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Analyzing the Cost of Your Wardrobe: Is Cheap Chic Really Saving You Money?

I've really been assessing my wardrobe lately. Not shopping--assessing. As in, looking at all of the clothes I have, getting rid of the things I don't like anymore, and determining if the majority of my cheap chic purchases were actually worth it. Here's what I've found out:

  • Most of my trendier cheap chic pieces were not worth buying. I think that's a pretty logical assumption, considering some of the items I bought last year for $25 just don't make the cut into this year's must-haves. 
  • Even some of my basic or "classic" cheap chic pieces got thrown away. However, in my defense, a good number of these pieces were worn on several ocassions. Additionally, I had owned some of those pieces for more than two years. So they actually have gotten their cost-per-wear.
  • A lot of the cheap jewelry I own, I don't wear. Plus, most of it tarnishes if it sits in the jewelry box too long. I threw most of it out. Granted, a lot of those pieces I had owned for at least a year or more. Nonetheless, I can think of a lot of pieces in there that I had only worn a few times. Jewelry is very easy to forget about, especially if you have a mountain of it stashed in three different jewelry boxes. 
  • I have way too many shoes. And the most expensive "trendy" shoes I have bought, I've never worn. In fact, three of the most expensive shoes in my closet, I have never worn! Never. Gold glitter booties and guitar-heeled shoes apparently don't go with anything I own. They were also impulse purchases. 

I began to wonder, if I have 100 $20 tops, that's $2,000. If I throw away half of those every year, (that's $1,000 worth of merchandise) it really seems like I'm not getting my money's worth. So I started thinking, what if I had bought like 10 really great tops for $100 each, instead of the ones I threw away. Would I have taken better care of them since they cost more money? Would I keep them longer since they would probably have a name brand attached? (Superficial, maybe, but so true.) Or, am I just not making smart purchases? Am I buying too many items because they seem cute and wearable for the moment? I think I'm guilty of both.

After making these assessments, I really needed to figure out what to do about my wardrobe. I haven't gone shopping in a while because I'm trying to save my money, but since making these assessments about my fashion spending habits, I've started looking at places like TheOutnet. I'm starting to be a bit more conscious of how I spend my money, and I feel like I need to make smarter purchases when it comes to clothing. Now, I'm not saying that I'm about to stop being Beauty and the Budget, so don't get too teary eyed! I'm not going anywhere! I'm just trying to figure out if I actually spend more money on affordable clothes, as opposed to spending less money on expensive clothing over time. 

I do have a lot of great affordable pieces (all under $40) that I wear all of the time, namely my button up blouses and bright colored trousers. I still think you can buy affordable clothing and save money, if you're smart about it. I'm definitely going to look into making smarter purchases, and perhaps I might buy a few designer pieces (on sale of course) to see how that works out for me and my budget. 

What about your wardrobe: Is cheap chic really saving you money?

Posted on June 19, 2012 at 9:00AM | Permalink | 0 Comments

posted by

I try to be careful with buying cheap chic because if I only wear it 4 or 5 times and it ends up with those little fuzzballs all over it, it wasn't worth it. Even if you are careful you can still spend money on something that won't last. The scary thing about buying more expensive pieces is that you never know if you're going to love it next year, and if you aren't, it's better to have paid 25$ rather than 100$. It's a balancing act.

posted by Anonymous

I've been thinking about this a lot lately and having gotten a lot pickier about the fit of my clothes as I have gotten older I think the savings of fast fashion are a wash. I had a little money to spend on clothes for the summer and it took me weeks to spend it because I couldn't find things I liked that fit well. I thought even if I only spent $20 on a shirt it wasn't worth it if it didn't fit just right. So in the end, I spent so much time finding things that were just right that it canceled out the savings.

posted by

I recently spent more on a pair of pants because they fit better. I don't often do this but I think it was worth it.

posted by

Fit is most definitely important! I once read that Michelle Obama says that it's important for your clothing to fit properly because you shouldn't have to adjust your outfit all night--it's too much of a distraction. Ever since I read that, I've really been looking for the perfect pair of jeans because for me, stretch to fit just isn't working! I hate constantly pulling them up at work or when I go out with friends. It's so annoying, I'm definitely willing to pay more for the perfect pair of jeans, or any other type of garment that fits well!

posted by

After organizing my closet at the start of 2012, I donated and sold a lot of my trendy cheap chic items. I found that most of these pieces didn't make the cut after a season of two and as you mentioned in your post I felt as if I'd wasted my money.

I adopted a new shopping philosophy for 2012 and like to think of my closet as my "fashion museum" - only purchasing pieces that hold value and that I would enjoy showcasing for years to come. This has helped me a great deal and I couldn't be happier with my styling options. I think of it as a work in progress and I add pieces each month. I find it exciting to shop around hunting for great deals on designer items and high quality pieces. Hope this helps :-)

posted by

Tayla I think that is a great philosophy to leave by! And I agree with many of the commenters here it is totally a balancing act! Sometimes it is worth it splurge on an item because you know you will love it for years. If there is a fun trend but I am not sure I am going to love it forever, I will sometimes try a cheap version and see how it goes. Great thoughtful post as always!

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