This is the first in a three part series on revamping your wardrobe, frugally.
Today we’re looking at how to determine the kinds of clothes you need, for all the different roles in your life. For a long time I worked in jobs where my work wardrobe and my non work wardrobe were one and the same. I didn’t have different clothes for different occasions. I barely even had dress up clothes, and when I did, it always felt a lot like playing dress-up.
Now however, it’s a different story. As I transition roles from teacher, to stay-at-home mom, to graduate student to (hopefully) well paid professional, my wardrobe has to transition along with me. Except… it’s not so easy to redesign your look and your wardrobe when you have limited time to go shopping, a limited budget to buy clothes and an even more limited interest in fancy clothes. I do need to change my wardrobe though, and I need to do so frugally.
The first step in creating a fabulous, frugal closet full of clothes is to identify what kinds of clothes you need to wear. Why should you identify what kind of clothes you need before taking the plunge and delving into your closet? Because doing so will give you a road map of what to look for in what you have and what you need. This approach will save you money in the long run, as you don’t have to wonder if you need something and will use it, or just really want to buy it.
I have five different category of clothes that I need. The first kind of clothes are the grungiest; those needed for painting projects or gardening. The hole-iest of hole-iest, they are clothes that I wouldn’t wear on any other occasion. One step up on the respectability ladder are clothes that I like to change into when I get home from school, or that I lounge around the house in on Sunday mornings. While I don’t mind taking the garbage cans out in these outfits, I wouldn’t want to be seen at the grocery store while wearing them, but they’re not bad enough to paint in yet. Public respectability is no longer an issue with my nice casual clothes, these are the sorts of clothes I can wear to a meeting with my child’s teacher or even to school some days. I also need to have business clothes, nice enough to wear to an interview or in a formal business environment. The final category is for fancy dress clothes, which I need every once in a blue moon; your life might be more glamorous than mine!
The second step before buying is thinking about what you already own.
I’ve gone as far as breaking down how many of each kinds of clothes I need. For example, on the far ends of the spectrum, I need just one grungy outfit (leggings and t shirt) and one nice little black dress that will carry me anywhere. I also only need one lounge-around-the-house ensemble, because, after all, when do I have time to lounge around the house? I need a much wider selection of casual and business wear however.
There are five questions to consider when you look at your clothes. What you do after answering the questions is a judgment call. The goal is that you empty your wardrobe of clothes that you don’t wear.
- Do I love this?
- Does this look good on me?
- Do I wear it?
- Is it in good condition?
- Does it fit into one of the categories of clothes I need?
Other bloggers discussing this topic:
- Frugal Fu asked herself similar questions and ended up donating 80% of her wardrobe to the Salvation Army.
- On Simplicity describes four other methods of cleaning out your closet.
- My Two Dollars shares how to let go of those old clothes.
This is the first in a three part series appearing each Monday. Next Monday we will look at the elements of a frugal wardrobe and at the different pieces you need in each category. Stay tuned for the next two installments, or better yet, subscribed!
Edited to add: