It’s that time again, a new school year has begun! Just because you’re ready to look your best for back to school doesn’t mean you have to spend an arm and a leg to get there. Let’s have an in-depth talk about different aspects of fashion and what you can do to save money while still looking fabulous. Today, we’ll talk discuss clothing.
Before we get into the bargain-hunting aspect of clothes, let’s talk Fashion 101. Back to school is nearly here, and the fashions of the season have already been strutted down the runway. Before you do your own little turn on the catwalk, however, there are some things to consider when buying new clothes.
Women can get pretty obsessed with numbers: how much we weigh, what size clothes we wear. Remember, ladies, size is just a number — and looking frumpy in a size 8 isn’t going to make you feel as good about yourself as looking fabulous in a size 10. Let’s face it: most of us aren’t supermodels — hell, even most supermodels are airbrushed to look that good.
Learn to be comfortable with your size. Your legs and bottom aren’t the only things to consider when you’re buying a sexy new pair of jeans. We’ve all seen what a “muffin top” looks like, that bulge over the top of your jeans when they’re a little too snug. Don’t try to squeeze into a size that’s too small — and, on the same token, don’t wear clothes that are sizes too big; looking like you’re swimming in your clothes is just as unflattering as all of those bulges from clothes that are too small.
There are a few simple tricks you can use when you dress to flatter your figure. If you’re worried about your tummy, avoid tight-fitting tops and try a flattering tunic instead. If you’re not comfortable with the junk in your trunk, try wearing a flowing skirt instead of a tight mini-skirt. If you’re still worried about your body image, there are slimming garments that you can wear under your clothes to help smooth out those pesky bulges, such as Spanx or Assets.
Of course, you don’t just want to focus on what you feel is negative. Take time to accentuate the parts of your body you’re proud of. If you have a slender waist, show it off with a chunky belt. If you have a lovely neckline, accentuate it with an eye-catching necklace. Wear a sleeveless top to show off your toned arms, or bracelets and rings to attract attention to your lovely hands.
Be comfortable with yourself and who you are. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes; when you learn how to dress to compliment your body type, you’ll feel more confident and happier since you’re no longer trying to hide who you are behind frumpy, ill-fitting clothes.
That said, let’s talk about where to get the best deals for your dollars when it comes to fashion.
Avoid Wal-Mart and K-Mart and Other-Marts.
You might think that you’re getting a deal when you impulse buy a cute top at Wal-Mart while you’re there shopping for cat food, but don’t let that price tag fool you: it’s not worth the money. Clothes from stores like these are often made from cheaper materials and, while they may look nice at first, will wear out far quicker than their high-end counterparts. “But I want to spend less on my clothing!” I hear you cry in defiance of my advice.
All I can say is: trust me, young Padawan — and keep reading.
Check out bargain stores.
Stores like TJ Maxx and Ross are great ways to scope out bargains on name brand clothing and other items. It can be a little more difficult to find things in these stores because there’s no consistency as to what they carry, but they’re a great way to shop if you need something spontaneous or don’t quite know what you’re looking for. Even Target has a nicer quality of clothes than Wal-Mart does, but for the money, you could buy more expensive brands for about the same price if you invest in…
Sales, sales, sales!
I love shopping for clothes at department stores like Nordstrom and Macy’s, along with clothing staples like Kohls. These are the kinds of places you can find excellent quality clothing that’s worth your dollar. I know you’re thinking that department stores aren’t the best way to shop and save money, but you’re wrong! Most people are too intimidated by price tags to even step into stores like Nordstrom and Macy’s, but if you do, you’ll find that wonder and amazement (not to mention fashion) await you in the sales racks. Save your shopping money for a sale day and head to the department store when they offer extra savings on top of sales prices.
As an example, let me tell you the tale of the Anne Klein suit I bought at Macy’s. A beautiful chocolate brown linen thing of beauty. Blazer: $99.98. Pants: $59.98. Skirt: $49.98. Pre-tax total: $209.94. I bought these from Macy’s during a 75% clearance sale. Blazer: $25. Pants: $15. Skirt: $12.50. Pre-tax total: $52.50. On top of that, my mom had given me a certificate for 25% off my total purchase. Before tax, I paid $39.38 for those three pieces; ten bucks less than just the skirt at regular price. You won’t always find super amazing deals like this, but if you look hard enough, plenty of fashion is out there, waiting for you to snatch it up.
If you shop your favorite brands enough in-store to know what size you wear and how the clothes fit, shopping online is another great way to save as it’s a good way to sort through clothes by size and price — and since many of these online stores want to get rid of their inventory to make room for the new stuff, you can sometimes find incredible sales on clearance. An adorable $80 polka-dot dress on Macys.com might be on sale for only $30 during a 50-75% off clearance sale. Many online stores have flat-rate shipping, especially during sales, or even free shipping to the actual department store, so even though you’re shopping online, the cost to get your clothes from the warehouse to your home won’t take a big chunk of change out of your wallet.
Shopping for clothes off-season works great, too. You can buy sweaters in May and bathing suits in December for great deals; then just safely store them until the season is right! If you’re worried about your clothes going out of style, just remember that while prints may come and go, black is forever! And if you look good in red, you’ll look good in red even if blue is what’s in this season.
If you haven’t already, check out Monday’s article about buying cosmetics and beauty essentials on a budget. Stay tuned for Friday, when we’ll wrap up our discussion by talking about accessories.