Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Frugal Fashionista

Like many of you I suffer from being a femme frugal as much as I benefit from it. In this case, I’m talking about my poor wardrobe. Oh sure, the frugal part of me makes sure everything was on sale and a good deal, but oh...the femme part of me...That part of me demands a new wardrobe with at least three of the latest trends each season, new stand-out pieces, and starting from scratch every other year!

Luckily, I have some safety valves to keep me in line: a mother who saved her what is now vintage late ‘70s fashion, a sister who goes through the same femme issues I do and is almost exactly my size, and a four day work week. Also, as noted in my About Me, I have a passion for scheduling. Clothes? you say, schedule clothes? Yes! Here are some basic tips:
1. Know how often you are willing do laundry – In my case, once every one/two weeks. Maybe that sounds like a long time, but I should mention that I do have a perfectly new, clean outfit (and undergarments!) for each of those 14 days, plus gym and sleeping clothes. Guys, I must insist you go along with me on this!
2. Know your limitations – This would be your storage space, budget, etc. Having clothes at the expense of something vital (food, rent, or otherwise) is a bad idea. Having an acknowledged, budgeted splurge is normal (such as a $150 Catherine Malendrino dress…*whistles innocently*) Having a closet full of splurges means, well...usually nothing good. Also, storage space is a big issue. If you can only fit a schedule of 1 weeks worth of outfits in your space, then that’s it, my friend, no more for you! If you can fit more, want more, and can afford more, then great. Just make sure it’s all stuff you actually wear.
3. After you schedule your outfits, donate or throw away everything that isn’t on that list or another season’s list. For me this means that if a piece of clothing isn’t in my top 14 things to wear for that season, there’s no real reason to keep it, unless it’s a funeral outfit or formal dress or something.

So, besides used clothes, how do I manage? One word, as of now anyway, which is: Kohl’s. They are, honestly, just plain better than JCPenny’s in terms of quality, Sear’s you all should write off completely, because if you shop their juniors section it’s basically trash and their misses section is trashy *and* useless, and Kohl’s also beats the pants off Macy’s prices. This year Kohl’s had amazing Black Friday weekend sales in November (scored two sweaters for $17 total!) and after-Christmas sales (sweater dress=$9.39). I was intent on adding a boyfriend-style sweater, which, with this secret I’m about to share should ran me only $2! If you go to the Kohl’s website, you can register your email address and receive a printable $5 off any purchase coupon (within 10days)! Or you can put your email on a card that the cashier provides at the check-out and leave it with him/her to register. Plus you’ll be updated on current sales, both in stores and online. If you have more than one email address or a friend willing to loan you their's, you can get coupons for those and use them yourself (all on separate purchases, of course). I don’t advocate being sneaky usually, but they want to get the word out and we—we just want to buy their clothes, is that so wrong? Please don’t tattle on me…*hides*

Finally here’s the schedule of winter clothes that I’m keeping for the work week now:
Mon.: Pink Shirt, Black Skirt, Blue Sweater/Blue Shirt, Black Skirt, Blue Sweater
Tues.: White Tunic Sweater, Skinny Jeans/White Blouse, Argyle Vest, Tan Corduroys
Wed.: Black Sweater, Plaid Skirt/Grey Sweater Dress, leggings
Thurs.: Purple Sweater, Tan Corduroys/Teal Sweater, Tan Corduroys

I could go into more detail, but basically, what I was going for was variety of color and style (these sweaters all vary in length, neck cut, and/or material). Also, I try to wear a skirt or dress at least twice a week to work (femme!). Yes, sometimes I wear a pair of pants or skirt twice during my schedule, but I think that’s totally acceptable, as is re-wearing a sweater that is worn over a long-sleeve shirt. Mixing jewelry and accessories also goes a long way.

Happy frugaling!

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