How to make and save money with clothing

by Kylie on February 10, 2012

Image from http://all-yours-styling.com my personal stylist. Click on the pic to go to her site.

Clothing can be quite a large expense, especially if you have a couple of children. It doesn’t have to be expensive if you follow these tips.

Buy second hand
Not everyone approves of buying second hand but I can tell you I have bought man top brand name items for a fraction of the cost in near new or even new with tags condition at second hand stores. It is simply a matter of knowing where to look and a bit of luck on the day.

I know many ‘charity’ stores in Australia have decided to increase their prices drastically and some items in there are more expensive than new so you need to know your prices and know your stores. There are still some smaller op shop/thrift stores around which have good prices.

Also check for sales. Yes, second hand stores have sales. It is on these days I hit the stores usually on opening time or 2:30 as they are pretty empty with other people dropping off or picking up their children. I have also found Tuesdays and Fridays to be a good days, as new stock comes in over the weekend, is sorted Monday and out on Tuesdays. Fridays are usually the sale days as they want to clear stock before new stock comes in.

A couple of little tips with second hand shopping:
- Be friendly and get to know the staff. You will often get discounts and sometimes they even put things aside they know you will like or have been looking for.
- If you have a little time to volunteer and help out, even a few hours a week you get to see stock before anyone else plus you are helping a charity.

Shop in sales
This might sound basic, but never pay full retail price. Sales happen all the time, there is really no good reason to be paying RRP if you are organized. Many stores now mark down their clothes in the middle of a season which means you can pic up some great bargains for summer clothes right in the middle of summer. If you are buying for kids try and a buy a couple of items in larger sizes to save you money later.

Also check out any outlets in your area. Sometimes there can be great deals on.

Get clothes for gifts
If anyone asks what you would like for your birthday you could suggest various clothes, gift cards or create a wish list at online stores you can show people.

For your kids, depending on their ages and interests you could give them clothes as one of their presents.

Take care of your clothes
As simple as it sounds spot treating stains, soaking clothes when necessary, mending little rips and tears as soon as they happen, fixing zippers, sewing on buttons and other simple things you can do to ensure the long life of your clothes will really help.
Learn to do minor alterations and mending
Things like sewing on buttons, and hemming up pants are not hard. In fact there is a simple tutorial I found here for hemming jeans. Just use Google if you are unsure how to do something and there are thousands of tutorials, both written and video (YouTube) which are simple to follow.

Get a classic wardrobe
A classic wardrobe where you get the basics covered and they all fit you well is great. It stops you buying unnecessarily and to be in style each season you can simply accessorize.

What are your tips for saving money with clothing? I recently guest posted at Styling You with 7 ways to save on fashion, you should check it out (along with her amazing blog!) I also found 10 tips to make clothing last longer if you want to check them out.

As for making money with clothes you can on sell clothes you no longer wear if they are popular brands, look for brand names at second hand shops and garage sales to on sell. If you can sew you could try making clothes, doing custom alternations, wedding dresses or veils, dolls clothing etc. Another option is to look into importing clothing and selling it.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

ErgoOrgo February 16, 2012 at 10:13 am

Thanks for the helpful suggestions Kylie. I have still to actually buy second-hand for clothes, because I get paranoid about how long they will last and hygiene. But I will try and rethink.

On your point about buying classic clothes — travel sites such as onebag.com stress the usefulness of clothes that all readily coordinate, which I think can be extended to one’s normal wardrobe to an extent.

My final point, which is the main one I have been trying to go for recently is getting by with fewer items and variations in clothes (although ironically this has led me to buy new special clothes that mean I can, overall, reduce the amount of clothes I have — i.e. one new top replaces 3 old ones).

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Meg April 19, 2012 at 12:30 pm

What a great post. Thanks for sharing. My best tip is that rather than going for a ‘classic’ wardrobe (which for many of us can seem a bit dull) think about defining you ‘look’.

If you give some thought to those friends you have that always seem to be well dressed you’ll find that everything they own seems to have a common theme. I could easily buy clothes for these women. They know what they like and what suits them and they stick to it. Think ‘Spice Girls’. You don’t need to pick one of them, but notice how each of them owned a particular style.

Open up your wardrobe and have a look. What do your favourite outfits have in common. If you were to describe the way you dress what would it be? If the answer is ‘an odd collection of stuff that appealed to me at the time I bought it’ then you’ll save a lot of money by picking a particular style and sticking to it.

This finally dawned on me when I was second hand shopping with a friend who managed to find three things I like. She told me they matched my favourite ‘look’. Until then I didn’t know I had one!

Now that I know I love soft, comfortable fabrics with a tilt to Art Deco and what my friend calls ‘sort of romantic/gothic/classy’ I have no trouble buying things that match my wardrobe and avoiding things that don’t.

It’s okay if your ‘look’ isn’t high fashion. I’ve got friends that live in jeans and T-shirts, or sports gear. I’ve got one friend that loves a good frock, because she always feels well dressed when she wears one. Your style is an individual choice so be as individual as you like.

Once you’ve defined your look, don’t buy anything that doesn’t fit with it (even if it is discounted by 75%!).

You can save even more money by limiting your wardrobe to colours you adore. I don’t go in for all that colour matching to skin and hair. I think we all look best when we wear what we love. For me that’s red and purple and as I’ve gotten older I’ve moved away from black and towards grey (less contrast so more flattering). Since my hair went grey I’ve rediscovered pink. I never buy yellow or orange. I love them on other people but just don’t wear them. I don’t care how cheap a beige anything is, because I never wear beige.

Tip number three is to base your wardrobe, and your look, on some plain coloured basics. Mine include pull on pants, singlets, T-shirts, waterfall vests and cardigans and a knockout black coat I bought for $25 at Vinnies. Once you know what style of basics you like you can be on the lookout for them at sales. You’ll save money on your purchases by buying when they’re cheap and you’ll save money in the long term because you can create hundreds of different looks using the same basics by adding a patterned shirt, scarf, hat or accessories or wearing statement jewellery.

Tip number 4 is to compare quality across chain stores. They are a great source of basic items but the quality can vary enormously. Kmart is really cheap but I find their quality reflects this. SES on the other hand continue to blow me away with the quality of their products, and I often see their stuff in ’boutique’ outlets. Target lost their quality focus for a while but they seem to have realised their mistake. I don’t even walk in the door at Supre! A $6 top is only good value if it doesn’t look like a dusting rag the third time you wash it!

My final tip for saving money is to never shop with a friend. Yes, it’s fun but I found I often ended up with something that should have been in my friend’s wardrobe! It can be loads of fun to hit the shops and try things on, particularly if you choose outfits for each other (and I have actually discovered styles that suit me doing this) but never spend any money while your friend is with you. Come back later on your own and have another look. Often your friend’s enthusiasm made something much more attractive that it was.

I hope some of your readers find these helpful.

Thanks for your great blog.

Meg

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Connor Gardiner August 18, 2012 at 8:27 pm

I never buy clothing at retail price. Always wait for sales and make sure I buy off-season when there are more discounts available. Saves about 50% from my clothing bill.

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