Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I wore a dress a while back, a dress that never fails to get compliments, and I realized it was probably the best 80 bucks I spent. I actually remember buying the dress because I was 18, at the end of my senior year and $80.00 for a kid with no job was a load. But here, 5 years later I still get a lot of use out of the thing, and surprisingly it hasn't faded or become worn at all. Then i think about the $150.00 I plunked down 2 years ago for a Bebe dress. I think I wore it all of twice before getting uproariously drunk one night and vomiting all over it. I later sold it on ebay for 60 bucks (ummm I dry cleaned it first).

Anyhoodle, these little anecdotes makes me realize the value in buying something you truly, truly love versus buying what's hip and something you haven't given a lot of thought to. I think back on some of my favorite pieces and I have a skirt from the Gap that was around 50 bucks from when I was 18 (actually...I'm wearing it right now), a hat I bought two years ago for a forgotten sum, a coupel pairs of jeans that are over 2 years old bought for about 130 each and a brocade coat I splurged on for a few hundred when I was 19.

My favorite pieces are not necessarily pieces that cost a lot of money (though at the time they did seem like hefty financial sacrifices), but rather they are ones I wear time and time again. They are my go-tos for when I have nothing to wear. They are the pieces that sit silently in my closet comfortably at ease knowing that when I come to clean the closet out, they will be left there untouched. Most importantly they are pieces that never grow dated or old.

When buying an item, we've already discussed the value in holding off and determining if it is something you truly want. I think when it comes to fashion, this may not always work. Holding off for a bit may seem viable, but dang it if those gladiator sandals that go up to your shins are still to die for after a week of contemplation. So when weighing the decision to purchase fashion I believe in adhering to these valuable self-tests.

Is the piece timeless or of the moment? I would much rather invest my money in pieces that have a quality shape and material, ones I know will stand the test of time, then throw away 20 bucks on a peasant skirt I would only wear for a season (because, we all know what happened with that trend). By choosing timeless classics, no matter the price, you are ensuring that the piece will be worn for years to come (see: my J. Crew dress, any basic skirt, pants that fit like a dream).

Cost per Wear usage
Ok, so it's no secret I am a HUGE Christian Louboutin shoe fan. I mean, I see those babies and I simply drool and mumble "mmmggggooood" Would I buy a pair? At this point, most likely not. Granted these are shoes that will, most likely, withstand my timeless test, however, have you actually seen a Christian Louboutin shoe? The chances of me wearing those babies enough times to make up for the $600-plus price is unlikely. I have a classic little black dress I bought at Express a couple years ago. It is not necessarily something I wear on a daily basis, but it is a perfect piece when the occasion calls for. Timeless? Absolutely. Low cost per wear? At $50 I can wear it a few times a feel justified in the purchase (and I do).

Mix and Match Capability
Don't you hate when you buy an absolutely gorgeous item, only to be able to wear it with one other coordinating piece? I sure do. Nothing is more frustrating and useless. What good is that adorable little zebra print capelet if it really only goes with those black capri pants? This is why I also put my items through a mix and match test. When I see a piece I melt over, I quickly do a mental invetory of the items in my closet that would compliment it. The desired item must coordinate with at least three pieces already in my closet (shoes, pants, tops, jackets etc). This ensures I squeeze multiple outfits from one piece. Many of you already know how the surrounding items can completely change the look and feel of a single piece, so it's important that I have clothes that can pull double duty.

When in Doubt: Accessorize
You can make an entire outfit feel new with the simple addition of an accessory. Buying costume jewlery from Target, Claire's or the like can up the sizzle factor on a piece with out the fizzle on your bank statement. I am especially a fan of "statement" pieces in which a simple white tank top and jeans is adorned with a necklace that speaks for itself. Exquisite jewlery (and I'm nto talking about the baubles that cost an arm and leg here) needs simplicity as it's background, and there is something so chic about a basic top and bottom combined with a gorgeous ring, necklace or bracelet. Headscarfs and hats are also excellent pieces to enhance with.

Is the piece basic enough? This is essentially all of the tests wrapped into one. If you buy a $20.00 white tank top, chances of you passing all the tests are likely. A basic piece that fits like a dream is the ultimate in frugal dressing. Think of your favorite outfits, or your favorite top. You probably wear it a lot, with a lot of items and it probably has flexibility in the things it pairs with. Buying basics can also be jazzed up with your accesories, making a drab outfit pop. So stock up on all those solid color tanks and tee's, get those blue jeans and then wear the heck outta em.

Hopefully, you have gotten some use from these tips (if you didn't dont' tell me). Also, most importantly, getting a great deal is only a great deal if you use the piece! Never buy what you don't need. Happy frugal buying!


  1. festival said...
    This post has been included in the 141st Festival of Frugality at Almost Frugal, going live September 2, 2008. Please make sure to link back to the Festival and or submit it to sites like Digg, Stumble Upon, PF Buzz etc. Thanks for participating!
    Anonymous said...
    Great tips! I totally do the "cost per wear" math all the time.

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