Friday, December 5, 2008

ModernGear Women: Saving on Style in tight times

I don't have a shopping spree every season - I can't justify a regular spending session, but I have also come to the realization that my wardrobe is in a bit of a sorry state. This wouldn't be as big a problem for me if I didn't recently get a job as a magazine editor, where I have to dress up a bit more for interviews and editorial meetings . Sadly, my wardrobe of office attire like great quality suits is a good ten years old, and two sizes too small. Because, you know, life happens.

And so, this is the start of what I am calling Operation Wardrobe Rebuild. You probably already know about my great handbag purchase. That's the great kick-off to this operation...but I have a feeling it's going to be a slow and steady marathon, rather than a sprint, to re-fill my closet. I am working just part-time, and it just doesn't feel like it's the safest time to be spending money without a lot of thought and examination of "want versus need" first.

Waiting paid off for me with respect to a J. Crew top I'd been coveting. It was $45, and then it went on sale for $19.99. I found a free shipping code at, and this little beauty cost me a grand total of $21.64. Whoo!
I would take a picture of me in it, but I'm trying to post this before I jump in the shower and start my day so you don't want to see that!

Now, I really do need to accomplish my goal of rebuilding my wardrobe of staples and by that I mean things like: white blouse, black blouse, white tee, black tee, grey tee, black suit, etc. but I am going to try to do it in a controlled, sensible way as well so that I can save wherever possible.

Here are a few ways to do that.

1. Hit the outlets. I need staples like a black v-neck sweater, white cotton blouse, and dark jeans, and outlet stores are the perfect place to find great labels like Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Kenneth Cole, Cole Haan and more, at reduced prices. If I check out the outlet's web site before I go, I might even be able to find out about other saving opportunities. If you register online at Chelsea Premium Outlets and join the VIP Club, you can download printable coupons and get e-mail announcements on sales and special events. Check out this list of brands you can find at these outlets. I'd shop for wardrobe anchor pieces here any day.
2. Stalk ebay and craigslist. If you know what item and size you are looking for, you might be able to find it through these online auction and sales sites and others. Approach this task with patience and perserverance, and your efforts might just pay off in savings.
3. Shop online. I do this for two reasons. One, often times web sites that do not have bricks-and-mortar overhard to pay can lower their prices and are quicker to decide and announce limited time savings opportunities. Two, if I have perused their whole stock and decided on what I want, chances are I won't be swayed to consider something else (that I am bound to add on at the cash register, rather than replace what I was going to buy in the first place). It's akin to marching into a store with blinders on and a laser focus, versus browsing. I am more likely to get in trouble when I am browsing, and right now I need to focus my few wardrobe dollars on those items that I have already thought about and decided on, not a spur-of-the-moment choice. Make sure to sign up for your favourite online boutique's newsletter, so that you'll get news of upcoming sales, and be sure to visit back often to check for new items and sales.
4. Search for coupon codes for a discount or free shipping, for online shopping. I'll be posting a page with these later this morning. Whenever you shop online, just google "coupon codes" first. At this time there ought to be something for every single well-trafficked site.
5. Don't be too proud to hit stores you might not choose first if you were absolutely rolling in cash. Target in the US, and Joe, and Winners in Canada are just three examples of places that, if you go prepared to look and try on, you might just find a treasure among all the stuff. I've said it before, I'll say it again. If you don't mind buying a piece you think you'll wear for just one season or two, why spend a ton on it? I just got this cute sweater from Target last week:

Mossimo Black: Cowl Neck Belted Sweater, $24.99.

Would I have preferred a sweater from Vince? Of course. But even on sale, as most of their sweaters are now, they're still $100 more. I am tempted, with that sale, and would maybe invest in a more classic cardigan that I'll wear again and again...while this sort of kimono-inspired cowl neck sweater I might not be crazy about in winters to come.

I'll conclude my wordy post of the day but saying that I, like so many other women, really struggle to express my fashion personality. Often it's not a matter of a lack of bravery to wear what I want to wear, but of budget to be able to afford what I would like to dress in.

But so what. Times are tough. The word recessionista is starting to be used in style articles. The economy makes it so the next word might be depressionista...a news headline from today says that employers cut 533,000 jobs in November alone, the most in 34 years. So I need a few pieces to replenish my wardrobe, but if that's all I have to worry about, then I'm one of the lucky ones.

1 comment:

Ashley said...

Nice sweater!! Too prefer jacket collections at Orvis.