Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Thrifty Girl's Guide To: Shopping For Clothes

[As published on Emmagem.com HERE]

I love clothes. When I moved to KL 7 years ago, all I had with me was a suitcase. Now I have three cupboards that are bursting with clothes, and that’s after spring-cleaning once a year (at least I try to). I sustain my clothes-buying hobby by following a few simple rules, so I can enjoy the thrill of wearing something new without having to burn a hole in my purse.

Set a price limit.
Mine is pretty straightforward – RM30 for tops and RM50 for dresses but yours could be RM100 and RM300, up to you.  I don’t normally follow brands – they’re just fancy labels with extravagant price tags but everyone has a Gucci or a Coach bag these days, and why not. However, anything that goes beyond your limit should be categorized as a splurge, which brings us to the next point…

Think it over (multiple times).
Whenever I want something (that’s not very cheap,  over my planned budget), I mull it over. Is it versatile enough to be worn with what I already own? Is it a passing trend that will die down in a couple of months? Will I still like it after, say, one year?

Buy when it’s on sale.
I visit my favourite stores very frequently, for two reasons: a) to check if there are any clearance items, and b) to see if the normal-priced item I’m eyeing is on sale. If it’s on discount and the price is within my limit, I buy it. Clothes are not like food – there’s no expiry date if you buy smart. The miniskirt I bought when I was in high school? I’m still wearing it now.

Invest more $$ in black staples.
Black coordinates are the most versatile, and can be worn over and over again with virtually everything in your wardrobe. Look for good-quality fabrics and flattering cuts that withstand the test of time. Key black items to own: pants (non-stretchable fabric), mini skirt, shirt, spaghetti strap top, shoes, bag, clutch. Don’t invest in coloured items or trendy prints, because your style might change and you’re left with an expensive item that you don’t like anymore.

Buy dupes if possible.
Do you really need that nondescript cardigan from Zara that costs RM199? No, because you can easily find something similar with equally good quality for less than RM50 at FOS or Times Square. You just need to keep your eyes peeled for good deals. When we say ‘dupes’, we mean basic designs, not imitations of designer items.

Visit second hand stores.
You won’t believe what you can find at a second-hand store (lovingly referred to as ‘bundle shops’ in Malaysia). I’ve gotten an authentic Ralph Lauren shirt for RM12, and a pair of Anna Sui pumps for RM7 – not kidding! Uniqlo shirts are often sold for RM5 each, and if you’re into Japanese brands, yay! I managed to get a Cecil McBee dress for RM5, and a Wakatsuki Chinatsu top for RM5 (original price RM200 and beyond)!

Don’t buy it if everyone’s wearing it.
Best example: the Zara origami skort. Everyone has one, and it’s really boring. Some trends come and go really fast, like the fishtail/dipped hem skirt, tattoo-inspired stockings and creepers, to name a few. My suggestion: if it ain’t dirt cheap, it’s ain’t worth it. I’d rather spend the same amount of money on something that I can recycle for years.

With the Year End Sales in full effect, what are you waiting for? Time to shop for the coming new year!
Excited Shopping Woman
(Images: hotelindigobirmingham.co.uk, leadingandlovingit.com, mylot.com, aol.co.uk, tumblr.com, duniafashyon.com)

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