Not Keeping up with the Joneses- Fashion on a Budget

My husband informed me a few months back that I needed some new clothes.  I absolutely dread clothes shopping and since we’ve been on the Dave Ramsey’s baby step’s plan I have had an excuse not to go clothes shopping.  Part of being on the paying down debt plan is training myself that if I can’t buy it at the grocery store (or the hardware store).  I probably don’t need it and for the past year (unless it’s been socks, underwear or something for an ever growing toddler) I haven’t felt as if I needed it.

My husband felt otherwise.  He felt some of my clothes were getting a little worn, and since I recently got a fairly large bonus at work he asked me to set aside some of the money and buy some new clothes.  So then the question becomes how do you look fashionable on a budget?  Even though I don’t like clothes shopping I tend to have expensive taste when I do go shopping.  I love the Gap, Express, Ann Taylor, Anthropologie, Banana Republic, Kenneth Cole, etc.  It’s been years since I’ve actually been into one of those stores, but I do remember the last time I bought jeans from Express (over five years ago) it was over $50 per pair.  Today, I cannot fathom spending $50 one ONE pair of jeans.  These days my thought process is more like, can I get this for $20 or less?

The truth is, you CAN get a nice pair of jeans with the fancy label for less than $20 a pair, you just have to be willing to put forth a little more effort than you might by just running into your favorite retail store.  There are many resale shops out there. You just have to find a few that meet your needs.

Style Encore is where I headed to physically try on some jeans.  Jeans tend to be the one thing I HAVE to put on my body to make sure they will fit.   Style Encore is a resale shop that sells gently used clothes with designer labels.   You would be amazed at the items you can find that look like they’ve never been worn.  It takes a little longer to leaf through the clothing in your size to maybe find what you’re looking for, and they aren’t always going to have what you are looking for but the price you pay is definitely a bargain compared to full retail price (even with sales and “bonus bucks”).  I will also throw in that I have scored some great deals at GoodWill.  When I was pregnant I got a load of maternity clothes for about $80 and I found a $20 bill in one of the pants pockets of the items I bought.

Thredup is my favorite online resale shop.  Since I hate shopping in stores I love that I can head to Thredup’s website, sort and filter what I’m looking for by size, color and type of clothes and it gives me pages of items to look at.  This is better than shopping at one particular store because there are so many different brands and styles.  If you’re hunting for  a long sleeve black sweater or a short sleeved purple top you don’t have to go to 8 different stores to find exactly what you are looking for.  I have found shipping to be fairly quick and returns to be fast and easy if you pick something that doesn’t end up agreeing with you.  Everything I have gotten has been in great condition and they always have several items listed that are new with tags for great prices.

Most online and retail resale shops also buy clothes so if you have anything in your closet you were putting in the Goodwill pile, check the labels first. You can bring these items to Style Encore or send them to Thredup for a tiny bit of cash or store credit.  It isn’t ever much, but it’s more than you would get from Goodwill which can further cut your final bill.

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