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Wardrobe Budgeting

How Much Should I Spend On Clothing?

Guide by C. Elliott


I will be the first one to admit that clothes are a bit of an obsession for me; and rightfully so I would argue. Wearing the right clothes can make a woman feel beautiful, empowered, professional, or sexy. They help us to express our individuality, and our creativity – and personally, for my obsession I make no apologies. That said, I must also admit to being a bit of an impulse shopper and for this I am a bit abashed.

Impulse shopping is a chronic condition which can cause you to make costly fashion mistakes. It strikes when you least expect it, and can leave you feeling very unprepared to properly debate the new fashion find at hand. Will it fit? Do I have anything to wear it with? Can I afford it? These are all important questions that can easily be overlooked when your mind is clouded with the feeling of urgency brought on by impulse shopping. So what’s an impulse shopper to do? We wouldn’t dare give up shopping all together. No, you just need to have a good plan.

A good plan starts with (brace your selves) a good budget! Before you cringe at thought, consider this: budgeting does not have to a bad thing. Setting goals and reaching them can be fun! Having a closet full of carefully selected pieces that fit, work well with the rest of your wardrobe, and make you feel beautiful can be rewarding. Plus, setting an affordable budget means your entire wardrobe can be purchased guilt free, which is something that anyone can be proud of!

Setting A Budget:

Budget Pie ChartYou can’t set a proper budget for your wardrobe without first taking stock of the rest of your expenses. You should begin my grouping your expenses into similar categories, for example: Housing, transportation, Food, Entertainment, Savings, Debt, Other Living Expenses, and Clothing / Wardrobe. Most experts recommend spending no more than 10% of your total after tax income on clothing, shoes and accessories. If you don’t have debt, live at home, or are car-less you may be able to borrow a little more cash from these categories for your clothing budge, but it is probably more responsible if you just send the difference towards savings. Creating a pie chart like this one can really help keep things in perspective.

Create a Wardrobe Savings Plan:

Putting your new plan into action does not necessarily mean you should run out and go shopping. Unless you already have an excess of cash lying around we recommend that you begin by creating a “New Wardrobe Fund”. Set up a separate savings account at the bank, or find an empty jar and start stashing away 10% off of your income every month. As you wait for your cash is accumulating consider your plan of attack.

Most likely, you will probably need to shop at least twice a year (if not more!) for seasonal necessities; for example a new coat, pair of work boots, shorts, etc. Along with your pie chart you might also want to consider creating a calendar on which you can plot out your estimated wardrobe saving goals, and schedule your future shopping sprees. Having your goals clearly defined will make working towards them, and achieving them that much more fun!

Before You Start Spending:

1. Make a list of what you need:

Evaluate your wardrobe and decide which items are missing. Would a pair of basic black slack round out your work wardrobe? Does your denim need some updating? Take an index card and make a list of the key foundational pieces that are missing from your closet. Keep this list in your purse and treat your future shopping sprees like a scavenger hunt.

For information on key foundational wardrobe pieces
please visit the Labellush.com “Spring/ Summer Capsule Wardrobe”,
“Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe”, or “Evening Capsule Wardrobe” guides.

2. Make a list of the items that you really, really want.

Find something not on your list? Our friends at About.com recommend that you “Carry a blank index card in your wallet. When you see something you want to buy, write it on the card. Force yourself to wait two weeks (or any other period of time you set for yourself, but at least a week) before spending the money on this item. During this cooling off period, if you see something else you want, add it to the card. However, you can never have more than three items on the card at any one time, so to add a fourth item, you have to remove one of the other items from the list. If you’re an impulse spender, you’ll find that you’re frequently crossing items off to make room for the newest “must have” thing.”

Kick Your Budget Into Overdrive!

Found something you love and just can’t wait two weeks? Jump start your wardrobe fund by earning some extra cash! Try having a garage sale, consigning your old clothes, or donating to charity (you can huge tax deductions for donated items – check out www.itsdeductible.com to learn more). Sure, technically it’s income and you should only use 10% of it, but don’t worry – we won’t tell!

Time to Shop: Stretch your Money!

Shop Online – Labellush.com is proud to be one of the premier destinations for authentic discounted designer handbags, clothing, and accessories on the web. Everything at Labellush is guaranteed authentic, and offered at huge discounts ranging anywhere from 40-85% Off – which can save you tons!

Shop Vintage – Vintage bags can be a steal! Whether you are on the hunt for designer labels, or just looking for something funky – vintage shopping can really help you stretch your budget. Check out your local vintage shops, online auction sites, and thrift stores – you never know what you might find!

Use Coupons – Online retailers like Labellush.com, as well as other department stores often offer coupons. Check online coupon sites, and sign up for the stores mailing list – email subscribers often receive exclusive offers and advanced notice of sales.

Ask for discounts – Many retailers will give additional discounts if an item has signs of “store wear” or damage. Just ask to speak to the manager and ask them if there is anything they can do to improve the price to compensate.

Rentals – If you’re lusting over something trendy consider renting rather than buying. Websites such as Avelle.com rent authentic designer handbags, sunglasses, and jewelry by the week for a fraction of their retail cost.

Clothing Swap – Websites like SwapStyle.com are revolutionizing the way women shop – try without money! SwapStyle.com is an interactive fashion website where members can swap, rather than buy, unlimited designer clothes with each other, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for a small annual subscription fee.

Posted in: Blog, Shopping Tips