I have been asked on several occasions to post about dressing on a budget. This a particularly difficult subject. One woman’s budget can be different to another’s. What might be cheap to one woman might seem expensive to another.
I have had times in my life when I have had little money to spend on clothes. I spent many years bringing up my two children on my own. At the same time I was building up my image and coaching consultancy and money was tight. My business involved selling image consultancy services to large corporations. I therefore had to look smart, currant and professional. Not easy.
Interestingly I tended to invest as much money as I could in well cut suits and coats. They seemed expensive at the time however they were well cut and in quality fabrics. Back in those days the high street still offered good quality fabrics. MandS had a range of Italian designed wool suits.
My quality suits lasted well. I could ring the changes with budget priced tops in different styles and colours. My shoes had to be good quality and comfortable as I was often standing all day.
My off duty clothes consisted of jeans and sweaters. I remember having a great mac which lasted years.
So what advice would I give if you are dressing on a limited budget. I find charity shops and second hand shops great hunting grounds. It takes perseverance. If you have a charity or second hand shop close it is worth popping in on a regular basis. You never know you might find a gem.
Nowadays there are more options. TKMaxx can often turn up some great designer pieces. There are also several online sales sites like Vente Privee and Secretsales.
Another strategy I use is shopping in the sales. Nowadays there are sales on somewhere most of the year. I shop on sites or in shops that I know and like. I sometimes I watch a particular piece and hope that it turns up in the sale in my size. It is a bit of a lottery but I have some great pieces in my wardrobe from being patient.
What I don’t do is compromise on style, fit and quality. I do not find that it is worth it in the long run. My series “shop your closet” shows how long I keep my good quality clothes. If you consider “cost per wear” many of them must be minus by now.
I would recommend you go through your wardrobe. See if you are buying two budget garments where you could have bought one good quality one for the same price. Check where you have wastage.
The clothes I feature on this blog are mostly mid-range. Prices that I can afford or aspire to. I could show budget price garments on the blog. However as the blog has grown I have learnt from my own mistakes and do not feel that is the direction I want to go. There are excellent blogs out there who offer better advice on shopping on a budget. As I get older I feel that quality over quantity wins every time.
GOOD SOURCES FOR BARGAINS
NORDSTROM – Seems to have a year round sale section
JOHN LEWIS – Has a special offer section
THE OUTNET – Is a good resource if you like designer pieces at reduced prices
UNIQLO – I find that Uniqlo is a good hunting ground for basics at good prices
BODEN – Has a clearance section. Low on sizes and mostly summer orientated.
EXAMPLES OF HOW I HAVE SHOPPED ON A BUDGET.
In my collage my cream jacket is from Zara (£29.99 from memory)
My black leather jacket is the oldest garment I own. Purchased in 1985 from AgnesB in Paris (has been altered to look more modern)
Black & White coat from MandS (£50 in the sale)
Long blue cashmere cardigan from TKMaxx (can’t remember the price)
Red wrap coat. Bought about 10 years ago from TKMaxx by Nicole Farhi.
Sheepskin coat (Probably the most expensive garment I have ever purchased) Purchased around 1998 from a catalogue company. By Cerrutti. I lusted after it for months and waited till it was in their sale.