I hate my clothes. My wardrobe is full of 70% blehs. There is plenty of stuff to wear but at the same time there is absolutely nothing to wear.
Since I spoke so much of my awesome frugal wins last time, I decided to speak my mind about a perpetual frugal fail.
Update: I’ve been shopping on ThredUp for my new capsule wardrobe! Check out my review of ThredUp’s Goody Boxes and $10 off your next ThredUp order!
Most of my entire wardrobe pre-husband has been either second-hand donations from my mom’s friends, the clearance rack off Ross or whatever they had at Forever 21 at the time. I grew up in a low-income household and all we did was shop the clearance rack. If it’s on sale, get it, doesn’t matter if it doesn’t fit right – just get it! That’s the mentality passed down by my mother who continues to shop junk today.
I remember my mother would return from Ross with something hideous…like a turtle shell colored knapsack and exclaim “look what they had on sale for $14.99!” She has a bunch of equally hideous plastic cloth-like bags that became nothing more than decorative trash in the corner of the room. She’s stuck on the price tag and object.
It’s a vigorous hoarding action confused with frugality by focusing for the bottom rung instead of the entire picture.
Exposure to High End
A friend of ours flew into town and we dropped by a high-end shopping plaza in Seattle to window shop. She has high-end taste in anything you can wear, eat and/or carry. She also has about 6 or 7 classic Louis Vuitton bags in her arsenal. I was tagging along because she said she would buy me a pretzel (which they didn’t even sell in that plaza because it was that fancy.)
Just imagine grabbing something from my closet versus her closet. There would simply be no comparison. We went inside Nordstroms and while she was inquiring on the status of her reservation for a handbag (takes 8 months on the wait-list for a Chanel apparently) I poked around the stuff they had on display in the other parts of the store.
I never understood expensive clothing before this. There’s not a single brand higher than Forever 21 in my closet. Why would I overpay for something that cost 10x times as much when there’s a cheaper alternative for a comparatively lesser quality? It’s just clothes right? My friend was an intelligent, no non-sense diva; how does she justify $125 for a sweater and $8,000 for a handbag?
Now she never gave me the lecture (although I wish she did) but I eventually pieced it out myself with the help of…stalking Luxe. Lol! ?
The Flippin’ Difference
Let’s get the most basic argument out-of-the-way. First of all, you can feel the difference. It’s night and day. I was poking around Nordstrom and touching everything like a pervert. The few thrift stores I rummage in has sections with designer brands like Prada and Misook. Even in its pre-owned condition, they were still light years better in quality than what I worn after just one single wash. I did a blind test with myself (picking out thrift things and guessing their brand range) which proves I either have a sixth sense knowing when something is higher end or the higher end things are drastically better in the most subdued way. I’d like to think it’s the latter. So that takes care of quality.
Also, I hate scratchy tags. 20% of my closet has scratchy tags. If I cut those off, then they’ll really have no value what-so-ever. What evil, careless people made scratchy tags. Yeah, like dude, I so want to associate your brand with my itchy discomfort.
I didn’t feel embarrassed in comparison to her clothes in a money/class sense but I did feel very embarrassed at my blindness when it comes to the finances behind clothing. After it’s put into money terms, my ears immediately perked up. If you don’t care about clothes, totally fine. We’re not a fashion blog, we’re a personal finance blog.
But you must speak money right?
If you talk money then listen: clothing is like investing.
Nothing makes more money sense than buying utility and reliability because these are the characteristics that can fare over a bad spot. In the investment world, historically well performing stocks are called blue chips. Blue chips are a key way to building wealth (says Warren freakin’ Buffett) and it’s also the same philosophy you should apply to clothing.
You should invest in your clothes like how you would invest in a stock. Remember the Birkin bag that beat the SPX?
ROI (Return on Investment)
I can’t tell you how many pairs of “factory odd” jeans I have in my closet yet I’ve never worn once. Therefore, they officially have a utilitarian value of zero. It doesn’t matter if they costed one penny, I still wasted that penny.
The funny thing is I felt right splurging for an occasion. That’s where fast fashion “logic” brought me. It’s an important event so you have to dress your best, right? Therefore it is a good excuse to splurge!
If you think about it, those items were “special occasions” which means the utilitarian efforts of those pieces were also very low.
It’s not always about the money as a rate of return.
Every Christmas I buy a few hundred dollars worth of brand new clothes in one go from China. The particular brand (Dabuwawa translates to Mainland Doll) I buy is higher quality than your typical oversea export and they have presence in Asia but –ahem– I don’t live in Asia. I can’t resell them because I have no access to TaoBao (Chinese version of eBay). There is no resale value (or hardly any) in the United States. But I still like them and buy them because they make me happy. It’s a style I cannot find in American apparel.
Those purchases, I’ve only wore it on occasion, because they’re not very American and I feel awkward when people stare at me. The utilitarian route is similar to the jeans I never wore except…one of my adorable wool costume capes cost about $100 and I wore it once because not many occasions calls for…well..a cape! But I still love my super cute cape and I wear it if an occasion called! If it was anything else:
One time wear at $100 is NOT frugal!
Another giant thorn in my side is simply looking over my closet and realizing I have no value in what I own. No liquidity = two horrific words to any investor.
When I was younger, I was the girl who didn’t want to repeat the same outfit. I fell victim to fast fashion and it’s such a money pit.
After I started clearing out my closet I was like…wait..I don’t have anything of value. I will probably toss my entire closet to the thrift store bins near by house but I don’t even think they want it. All of my stuff is trash. It’s utterly wasteful both environmentally and monetarily.
It will take forever to move this stuff. I have to beg someone to take this stuff that I paid a fair dollar for. That hurts. That hurts a lot. I’d like to think I’m smart with my money (and for the most part I am…) :\
The Price is Always Too High For Junk!
Let’s take into consideration the factory odd pair of jeans I purchased for $7.99 on a clearance tag sale a few years back. The price seemed right even though the fit was on the awkward side. I brought it anyway because where can you find new jeans for $8 anymore? But I have never wore those pairs of jeans. Why did I buy it then? That makes no sense…
Related: Guide to buying what you want – Millennial Money Diaries
Those pairs of unworn jeans have provided me zero value so far. I would go and resell my factory odd $7.99 jeans but guess what they’re worth? Nothing. They’re technically new yes but they have a very “meh” brand. Not to mention they are irregular as well as technically pre-owned. They’re also getting a bit stale in terms of style; no one wears baggy white bell bottoms anymore.
If I go on eBay with nice pictures to sell them, at best they would go for $2. After shipping and fees, I probably say I’ll be in the hole for $-5 more from selling them than if I just kept them! That’s my return on investment? That’s a fail.
Even if I donate them there is a good chance that my local Goodwill will not clock them into inventory. They have better options donated by other people than my irregular jeans. Therefore, my jeans will probably end up in a landfill and I’ve contributed to the fall of this planet.
“So a large portion of it—84% of used clothing to be precise—ends up in a landfill, where all the synthetic materials that went into making it in the first place either seep into the groundwater or are incinerated into the air as toxic chemicals. All because you wanted to save some money by shopping at Forever 21. YOUR CARDIGAN JUST CONTRIBUTED TO CLIMATE CHANGE. GOOD JOB.” – Bitches Get Riches
Related: The best rants about the fallacies of fast fashion by the Bitches Get Riches crew.
This is even worst than selling a stock at a loss. This isn’t like from a financial point of view if you were selling a losing stock. There is no tax and business incentives involved to cut your losses. The United States government is not going to give me tax credit for a pair factory odd jeans that lost its value.
So in the end, I’m at a 100% loss and I’m stuck with another piece of trash in the back of my closet and/or another addition to the landfill. Duck.
But wait, the stink with fast fashion doesn’t stop there! One of my favorite items was a bright magenta coat, a gift from mom. I usually hate the cheap things she gives me (“only $20!”) but this coat was soft and super warm too! “Yay” I thought to myself, “she brought something good.“
Then I washed it.
I was at the doctor’s office getting a check up and the nurse pointed out the entire tail-end of my blouse was covered in bright magenta fibers. My magenta coat was pilling and leaving bright magenta fibers all over the place. The bus. The doctor’s office. Myself. Howwwww embarrassing.
I really liked that coat. It provided great utilitarian value but it’s as durable as a sandcastle during high tide.
That’s like getting to know someone, trusting them and then having them disappear on you. Also, they pick-pocketed you.
I’m a size 4 and even if my legacy is a size 16 and they can’t use anything, in a rough spot, I would hope the word “vintage” would be able to help them out. Hopefully, at least one piece from my arsenal will be worth something by the time it reaches them.
I haven’t heard of anyone handing down a sock or a coat so I’m not backing up that elementary clothing can be a legacy. But legacy to me meshes together longevity and timelessness which are characteristics that is reflected in almost every avenue of modern life. This is one of my favorite concepts. Legacy! Even the syllables of that word is romantic!
If you have the money (and I would like to say we do and Hubby is a wonderful provider) then the option of shopping smarter makes a lot of sense. That’s why I finally decided to pull the trigger on my “eBay cleanse” (crediting Millennial Money Diaries for the term ?).
I’m finally doing something about it!
After I’m done decluttering and selling off/giving away my stuff then I need to apply a new principle to clothing. BUT FIRST, I have to declutter first or else they’ll never ever see light from the back of my closet and I will forever have clutter.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still stingy with our money and I don’t feel passionate about clothes to go ballistics in Nordstrom and wait 8 months for an $8,000 handbag. There is a better way than both extremes and that lands in the area of truly “frugal & eco-friendly things” you can do to for your closet.
Hallelujah thrifty gods, I see the light.
This new development has nothing to do with my ego or appearance. I’m married, I don’t care, my man loves me even if I chose to live in a dumpster like Oscar from Sesame Street. We’ve both been through a lot together and our relationship will not be disturbed by the price of fabric.
Does that mean you’re going to blow $800 on a jacket?!
What? No, probably not. I have a particular preference for “costumes” which breaks down into Dabuwawa or Hanfu style that I’ll splurge despite the lack of usefulness. I just like them. I’ve liked both styles for years.
I think fashion is still a very personal thing and it’s not always about the investments. But it’s smart to have my staples (tees, jackets, jeans) to be sturdy and to hold it’s value.
An item of clothing is only worth as much as what someone will pay for it. It’s the same case pretty much everything. That’s why a 6,600 square foot loft in St. Louis, Michigan goes for $1.2 million and a 6,600 square foot loft in West Chelsea, New York go for $12.5 million.
I think that’s what tripped me up so much before. You basically have to shell out for anything good and since that’s out of reach…you’re just stuck with crappola from Forever 21 right? That’s also why my mom can’t wrap her head around it. There’s a difference between spoiling yourself with a department store item fresh and new with tags and a personal shopper. I’m not into that. I’m still very frugal. But I see utility now.
I understand the real frugality behind an item of much utility, quality, and resale. (And just throwing it in there: morally conscious production.)
I’m not going to buy a lot – that would be like this nightmare all over again. I’m also having trouble coming up with a basic attack plan of what I need if I did empty out my closet. I wonder if I can keep my entire closet under 25 items…
*I have no intention of buying new; I apply the principles to that of a car. The moment that tag is off, it’s like I drove a new car off the lot, I lost 25% of what I paid right then and there. I rather have someone else take that blow for me.
*Trying the capsule wardrobe idea!! I rather have 2 expensive but amazing things that I love than 12 cheap crappie things that I will eventually hate. I believe it’s going to save money in the long-run and avoid the cluttered mess I’m in now.
Related: How to afford designer clothes without a benefactor.
So that’s in the works for the next few months. I’m clearing out everything and rebuilding a new wardrobe from the bottom up. How exciting!
What do you guys think? Am I doing the right thing? Do you have any advice for me? What is your clothing budget? What’s your favorite store/brand/eBay seller? I would love to hear anything right now.
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Omg, this was me when I finished college! I noticed that a ridiculous percentage of my wardrobe was from Costco. Costco does have some good finds, but not everything is a gem. I started my wardrobe from scratch [a few times] and I would HIGHLY recommend you take yourself to “upscale-ish” stores like Banana Republic, JCrew- basically any place you’re planning an buying clothes from and just try on LOTS and LOTS of clothes. I say this because I have really long arms and a thin torso so I’ve found that I can never find anything at LOFT. If you want to go for brands that are a bit higher in price [like stuff from Nordstrom], same thing- try a lot of different pieces from that brand.
And lastly, I would strongly recommend taking a few pieces from your existing closet [pants, shirt, etc] that fit well and use those as measurement guides. Clothes tend to fluctuate in size even from the SAME brand. I always measure clothes that fit me well [with a ruler] and then compare them to the sizing for the item I’m trying to buy on Ebay. I’ve learned the hard way that just because I’m a 2 or a 0 now means that I might be a 4 or a 6 from an older style from the same brand.
Thank you for these phenomenal hacks Ying! I have short arms and torso haha. Guess we can’t closet swap someday ;(
Mrs. Adventure Rich says
Haha- good luck with your wardrobe revamp! One location to look for less expensive but higher quality items would be local consignment shops. It is hit and miss, but I have found designer jeans for $20, a “WhiteHouse/BlackMarket” dress for $20, an Ann Taylor dress for $5, etc. It takes some digging but you may get lucky!
I love consignment stores! I’ll definitely do that and hope to get lucky.
NZ Muse says
Yes, looking at my current wardrobe I think it’s fair to say the vast majority is thrifted (even many of the shoes!) Things like socks, undies, tank tops and those kinds of basics no, but pants, dresses, tops, skirts, blazers … hardly anything in my work wardrobe is brand new. Thrifting means I can get good quality brands on my small budget. (Which is not fixed, I just shop in batches once in a while as needed.)
Oh my goodness YES! I see donated undies…which um…might be even too frugal for me. I’ll take anything else though! I love thrifting! Tokyo thrifting!!! (That makes no sense but I like the sound of it.)
I’m in a very similar situation and feeling a bit lost with how to proceed! This was helpful in getting my mindset change reinforced!
Ms. Frugal Asian Finance says
Ahh I LOVE LOVE LOVE those hanfus! I grew up watching lots of Chinese dramas/movies, and I always wished (still do!) I could wear one of those one day while playing the Chinese zither (now I feel like a weirdo @_@).
But seriously, I WOULD wear them around the house too! I even wish I had a daughter so that she can learn the Chinese dance, chess, drawing, and all the fancy Chinese art stuff they do in those old Chinese dramas. ^.^
You know how to play the zither?! AHHH teach me ?
Lol I know why you want a little girl now haha. Those are great reasons, I want one too. But a boy first haha.
Ms. Frugal Asian Finance says
I don’t how to play the zither, but I want my future daughter to learn how to play it. She will do everything that I’ve been wanting to do but can’t (yet or ever) ^.^
Passive Income, M.D. says
Personally, I don’t care if people notice I wear the same thing again and again, maybe that’s a guy thing. So I’ve realized like you mentioned, better to spend some more money on something I love instead of cramming my drawers with a lot of junk. I used to even buy stuff that was way too big for me but just cause it was such a great bargain. My wife would say, why do you have a XXL shirt when you’re a medium? Cause it’s so cheap and maybe I’ll tailor it. Well I wouldn’t and it would sit in my drawer until I donated it years later. Good luck with the wardrobe reset!
Oh that’s so relatable! I did the same thing as well and I ended up with a bunch of junk! Thanks Doc!
Dave @ Married with Money says
I hate clothes shopping so much, but my wife loves it. A few months ago I finally got rid of a sweatshirt I’d had since freshman year. Of high school. Literally half my life ago. Joke’s on her though, since I have another one that I still wear regularly from that same year! Haha.
I’ve found that when I do need new clothes, Target is almost always my GoTo. Relatively inexpensive but they’ve really upped their game in recent years on having things I like and being decent quality, too.
Nordstrom’s comes in a close 2nd but is always more expensive.
Thanks Dave! Another commentor mentioned Nordstrom Rack – I’m interested to try that.
The Luxe Strategist says
I ADORE this post. I’ve always thought you can’t know quality unless you actually go to a nice store and feel the difference. If you don’t have a nice store in your town, then yeah, you’re gonna think Forever 21 is the best bet.
You’ve hit upon all of the points for why I spend more on stuff. One, it’s about the long-game always. Two, I approach it like a business. I very rarely buy things that I don’t think I’ll be able to sell. There are of course a few exceptions to this, like your Hanfu stuff. Sometimes you just want what you want, and that’s OK! But generally, clothes are as much a business transaction as much as utilitarian. To me, that’s savvy as hell.
If you want to start fresh, you have to understand the things you DO wear and the things you don’t. The things you reach for all the time. Identify the patterns and the common themes. Those are going to be YOUR staples. And my staples aren’t necessarily the same as someone else’s staples. Imagine me telling someone who lives on a sunny island that they need a trenchcoat. LOLLL. I would highly recommend that worksheet I linked in my post. It accounts for things like weather, lifestyle, etc. and I think those are the things that most people just don’t think about. Spend the money on your staples, and for the fun stuff go ahead and get it from Forever 21.
I noticed a huge difference in the material, stitching, frame and all the little details. It was eye opening. Whereas before I couldn’t care less because 1. I couldn’t afford it 2. didn’t want to place myself in a store where I didn’t belong.
Having a closet full of unnecessary junk that I was never going to wear…as I’m sitting here, makes me feel…gross? That’s not the right word but it’s not a good feeling. It is much more money savvy to have a few possessions of value and utility than a closet full of junk. I don’t know why it took me 25 years on this planet to see that because it’s just the easier way of handling your money, wardrobe and space. It’s also nice to not always be shopping for the new trend when a few items are classics.
That’s great advice Luxe; I wear loose comfy clothes 24/7 now doing AirBnB so all the teenage glam clothes need to go ASAP. I need to check out those worksheets in detail (I’m already on your mailing list~) I’ll have hubby print them out tomorrow.
I’m never touching F21. I’ve looked through those and 90% of them have 5 inches of loose thread sticking out. It’s just sloppy work. If I spent $50 for 3 pieces at Forever 21 every week, I rather save up for 2 weeks and spend $100 on 1 quality piece that can last.
My family loves clothes shopping (my mom’s home looks like an episode of Hoarders) and they love to buy cheap clothing (especially when they go down to the states, to Bellingham). I on the other hand wear the same clothes a lot, even if there’s a hole in it (meh) but spend a bit more on clothing. I don’t really like clothes shopping (e.g. mall shopping) but I am a sucker for outlet malls and warehouse sales. You live in Seattle, how about going shopping at Tulalip? 😉
Ha! I was like…the places you mention sound familiar..?! Are you in the Pacific NW? I want to try the casinos in Tulalip LOL.
I agree that when buying clothes you should buy it because you really like it and not because it’s on sale for a ridiculously low price. Buying it simply for the low price will not get you satisfied. You must really like it, maybe need it, and at the a low price is the ultimate combo. But if the item(s) is at a higher price, you have to factor in how much you really want and if you going to have it in the long term to make the purchase worth it.
Good luck with the wardrobe overhaul Lily!!
Hehe thanks Kris! I’ll need to rid of my junk clothes first.
Have you tried Nordstrom Rack? They have gorgeous clothes and you can sort by best value which can be fun. Yes this jacket costs forty dollars now but it is 92 percent off!
Also if you go to science fiction or fantasy conventions you can totally wear your hanfus!
Yes! I almost brought a $100 giftcard during a 15% off promo last year but my husband talked me out of it. If the deal pops back up I might snag it. Nordstrom Rack sounds like high end thrifting – yes please! Hehe.
I go to the outlet mall once every 3 years with a friend. I spent ~$500 give or take and end up with a huge amount of clothing, mostly Ann Taylor and loft.
I never buy anything I don’t love. There’s so much inexpensive stuff on clearance racks only because the season is changing.
Once per 3 years?!??! Woaaaah. That’s actually really frugal even for $500! That’s amazing!!!
Mr. Groovy says
I’m so sartorially challenged it’s ridiculous. My wardrobe consists of the finest apparel one can yank off the shelves and racks of Walmart and Kohl’s. Very sad. But I never looked at clothes as an investment. Perhaps it’s time to rethink things. I love the following line of yours. It makes so much sense.
“I rather have 2 expensive but amazing things that I love than 12 cheap crappie things that I will eventually hate.”
It applies to friends too! It applies to everything hehehe 😀
Thanks for the shoutouts Lily! Haha, I don’t even remember creating the term ebay cleanse, but I need all sorts of cleanses in my life…I just took some pictures of old stuff I need to sell so we can be ebay cleanse buddies!
I had the exact same pilling issue happen to me with the softest…cheapest…red plush blanket for $10 from Ross. I didn’t even wash it but it pilled EVERYWHERE. It was all over the carpet, all over my other blankets, all over my pjs that I slept in. It even ended up on everything in my closet! I found remnants of the pilling even a year after I threw it out. Never again…
I think the issue with not buying new is the fit. You never know what it’s like online, I’d suggest Yelping some higher end consignment shops in Seattle! I’ve bought some high end things that I just convinced myself I loved because of the *quality* but I still hated them because they weren’t me or I realized later they fit really awkwardly. I’m also terrified whenever I want to reboot my closet because I’m worried I’ll get carried away replacing everything that I overlook small details and again end up with things I hate. I’m trying to do a small reboot (also inspired by Luxe…and reading/watching too many things about minimalism) myself at the moment though, so wish me luck!! That’s why I need to sell things I eBay…money for the goods 😀
I love how you came out as a closet hanfu lover. HAHA, I’ve done similar things buying clothes I thought were so interesting/cool but never having the guts to actually wear. They always attracted so much attention or made me feel uncomfortable at the idea they could attract attention (read: knee high white converses…what was I thinking, good lord)
I wish we can arrange a hanfu party where we can all wear it together and not few awkward! I once helped my husband planned for a party honoring mid-autumn festival in college. And I did it so I can wear my qipao in public 🙂
Hanfu party in Seattle! That would be soooooooo cool.
I totally hate Ross Jing. The magenta jacket my mom brought – chances are it’s 99% likely from Ross. I thought it was a good deal but it’s rare. The things I buy are so lackluster. Even their high end brands aren’t so high end (more just hyped).
Oh that’s a phenomenal idea! There are some higher end consignments near the wealthier neighborhoods. I am going to be so strict with myself though. I need to make a gameplan like Luxe says to do.
>_< Omg was I in the closet. Haha, I still am *waves from the closet* - I think I just like the idea of it because I grew up watching the dramas. I don't want to wear it out. I'll trip over myself because they're so long! 🙂
Hi there, I ran into your blog from one of FAF’s post and has been obsessed. I have to say we have soooo much in common. You might think this is super creepy, but I’d really love to meet you in person some time 😛 As for clothes, quite the opposite. I love my closet. I am not very frugal on things I use daily, laptop, phone, purse, makeup brush, and even water bottles. I don’t have lots of things, but the things I have and I use often, I only buy what I absolutely love and won’t compromise just because the 2nd best is cheaper. I apply the same philosophy to clothes. Not that my clothes are expensive, but I love then and feel happy wearing them.
Here are the crazy similarities!
1. Chinese/American Couple
2. I am 27 & my hubby is 30
3. We live in Seattle as well
4. I love love love 汉服，not such much 大布娃娃，but my style is more on the cute side vs typical American chic.
5. We also run ABB and are on a similar journey to FI.
oh, I forgot to say, with regards to Hanfu, this summer when I went back to China, I went to a studio that specialized in Ancient Chinese outfit photography and took photos. It is like a dream come true!!! I do also have some 旗袍 that I occasionally wear in public (afternoon tea, etc) 🙂
Lol you’re like freaking me out EC! That’s soooo many things in common! We can have a greet in person >_< but I'm shy. Gimme time to make myself a person again haha. Oh I've heard of those studios! How much do they cost? It's very tempting, I like whatever filter they use to make people extra pretty!
I totally freaked out when I found your blog! so many things in common! The studio cost varies very drastically by city and the type of model they operate under. The one I went to did a great job and cost only about $200 (4 outfits & 25 pictures included and the rest to purchase). But they made it very hard to choose the photos to keep so most people end up purchase a lot more than what’s included. I am pretty sure the girl before me under up with $1000 purchase despite that we chose the same package. I realize I can’t post picture here so I uploaded 2 pictures from the studio here.
Ah I can’t see ittt. Maybe because I’m on mobile and everything is funky. Lol $200 for a set isn’t bad!
Ms. Raggedly Rich says
I think you’re absolutely right about quality vs. quantity. There are some things worth spending more money and investing on, and good clothing’s one of them!
I abhor buying clothes, and I other than a belt, I think the last time I bought stuff was for my Euro-trip to Hell – some hearty shorts and long pants that dry quick and were lighter than jeans. Otherwise I wait around and pounce on stuff friends or family don’t want 😛 Plus it helps that I can fit into most of my Mum’s stuff… I also have some really nice hiking boots that protect my feetsies and ALSO double as motorcycle boots. Safety first! My clothing budget is typically $0, so maybe I can finagle a Christmas/Birthday present from the family for a motorcycle jacket…
Good luck on the eBay cleanse! It sounds like it’s gonna be good.
You lucky duck, having a relative with the same is like doubling your wardrobe. My eBay cleanse isn’t going that well. Half the things are posted…no interest. Ack!
I think you’re right to focus on quality clothing.
My main piece of advice is to get to know your measurements, your color palette, and the cuts you find most flattering. That’ll require doing some in-person shopping. Once you have a good sense of what you like and your sizing for a particular item/brand, only then should you take to ebay/Poshmark/etc. I’ve been burned more than once buying something online that didn’t end up fitting me properly in real life with no possibility for returns.
My other piece of advice is to find and get used to paying a good tailor. That way when thrifting, you can focus on fabric over minor cut issues. Even clothes that fit you pretty well off the rack can be improved in small, subtle ways.
I spend around $250/year net on clothing, but my wardrobe is very small (I only have around 2 weeks worth of clothing), I have some items I have kept in rotation for over a decade, and I resell pieces that I no longer enjoy. If I wanted to spend more I certainly could.
I shop mostly secondhand through thrift stores and Poshmark, but occasionally I’ll buy something new from boutiques that stock smaller, local designers. The big brands that have worked for my style are: Equipment (silk shirts), Everlane (basics), Madewell (casual wear), Brooks Brothers (workwear), MM LaFleur (workwear), and All Saints (for the occasional funky piece). None of these are at the level of Valentino or Versace, but they do allow me to get good workhorse pieces that I can wear again and again and feel proud in.
This is ever brilliant advice!!! I’ll keep all of that in mind. I haven’t heard of any of those brands before (except All Saint but I never gone inside their store) – I’ve been in the garbage bin of clothes so far.
Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life says
“If it’s on sale, get it, doesn’t matter if it doesn’t fit right – just get it!”
This was 100% me when I was a kid. And nothing full price ever fit me anyway so it added to the list of reasons to just pick up the sale item.
I finally snapped out of it at some point, and S-L-O-W-L-Y started adding higher quality items to my wardrobe when I was working in an office. That’s about the time I learned to really hate shopping. The amount of brain power invested in each piece was necessary but ever so annoying. And these days I also have to be true to my daily life which is mainly being out of the public eye (tee shirt and lounge pants!) or running errands (plus sweater, exchange lounge pants for jeans) so I can settle into a slubbier pattern of mostly meh clothes as long as I can dress up about 2-5 outfits. I’m at 3 good outfits right now 🙂