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The fall season is upon us; soon, the weather will be demanding we drag out the boots, sweaters, and coats. This means it’s time to look at your winter wardrobe so you can update and find the essentials you’ll need to take on the coming cold weather season. However, as we all know, this can be an expensive process, especially since styles and colors change each year. It does not have to be!
Knowing how to shop and build your winter wardrobe properly will not only help you save on this year’s buys, it will also help you save money down the road. If you haven’t already started shopping, take note of a few things you should keep in mind and a few strategies you can use to update your wardrobe both efficiently and economically.
First Things First
The first thing you should do is bite the bullet and clean out your closet. Getting rid of clothing you’re no longer wearing because it’s out of style or no longer fits will not only make space for your new items, it’ll also help you in deciding what you might need. Also, move out your summer items to storage boxes or to an extra closet so they’re not in your way and muddying up the waters. If you have nice things that no longer fit you, or that you haven’t worn in some time, you might consider putting them on consignment or selling them through an online site such as eBay, Poshmark or ThredUp. This could help you fund some of your new purchases, and it’ll help you feel better about getting rid of them. Of course, if you don’t have the time, you can always donate them to charity for a tax deduction.
Be sure to be thorough in cleaning out your unused items. This should include not just clothing items but also shoes, handbags, and accessories. Only by doing a complete cleanout can you truly evaluate what you have, which is one of the key factors in building your wardrobe the right way. You have to get back to basics before you can build your wardrobe back properly.
Once you have everything you don’t want or need out of your way, go through your wardrobe and make a list of the things you need to round it out and update it to the new styles of the season. Having a list will not only make you more efficient in your shopping, but it’ll also help you create a budget for your new purchases. Making a budget and sticking to it will help you keep from overspending, and it might even help you save money by actively looking to beat the budget as you shop.
Your list should be complete and comprehensive and include shoes, boots, coats, scarves, and any other accessories you’ll need or that need to be replaced. With the holidays approaching, you might want to include anything you’ll need for events or holiday parties as well. Getting caught up in the rush of the holiday shopping season is no way to shop for the perfect look for your office party or other gatherings.
Evaluating your wardrobe will also be helpful to see what looks you can put together with the things you have, and what you might need to complete the look, such as the right shoes or a belt. Most likely, some foundation pieces in your wardrobe can be carried forward from last year and still look fashionable and current.
Check Out the Lookbooks
Lookbooks are collections of photographs that show off a brand of clothing and its line for the season. Designers use them to show their brand in action, meaning how their pieces fit together to reflect the current trends in fashion. This great resource can help you get up to date on the most current styles and find looks you like. If there are designers you like or ones whose clothes seem to fit you well, you can also follow them on Instagram where there’ll likely be lots of photos of this year’s clothing line. Lookbooks are a great way to help you update your wardrobe by identifying looks that are attractive to you, and help you figure out what you’d need in your wardrobe to pull them off. In addition, you don’t have to buy designer clothes to get a designer look. You can effectively “knock off” certain looks by buying less expensive items that reflect that style.
Save the photos of the looks that you like on your phone so that when you’re out shopping you can refer to them and make sure the items you need are on your list and included in your budget. If you’re shopping online, which is a great way to find the best prices and compare a variety of pieces, you can use Pinterest to create an inspiration board, or utilize presentation software such as PowerPoint or Keynote to display the looks you’re interested in. Try to identify important foundation pieces that’ll be very versatile, and look to find the best deals on those items. If you buy simple foundation pieces that are of good quality, you may be able to use them for years to come.
Plan Your Wardrobe to Fit Your Lifestyle
The variety of styles and arrangements we now see in the work world can have a big impact on how wardrobes are comprised. For instance, if you’re working outside the home in a professional environment, then your wardrobe will most likely need to include suits and dress shoes. However, if you work from home or are a stay-at-home parent, you’ll need comfortable, casual clothes that lend themselves to chasing children around or telecommuting and taking conference calls.
Another thing to consider is what type of activities you like to participate in. If you’re a runner, for example, you’ll need some warm clothing that’s designed for cold weather running. If you like to attend sporting events, you’ll need clothing that’s both warm and comfortable enough to spend several hours outside. Moreover, if you like to go out at night to events, restaurants, and the like, you’ll need to have outfits in your wardrobe to match that lifestyle. Don’t be tempted to buy something that you might never wear just because it’s on sale. Those items hang in our closets for years with the tags still on!
Some things never go out of style. A navy blue blazer not cut in an over-stylized way can be a foundation piece for any wardrobe for many years. It’s better to buy high-quality items when purchasing classically styled clothing. This way, you’ll be assured they last for many years to come. Other items you might consider adding to your classic foundation pieces are trousers in base colors such as grey or black, pencil skirts, and button-down shirts or blouses in white, light blue, or other versatile colors.
Always choose high-quality items and don’t focus on the number of items you have. It’s much better to have a couple of superb, well-fitting jeans than to have 10 pairs of inexpensive ones that don’t look that good on you and fall apart after a short while. It’s the same with sweaters, coats, and jackets; less can be more when it comes to great clothing.
Classic pieces can be paired with more trendy items to create the look you want. These classic items are evergreen wardrobe pieces that you can dress up for special occasions or dress down for everyday casual. Be careful about spending lots of money on styles that are likely to expire in the transition from one season to another. A highly styled piece of clothing will stick out like a sore thumb once the fashion world has moved on. It’s totally fine to add a few of these pieces each year, but don’t blow the whole budget on items that’ll go out of style at the end of the season. You’re far better off using inexpensive accessories and being creative to achieve the look you want.
Pick a Palette
The colors of your wardrobe will make all the difference in how versatile it is. Pick a color palette that looks good with your skin tone and other coloring, and that’s consistent with your existing pieces. By keeping within your palette, you’ll be able to create more looks with less investment and fewer pieces. You can add pops of color by using low-cost accessories such as scarves and fashion jewelry. Mixing and matching your wardrobe pieces can give you endless possibilities for fresh looks.
Your color palette doesn’t have to be boring just because it’s neutral. Even with foundation pieces that are cream, black, brown, or navy, you can mix in some brighter colors with your blouses, button-downs, and sweaters. Colors that go well with neutrals are pinks, reds, oranges, bright greens, and vivid blues. Just be sure to avoid blowing the budget by not sticking to your plan.
We sometimes compromise quality for price. While striking the right balance for your budget is important, it’s usually better to spend a little more and get a better quality piece of clothing. In addition, higher quality clothing tends to fit better and complement your body style. Cheap clothing is easy to spot and usually lacking in form and fit while great clothing always stands out as being well cut and styled.
It’s also important that you don’t settle for a piece of clothing that isn’t “quite right” just because you can’t find something that’s perfect. Clothing that isn’t the right color, or that doesn’t fit as well as it should, will end up in the graveyard of your closet. Therefore, only buy clothing that’s the perfect combination of color, style, fit, and price.
It’s never a bad idea to see if you can buy current styles and great items at a discounted price. Shopping around and comparing prices is always a great way to go, and now, with so much available on the internet, it’s easy to do. The only drawback to buying things over the internet is the inability to try them on first and to examine their quality. Therefore, if you’re going to utilize the internet, be sure to buy from online retailers that have easy return policies.
It’s sometimes worth it, especially on a high-priced item, to go to a retailer that has the item you’re interested in and try it on. If you’re happy with the fit and color, you can make note of the designer or manufacturer and the style number and shop the internet for the best price. For classic clothing, check some of the resale sites such as Thredup and Poshmark. You can get superb pieces at pennies on the dollar. Several brick-and-mortar discount retailers carry high-quality clothing at discounted prices.
Put Your Looks Together
Once you’ve finished all your shopping, it’s time to create your some looks you can rely on that complement and showcase your individual style. Take a couple of hours to put together outfits and see how many unique combinations you can come up with. Snap some photos along the way so you can create your own lookbook to fall back on when choosing an outfit for work or for going out.
Assembling your winter wardrobe can be a fun experience, and it doesn’t have to break the bank. Just by following a few of these simple guidelines, you can create a wonderful style and look for the season, and do it on a budget.