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14 Tips to Dress for Less

14 Tips to Dress for Less

It can be difficult enough to find clothes which fit right and look good but the task is even more daunting when looking for deals which don't break the bank. Dressing for less is more than limiting your purchases solely to the clearance rack in a department store. It's about being smart and thinking of different ways to save money while buying new clothes that complement your lifestyle.

1. Buy Off-Season

Buying a winter jacket when heading into spring or bikinis when retailers are looking to fall fashions is a great way to save money. Buying off-season requires specific timing since retailers will be looking to offload out of season inventory as fast as possible.

2. Avoid Trends

Trends are the latest fashion designs which everyone jumps on and then six months later have clothes they no longer want to wear. Avoid trends as much as possible and buy clothes which are always fashionable.

3. Pay Cash

If you're forced to pay for clothes with hard-earned cash then buying decisions will become more strategic and less wasteful. This has the added benefit of minimizing excessive credit card debt. Allocate a certain amount of money per month for clothes so you can take advantage of deals and sales as they appear.

4. Buy Outfits

Buying an individual blouse or a pair of slacks, unless they are grey, black or neutral, is less likely to be as beneficial as a complete outfit. Outfits on sale also tend to be less expensive than individual articles of clothing.

5. Shop Alone

Shopping with a friend or relative will likely adversely affect your buying behavior by questioning your taste and your price points. Shopping alone allows you to stay focused and buy exactly what you set out for on a given trip.

6. Buy the Right Size

Buying an outfit which is slightly too small thinking we will lose some excess weight and enjoy it later rarely works. Buying clothes which fit correctly today means you're more likely to benefit from the purchase and enjoy it over a longer period of time.

7. Avoid Over-washing

Wearing an article of clothing once and then washing it wears out the fibers and washes out colors more quickly. Over washing places undue wear and tear on perfectly good clothes limiting its lifespan and requiring the purchase of more clothes more often.

8. Use a Budget

Are you looking to pay off debt as quickly as possible or get the most for your money? Then use a budget when making clothes purchases. If you only have $200 to buy clothes for the month, you're more likely to make smart decisions and look for deals than if you put it on a credit card.

9. Don't Emotion Shop

Shopping to fill a hole in your life or to celebrate is the worst time to make a purchase. This leads to erratic decision-making and poor judgment and often result in excessive debt. The money being used for clothes would be better spent on therapy sessions.

10. Swap with People

If you have a large family or group of friends you've inevitably borrowed an article of clothing. You may not have to shop for years if you are able to swap clothes with people you know. This also eliminates the problem of buying new items and looking for a place to put them.

11. Learn to Sew

While you may not be sewing a three-piece suit anytime soon it is easy enough to make a summer dress or pair of shorts. Even if you don't make complete outfits, you can repair existing articles of clothing minimizing the need to make new purchases.

12. Shop Online

With the increasing success of online retailers and lenient return policies, many items can be purchased online for significantly less than at a retail store. It also means a wider selection providing more choices and opportunities to save money.

13. Sell Older Clothes

To really save money, every time you find a great deal on a new blouse or pair of shoes get rid of something you currently don't wear. In this manner, older clothes which aren't being worn can pay for newer purchases. Craigslist and garage sales are great way to make money from old clothes.

14. Buy Men's Clothes

It is an unfortunate fact, which retailers count on, that women will often pay more for similar articles of clothing than men. Shopping in the men's department for more generic pieces of clothing like shirts and slacks can yield significant savings.

Image by: Chuck Lee