You don’t have to let a small clothing budget strip you of sartorial creativity. Even with limited funds, you can still construct or expand your wardrobe with a few essential strategies. In additional, a few key maintenance tricks will help keep the clothes you buy in great condition for a long time. Follow these tips to craft and maintain a wardrobe that reflects your classy elegance without breaking the bank.
Change Your Garment Care Regimen
You might be surprised to learn that the ways in which you care for your clothes could be wearing them out. Cosmopolitan contributor Charles Manning revealed in a November 2014 article that washing clothes too often is unwise, as it fades colors and wears out the fabrics. Manning suggests spot-treating minor stains with a sponge or brush. He also recommends an unusual tip for items that are starting to smell: place them in the freezer overnight. If that doesn’t appeal to you, writer Alina Bradford advises letting items air out by hanging them up in this July 2016 CNET article.
When you do wash and iron clothes, following gentler methods will also extend their lifetimes. Manning proposes swapping your traditional iron for a steamer to remove wrinkles, as direct heat will fade many fabrics. Bradford advises skipping the dryer whenever possible, as the tumbling process can roughen fabrics and make them appear faded. When you must machine dry an item, she recommends turning it inside out before tossing it into the dryer. Finally, Bradford says that a half-cup of vinegar added to each wash load assists in preventing colors from fading.
Be Selective in What You Buy
Trendy pieces are great and can add a little flair to your wardrobe. Nevertheless, sticking to timeless garments will make your clothing dollar go much further. It’s a good idea to avoid cheaply made items with excessive detailing, such as jeweled necklines or distressed denim, as these may quickly go out of style and look cheap after a few launderings. With the money you save by purchasing classic garments, you may be able to afford to splurge on better-quality versions of those elaborate pieces you’ve had your eye on, anyway.
Now, you’re probably wondering what basics you should include in your wardrobe. While much of that depends on your profession and lifestyle, essential pieces for office workers should include some dress trousers without pleats, some good-quality short-sleeved and three-quarter sleeve tops and a business suit. Black is probably your best bet for the trousers and suits since it’s a neutral shade that’s the most easily embellished and dressed up. Changing out different tops and accessories will help you sidestep sporting the same look every day.
Finally, selecting some double-duty garments will also ensure that your wardrobe gets much more mileage. For example, a little black dress from a retailer such as Tobi can be easily dressed up or down depending on the venue. Leaders in Heels suggests some flattering combinations that are wearable and office-ready. For instance, matching your LBD with a white jacket or sweater and black-and-white printed accessories affects a sleek, savvy two-tone look.
“When accessorizing, always take off the last thing you put on,” said designer and style icon Coco Chanel. Her words may serve as a useful guide to adding a “wow” factor to each outfit will keeping your looks elegant. Accessories can give any ensemble some flair, but overdoing it can accidentally make your outfit seem cheap. For attire that already makes a statement with detailing such as jeweled necklines or sequins, keep your jewelry simple. On the other hand, a very basic dress or top-and-skirt combo in muted shades could be livened up by a bold, bright necklace.
Stretch Your Dollar While Looking Like a Million Bucks
Finding yourself on a tight budget doesn’t mean you must sacrifice style. The key is employing some useful strategies when it comes to buying and caring for your clothing. Minimizing the frequency at which you wash and dry your garments will help them last longer, as well as adhering to the gentlest care methods possible. Meanwhile, focusing on acquiring basic pieces and adopting a “less is more” mindset with accessories is a smart approach. With these suggestions, you’ll soon be living proof that you don’t have to have a huge bank account to look smart and sophisticated.