Hello all—and hello Fall, finally!

Fall is my absolute favorite season. The air is crisp, not too chilly yet, and in southern California, it gives us a chance to put away our lightweight linens and cottons and pull out our lusciously colored lightweight wools and cashmere. Yum! Oh well, I digress…

In an earlier post, we described the concept of  “cost per wear.” When making a purchase, consider how many times you’ll wear that item divided by its purchase price. Now, let’s take it a step further and talk about—God forbid—the “B” word: Budget!

Setting a Clothing Budget

Just like any other aspect of your life, planning ahead pays off. By creating a clothing budget, you’ll be less inclined to fall victim to impulse shopping or what I call “pick me up cuz I’ve got the blues” shopping sprees. Figure out how much you expect or want to spend annually, divide that number by 12, and voilà—now you have a monthly clothing savings account. But before you put one dollar in that account, consider these points:

  • Does this amount fit into your budget comfortably?
  • Have you factored in paying yourself first (depositing to your savings)?
  • What percentage of your take-home pay does it represent? (To be on the safe side, you should aim for no more than 5% of your monthly take-home pay.)

Sticking to your budget will not only bring order to your financial life, but you might be motivated to purchase quality pieces that you’ll wear year after year. And, oh yeah, just because you’re socking money away in your clothing budget, that doesn’t mean you have to spend it all each month either. You might decide to take a trip with those unused funds or save up for a major clothing purchase.

Outside of having a clothing budget, there are other creative ways to save money and be the fashionista you were born to be. Here are a few of our favorites:

Increase the Value and Life Span of your Clothes and Accessories

Don’t let an unforeseen rainy day spoil your favorite pair of winter boots. Spend a few dollars on a spray that can protect your leather, suede, canvas, and fabric shoes from the elements and from stains. Not only will your shoes last longer, but you’ll feel more comfortable knowing they’re protected. Taking your shoes to a shoe and/or leather repair shop can do wonders for your shoes and help keep them in tip-top shape. Your local cobbler can replace soles, fix straps, and clean your leather or suede shoes so that they look brand new (or almost brand new!).

Shop Smart

There are so many discount websites and mobile apps out there, so use them to your advantage. If you play your cards right, you can avoid paying full price for anything. This doesn’t apply just to the traditional chain stores like Macy’s or Nordstrom. Check out other sites for amazing deals, such as Bluefly, Ideel, Outnet, Yoox, Rue La La, Gilt, and even Etsy and Amazon. Also make sure to check sites like RetailMeNot for discount codes wherever you shop.

Rent The Runway

Hey, it’s that time of year. Holiday parties, cocktail hours, benefits, and galas. What’s a girl to do? Well, you can be and look like the belle of the ball by visiting special occasion “clothes rental” retailers. Rent The Runway is one of the more popular retailers, but there are many others to explore. These stores don’t just rent out clothes, but also jewelry, accessories, and even handbags as well.

So, fashionistas, as you can see, you can be stylish and savvy with your money at the same time! I’ll be back soon with more money and fashion tips. Until next time...!