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Any thoughts for building a wardrobe on a budget?

April 16th, 2014 at 05:40 am


Well, I've been a SAHM forever and most of my socialization out is with like-minded moms who are dressed pretty basic. I do have the one or two "go to" outfits for more formal volunteer meetings, etc.

Now I am in school and will be entering the work force (part time) next year. I'm down about ten pounds and all of the things that I have are old and baggy or just plain don't look right.

I was out and about yesterday and looked at clothes at Target and Kohls. I'm in need of a total overhaul and find it overwhelming. It is far easier for me to outfit my husband and kids, and I don't know why.

My thoughts are to find some basic things for summer in a similar color scheme to mix and match. (Dresses have always worked easier for me, less trying to pull things together).

Any advice on where to begin, keeping in mind that I am fashionably challenged.

7 Responses to “Any thoughts for building a wardrobe on a budget?”

  1. just a thought Says:

    I have a similar problem in that I much prefer to buy clothes for my husband and son, and balk at buying for myself. My strategy is to buy a flattering pair of black slacks, a flattering pair of grey or navy slacks, and a flattering pair of denim slacks (not jeans), and then supplement with some basic plain or subtly patterned tops in various colors. Then I pull the look together with a couple of pairs of cute shoes (flats, usually) in black and a bright color like red. This pretty much covers all the basics for work. And I always get comments (good comments) on my shoes.

    I am usually willing to spend a little more for flattering pants and cute, but comfortable, shoes. Then I spend a little less for the tops.

    If you prefer the dress route, I would try to stick to plain colors (or subtle patterns) that hit at the knee, and then pair with cute shoes. The outfit is all about the shoes Smile

  2. crazyliblady Says:

    If there are thrift stores in your area, check to see if any of them have clothes that are more for professionals. Look for basic items, like skirts, blazers, khaki slacks, sweaters, and blouses. When I first started out years ago, I would opt for white or cream colored sweaters and blouses, black and tan skirts and pants, and use blazers and scarves to add color. When you are shopping, think about how you would use an item. Try to use one item, a pair of slacks for example, to create several different outfits to make the most out of your wardrobe. That way you don't wind up with a bunch of one type of thing and lacking something you need. And since you said you have some items that no longer, perhaps you could take them to a consignment shop or donate them to charity so that someone else could use them.

    http://www.wikihow.com/Buy-an-Office-Wardrobe-on-a-Budget

  3. MonkeyMama Says:

    I'd look at thrift shops, for one.

    This is maybe more because my feet and lower half are much harder to shop for, but I tend to stick to one pair of shoes, a couple of pairs of pants, and then a variety of tops. I don't get the feeling anyone particularly notices if you wear the same shoes and pants every single day. (Unless they stand out, but I like simple black for the most part). For the long run, I always allow myself a few new tops a year, to keep it interesting, which costs virtually nothing if I Wait for sales and Kohls coupons.

    This year I hit some good sales at Kohls and did a major revamp of my wardrobe. One flattering pencil skirt. Two flattering casual pants (that might work for work, will think about it in the summer). 5 or 6 shirts that would work for all seasons. They look WAY more expensive than they are. I paid closer to $10 per shirt. It was like an entire new wardrobe, for me. I couldn't find any new pants this year, my old work pants are getting worn. But I found a pair that had been forgotten in my closet, maybe the last time I gained a few pounds. I always have to dress up a bit more for client meetings in the winter and spring, but with 2-3 appointments per week, that worked. I don't think I wore one dress this year. I also usually try to buy one dress per year. Over the years though, I now have enough dresses. I have enough now to rotate through a bit and not look like I *never* go shopping. If not, one new dress a year spices things up a bit. Which is what I had been doing over the last several years.

    Good Luck!

  4. Mooshocker Says:

    Might I suggest doing what I do.....buy two new suites from the Men's Warehouse every other year (BOGO)....grab a few ties with the savings, some new black socks, a pair of new wingtips, a new belt, some Hanes T-Shirts and bam....you are all set for the next 24 months....oh wait, you YOU ARE A GIRL......lolololololool....sorry....all joking aside, I barely understand how women's mind's work let alone their wardrobe.......hahahahah Jamie

  5. MonkeyMama Says:

    P.S. When starting over mostly from scratch, I'd start with the thrift shops. I bought all my suits from thrift shops and places like Ross or Marshalls. I found a lot of great professional stuff when I Was a starving college student looking for a professional wardrobe.

  6. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    If you generally like Target, look online where, last time I looked, they had hundreds of dresses that are not in-store. Every Goodwill I've been in over the last several years has a lot of NEW clothing donated by Target. Summer blouses seem especially plentiful.

  7. CB in the City Says:

    The Goodwills in our area (and I do mean yours & mine!) get new clothing donations from Target. And they get wonderful castoffs from all the wealthy ladies in this area.

    I would definitely start with Goodwill. Just pick out the nicest things in your size; don't worry about matching/mixing yet. Match and mix what you can, but then take all those pieces to a retail store you like and finish off the outfits with strategic buys. You can get a great new wardrobe really cheap this way. I did this years ago when I took a new job.

    Since you are a small size (I've surmised from your posts) you should have a very good selection!

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