Oh Autumn, why do you tempt me? It’s 90 degrees out and yet I find myself longing for that cable-knit sweater I saw at Marshall’s this past weekend. It’s olive — my go-to fall color for 2013 — and would look amazing with dark skinnies, cognac booties and a latte, preferably pumpkin spice. (I don’t even like pumpkin lattes – that’s how powerful a hold Autumn has on me.)
Sigh. It’s moments like this that make shopping embargoes so impossible. With a closet full of perfectly wearable clothes, putting the kibosh on fashion-related purchases seems like a reasonable cost-cutting measure, and yet — as the darling L Bee can attest — it’s pure torture.
My obsession with fashion is in direct conflict with my desire to save money and avoid spending frivolously. As such, I’ve tried a few things recently to score new-to-me outfits for nothing, and it works pretty well (olive cable-knit sweaters notwithstanding). Here are three ways I score new outfits for free, and a bonus tip I haven’t yet tried:
Shop My Closet: Back in my tweens, I was utterly captivated by Alicia Silverstone’s digital closet in the movie Clueless (yes, Girl Meets Debt, I totally understand your obsession with this movie). That’s why a headline in Mashable about that technology being available FOR REALS was so exciting, and why I immediately downloaded the Cloth app and started taking headless selfies of my outfit ensembles. My goals with the tool were to a) increase my confidence in outfit-building, and b) create a catalog of looks I could refer to during style slumps. It’s cool to scroll through the images and see how I style the same item differently. For example, my white skinnies:
My favorite image is photo-bombed by my dog Derby. He cannot be outdone by white denim.
Shop My Friend’s Closet: One of my good friends also struggles with overspending on fashion. While commiserating our respective fashion addictions (#firstworldproblems, anyone?), we decided to swap unwanted clothes since we admire each other’s styles. Best. Decision. Ever! I’ve scored a handful of items from these swaps which I wear repeatedly.
Get Pin-spired: Pinterest can either feed or starve my shopping addiction depending on my state of vulnerability. For the purpose of this post, Pinterest is an awesome outfit consultant and one I’m using regularly. For example, I bought a chevron-patterned maxi skirt at the beginning of the season and wasn’t sure how to style it. So, I typed in “chevron maxi skirt” and pinned these ideas:
There are other online resources providing outfit inspiration, including the gem Get Your Pretty On. I thought I’d have to retire my beloved white skinnies after Labor Day, but no! I can wear them into fall!
And now for the bonus tip I promised…
Try Mystery Shopping: I know bloggers like MakingSenseofCents have done this side gig before and I think it’s brilliant, but have yet to take the plunge. Ultimately, stores will reimburse you a certain amount in exchange for feedback on your retail shopping experience. Naturally, some assignments require you purchase something to get the full experience. Aw shucks, do I have to?
While it’s entirely possible I’ll come home this week with that olive loveliness from Marshall’s, these strategies have saved my budget over the past few months. Now I want to hear from you — how do you save on clothing? Is there anything you have to actively keep yourself from buying?