Are you looking for frugal fashion tips so you can save money and look your best?
You can achieve your fashionable dreams without paying retail prices!
I can help you by providing insights on what I’ve done…and more!
Let’s get started with the frugal fashion guide for the working and casual woman.
A Woman’s Guide To Frugal Fashion
Money-Saving Wardrobe Tips For The Working And Casual Woman
#1 – Capsule Wardrobe – Mix & Match.
Let’s discuss the #1 method that works to save BIG money.
A capsule wardrobe! A small collection of versatile pieces (about 30-40) that can be mixed and matched.
The premise here is that you don’t have to own 100’s of pieces to make your wardrobe work for you.
Making a capsule wardrobe is not a Science.
You may be just fine with 20 pieces because you work in a casual environment and you can easily transition from work to night.
On the other hand, you may need to double your wardrobe to 40 pieces to get all your workwear included.
The goal here is to keep pieces that will provide value to your closet.
Do what works best for you!
Here are the basics of starting your own capsule wardrobe:
→ Make a list for your capsule wardrobe, considering both work and casual attire. Include versatile items that can be worn regularly.
Think basics and classic items: LBD, white shirt, jean jacket, trench coat, blazer, lightweight sweater, medium bag, ankle boots, etc.
Let’s say you have a basic black top that is worn under all your cardigans and blazers. Make sure to include that because it’s a workhorse in your line-up.
→ Pare down your closet until you have all your closet pieces that fit into your capsule wardrobe.
For the items that didn’t make the cut, find a new home for them (not in your closet).
If after your clean-up you find that you only have 10 items, then of course keep your old pieces until you can find more versatile items to replace them.
→ Slowly acquire basics and wardrobe staples.
If you’re needing more pieces to finish your capsule wardrobe then you can slowly acquire them.
I’ll give you tips in the later sections.
As an example, when I was working on my capsule wardrobe, I purchased 3 pairs of these pants on sale for $18/each from J.Crew back in 2015.
I still wear them all the time and unless I lose them, they have a permanent place in my closet. I can wear them to work, out-and-about, traveling – it’s an A+ in value.
Now, let’s go into a few of the ways you can get great merchandise at prices that won’t empty your pockets!
#2 – Buying Name-Brand Clothing On Sale Or Clearance.
Many shoppers may think that the only way to get reasonably priced clothing is to purchase them from Target or an off-brand store.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but there are other frugal options out there if you’re seeking them.
Name-brand retailers in an effort to attract consumers in a highly competitive market, resort to offering tempting clothing deals.
Of course, the best deal will always be what’s on sale or clearance.
The term clearance normally describes items that are either discontinued or final sale. This is because these clothing options are the very last picks from the prior season.
Here are some tips to give you an advantage when it comes to searching for deals:
→ If you keep your eye on the item and check back in 6-8 weeks, oftentimes it will be marked down. Unless it’s a super popular item, chances are that piece will still be on the hanger waiting for you.
→ Consider the time of the year when making purchases. The best time to shop is at the end of the season because retailers start cycling in the new merchandise to replace the old offerings. As summer turns to fall, fall turns to winter, and so on – these are the times to check your local retailer’s for sales both in-store and online.
→ If you are needing something to fill a spot in your wardrobe, keep an eye out for sales by subscribing to the retailer’s newsletter. This allows you to be “in the know” when they announce flash sales or specials.
→ Get familiar with the sales that retailers have throughout the year. Nordstrom is very popular amongst fashion bloggers because they have 3 distinct sales during the year. Other retailers that have these types of sales are Zara, Dillard’s, Macy’s, Victoria Secret, and Amazon.
Ultimately, there are many stores out there that sell name-brand merchandise that are viable options when buying on sale or clearance.
Continue on for more ideas that may help you on your quest for frugal fashion…
#3 – Second-Hand Clothing And Resale Potential.
An added plus of shopping at name-brand stores is that the clothing maintains high resale potential.
These items can be sold on second-hand platforms such as Poshmark and eBay.
If you wear and take good care of your clothing, it would be a good option to get further value from a sale piece that you purchased. There is a sizeable and active market for this type of merchandise.
On the same token, you can also use these platforms to purchase second-hand clothing as well.
The clothing you would get from using this option would be by far the most affordable.
Beyond this, the selection is unbeatable.
While retailers will only carry a certain item for a season, the second-hand platforms will see various options return consistently for years. Back in 2013 and 2014, I used these platforms in order to get some pieces that I needed for work such as blazers and dress pants.
There is tremendous value in opting for second-hand clothing.
If you use Poshmark you will notice that they are very customer-focused, so they are going to guarantee that you have a great experience as a buyer.
Another option for thrifty, secondhand finds is Thredup – A Thrift & Consignment online store.
From the reviews I have read, selling your items to ThredUp probably isn’t the best option due to the low payouts.
Though, I perused the website and the clothing prices are unbeatable for buyers!
The difference between Poshmark and ThredUp is that the former showcases fashions from people like you and me. Posh gets a 20% cut and that’s how they make money.
With ThredUp, the customer sells their clothes to them and they turn around and resell them. I have experience with Posh, but I am new to learning about ThredUp, so I thought I would share!
#4 – Outlet Shopping & Department Stores.
Outlet store merchandise is a good alternative. If you’re looking for fashionable clothing at a slightly lower price point this is where it’s at. The resale potential isn’t as good here, but the prices may make up for it.
Keep in mind that most outlet stores have clothing manufactured specifically to be sold at a discounted price point.
When you have lower retail prices, inherently the quality goes down. I have pieces from outlet stores and they hold up, but the difference is obvious.
You may be familiar with the following outlet stores » Nordstrom Rack, Last Call, and Saks Off Fifth.
Nordstrom Rack by far seems to be the most popular and people seem to rave about it.
From my experience, if I shop in the outlet stores, I go to the factory version of the following: J. Crew, Banana Republic, or Talbots.
Regardless, I always buy from the sale section when I visit these stores because this woman here does not like to pay full price for clothing.
As for department stores, there are always a plethora of options and brands to choose from. The variety is a large plus in these types of stores, so it is great for all types of women, for work and play.
I have a couple of jackets I purchased from Macy’s and I plan on having for a long time – all name brands at reasonable prices.
#5 – Renting Can Be A Solution.
Clothing rentals are a cost-effective solution depending on your circumstance.
These services provide for varied options that leave you with no need to commit to an item of clothing.
Maybe you have a small closet and don’t have much need to wear fashionable clothing.
There might be a time and place such as an interview, a gala, or social event that you need to attend that requires that you dress more fashion forward.
Of course, what is the value in purchasing a $500 gown for one night? At this point, renting a designer dress for the evening sounds like a great solution. At Rent The Runway, you can do just that – from as low as $30.
These days, RTR has broadened into everyday clothing and accessories, along with having the perfect outfit for a special occasion.
Check it out if you are ever in need of a short-term outfit!
BONUS TIP: Earn While You Shop.
This method allows me to receive cash back for what I would buy anyway.
Here’s how it works:
When I’m ready to make a purchase, I go to Ebates.com, log into my account, and type in the retailer. If it’s within the Ebates network it will come up with an option to click-through to the retailer.
Once on the retailer’s website, I proceed as normal and add items to my cart and make payment. Once Ebates has verified the purchase, I receive the cash back into my Ebates account.
The percentages advertised will vary for each retailer.
These funds accumulate in your Ebates account, and a check or online payment is issued at a designated time after each quarter when if you have an account balance of at least $5.01.
It’s a good option for a busy season of purchasing either gifts or online goods. Ebates has a wide network of retailers for online shopping and select options for use in-store.
The Bottom Line
As a reminder, a great way to start the frugal fashion process is to go through your current selections and choose your capsule wardrobe. Anything left over, consider if you would want to try your hand at selling online or donating.
After that, slowly make purchases that fit into the wardrobe you’ve created by perusing sales and deals, second-hand or thrifty picks, and considering renting as an option.