Wednesday, December 6, 2017

In Kinsey's Closet How To | Big Style on a Small Budget


Can I let you in on a little secret?  I do not spend much on my wardrobe. Like at all.  I have had folks ask before if I blow my budget on clothes to maintain new and interesting looks for IKC, and I think they're surprised when they find out I spend more money on dog food than clothes in any given month!  I used to spend a lot on shoes, bags and clothing but I have different priorities now!  So how do you attain a diverse and well stocked closet without going into debt or forgoing necessities?  Here is how I do it!  

Before diving in it is important to share that these are the guidelines I use for myself and have found success with.  These will not work for everyone!  I am a married woman with no children with plenty of free time in any given week to dedicate to shopping, finding inspiration and cultivating my wardrobe.  Now that doesn't mean I spend hours every week shopping.  Realistically I shop about 1-2 hours a month.  If your time is more important than your money then these rules may not work well for your lifestyle!


 Accept that you will not get to buy everything you want- and your life will be fine!
This is the hardest tip on my list y'all.  If you can master this please tell me how you will make things so much easier on yourself in so many areas of life!  I have become a pro at X-ing out of any online browser when I have my virtual cart stocked.  In any given moment I can typically try and justify why I need this dress or how often I would wear that pair of shoes, so to keep myself from draining my bank account I just have to close out.  This seems simple,  but let me tell you that this is something I couldn't do 10 years ago.  If I find myself still thinking about that skirt then I may go online and look for it again in a few days.  Often it has been discounted in price (score!) or is sold out in my color/size which results in me saving that dough anyway.  

Here is what I have learned from learning to accept that I can't have everything I want for my closet: I am FINE.  Fine!  Great actually. I still have a bunch of things I love.  I can still make a killer outfit from items that I already own.  There has never been an instance where I regretted not buying something in the long term.  There have been plenty of times I have regretted buying something though!
I regret these shoes. They cost me $80 and I wore then a grand total of two times!  What a waste!

Sales/Clearance racks are your best friend
This was a lesson I learned from my mom.  When I walk into a store I make a beeline for their clearance and sales racks.  This helps me set my barometer for the rest of my shopping trip.  If I spend time rummaging around items selling for less than $20, it calibrates my mind so when I am later perusing the non-sale items the prices seem outrageous.  Why would I spend $100 for a dress when I just saw one I liked for $19.99?  Here is the deal- you gotta dig.  Sometimes you will find something you like, but they have run out of the color you wanted.  That's okay!  I'd rather have a $10 skirt in my second choice color than my first choice for $50.

There are few things I enjoy more than scoring a deal. Some memorable items have included this suede skirt which I purchased for $8, this Banana Republic top for $11, and this Loft denim jacket for $16! If I give myself a modest budget for a shopping trip, it is always way more satisfying to leave with a few items I enjoy rather than one "investment piece".  It's all about what matters to you.  
This dress was $9 at New York & Company.  The clutch was FREE with a fragrance purchase!


 Thrift shop
Shopping at thrift shops seems to skeeve a lot of folks out.  Sure, I get it.  You don't know who wore the clothes before you or when it was last washed.  However, you are almost guaranteed that any item you score is going to seem one-of-a-kind. So... get over it!  Goodwill, consignment shops and second-hand shops are typically my go-to for unique items that don't bust my clothing budget.  I get so much satisfaction telling people "Oh this?  I snagged it for a buck at Goodwill!"  
This skirt was $12 at a second hand shop!

Find pieces you can wear several different ways
This tip was a big time eye opener for me.  A dress can be worn as is, tucked into a skirt or pants as a top or even as a skirt!  A button up can be worn as a makeshift cardigan, buttoned up traditionally or layered under another shirt to give it more mileage.  

This became apparent when I did my first 30 for 30 challenge and needed to find a way to make one item work for several outfits while still keeping it interesting.  This expanded my closet and creativity without purchasing a single new item.
This Banana Republic wrap dress has been worn as a dress, skirt and top throughout the years!

 Look unexpected places
I remember very clearly receiving a compliment on an item I was wearing only to have the compliment giver turn her nose up when she found out where I bought it.  "You shop there?  Ewww."  Yup!  I will shop almost anywhere if I think I can find something I like!  I have found some of my favorite items at discount retailers, grungy thrift shops and budget department stores.  Look everywhere!  Think you can't find something cute at Macy's, JCPenney or Kmart?  Think again!  People being snobby about where people buy their clothes is a huge turnoff, so just shop wherever your budget allows you to!
This suede jacket was scored at a budget department store for $14.
For more inspo, check out my IKC Pinterest page.  Happy hunting!

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