. Like really good cheese.
Phew…there are my 7 secrets. My next blog post I’m going to delve further into my work wardrobe. I think I’ve given you a bit of homework up there to last you the weekend, don’t you? 😉
x Style the Kiwi x
Off the shoulder top – fad to try $35 (was $50 but 30% off), can wear with skirt, black pants, navy pants and jeans
Skirt – can wear with or without tights $35 (was $50 but 30% off), mustard top as seen in picture, long-sleeved navy top, white t-shirt and black t-shirt
Tights – $10 last post-winter sale at local department store
Total outfit: $60.00
Functional – yes!
Comfortable – YES!
Breathable – yes!
Items can be worn with at least 3 other things in my wardrobe? yes, yes, yes.