I’ve never been a designer label kind of gal. I just can’t justify paying an entire month’s worth of rent on one purse—no matter how cute it is. In this new economic environment, even more women are joining my camp of budget-minded shopping. Since you’re here at this site, you are likely already in the know. But just in case you’ve let your thrifty-but-trendy game get rusty, here are some tips on how to keep your wardrobe full of cute clothes while not emptying your wallet.
Bring back the borrow! Remember when you freely borrowed and lent clothes with your friends in college? You’d all get ready for the must-not-miss keggers together, jewelry flying, a toxic cloud of hairspray forming over your heads, and no less than three outfit changes per person? Clothes and accessories were a communal resource, and everyone seemed to end up happy with what they wore out for the night. Living outside of a dorm setting doesn’t have to be the end of your borrowing days. Find a group of your girl friends whom you see fairly often (think of some of the cute dressers at work) and see who might be interested in doing some clothes-swapping. One girl’s too-tight mini is another girl’s treasure! Whether you decide to borrow or permanently swap items, you’ll get that delicious feeling of shopping without having to shell out any money.
Get to know Buffalo Exchange. Can’t convince your girl friends to do a clothes swap with you? Thank the shopping gods that there is a whole business dedicated to being your clothes-swapping friend. Buffalo Exchange is a fabulous store that will give you store credit (or a lesser amount in cash) for clothes you bring in. Now, they don’t just take anything because they pride themselves on providing fashionable used clothing. You drop off your clothes, hang out in the store looking at all their cool merchandise for 45 minutes or so, and then they offer you a payment for your clothes. Whatever they don’t take is donated. This is a great way to declutter your closet and get one or two great new-to-you pieces. Click here to find a Buffalo Exchange near you.
Lunchtime thrift store trips. Visiting thrift stores to see what hidden treasures you may find is not a novel idea. However, going during the workday helps you avoid the swarms of weekend trendy shoppers exploring thrift stores in search of similar rare finds. Furthermore, most thrift stores restock during the week as donations come in. You’ll have first look at the goodies people have sent in. If something is awesome at a thrift store and doesn’t fit exactly right, consider getting it tailored. It sounds funny, but spending $50 to get a $15 jacket perfectly tailored is better than spending $250 on a brand new one that still may need some adjusting.
Become a Forever 21 frequent visitor. Forever 21 excels in providing trendy, fashion-forward items at great prices. Forever 21 has a very high inventory turnover rate, meaning that you are likely to find new items in their store even if you go every other week. Save yourself the hassle of navigating the chaos that is most of the Forever 21 stores by shopping on their website, since they offer very standardized sizes for their clothes. I always wear a Medium in Forever 21 clothes—no matter what, so I can just peruse online and click away! Forever 21’s eensy-weensy clothes get you down? They just launched Faith 21, a line for our luscious sisters. Think Forever 21’s clothes are too teenager for you or might look cheap? Yes, some of their stuff is definitely not for everyone, but I can personally attest to having converted several of my high-budget Harvard Business School classmates into avid Forever 21 shoppers. You just have to be willing to look through the batch to find your special pieces. Click here to find the nearest Forever 21 to you.
These were just a few tips on how to keep your wardrobe fly without watching your paycheck fly away.
Kaneisha Grayson is a student at Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School. You can find her dating, happiness, and career advice for crazy girls and the people who love us on her blog CRAZYgirl Nation. She can be contacted via email at Kaneisha@gmail.com