10 ways to save on your wardrobe
New clothes on tight budgets.
We spend over $1,600 on clothing every year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey. But maybe we don't have to. Contributors to the Frugal Shopper blog suggest a variety of ways to trim costs on apparel, from timing your purchases to the season to renting instead of buying. Here are 10 of their top tips:
Buy slightly off-season gear.
Many clothing retailers start seriously marking down items as soon as a new season arrives. That means late summer can be the best time to score marked-down bathing suits and shorts, while late winter is the time to pick up a new winter coat. Trae Bodge, a senior lifestyle editor for RetailMeNot, suggests checking the racks in the back of the store, where the best deals are often hiding.
Shop your closet.
If your closet is filled with unworn tops and pants, then it might be time to get organized and rediscover favorite pieces that you haven't worn in months. Jon Lal, CEO of BeFrugal.com, suggests taking inventory of your wardrobe before making any new purchases to make sure you're not doubling up on basic items.
Host a swap party.
If you have friends who share your clothing style, then you might want to consider getting together for an enjoyable clothing swap. Encourage each person to bring items that are gently used but no longer of interest, and see if you can make some friendly trades.
Rent, don't buy.
Lisa Koivu, founder of ShopGirlDaily.com, suggests turning to one of the many new clothing rental sites for items you'll only wear once, particularly formal wear. She recommends Rent the Runway for fancy occasions, Gwynnie Bee for plus-size rentals and Le Tote for more casual apparel. Renting jewelry and accessories is also an option.
Certain retailers are known for featuring deals in some departments almost any day of the week, Koivu says. Express, Old Navy and Macy's are among them. She suggests looking for special sales, discount codes or ads in the paper to get the lowest possible price.
Consider custom clothing.
It sounds prohibitively expensive, but one new trend in apparel is affordable custom clothing, Koivu says. Online retailers such as eShakti and Numari make it easier – and cheaper – than ever to order clothes that are designed to fit your body at an affordable price. They can be especially appealing for shoppers who often pay extra for alterations to get clothes to fit.
Wait for a big holiday.
Certain days of the year, namely Memorial Day, Labor Day and Black Friday, are known for their mega-deals, and that applies to clothing retailers, too. If you know you need new jeans or a blazer, try to time your purchase around the day that prices are likely to be at their lowest.
Clothing companies that sell on Amazon – and there are many of them – are often eager to rack up more customer reviews to help improve their search ranks. They are often willing to pay for those reviews in the form of discounts. Koivu recommends signing up with HonestFew.com and SnagShout.com to get started.
Visit thrift stores.
Secondhand clothing shops can contain brand-name items for much less than what you'd find in stores. Vintage looks are also in style, so don't be shy about picking up another person's cast-offs – they might turn into your favorite outfit.
Check out online options.
If you're open to secondhand items but are more of an online than in-person shopper, then you'll want to check out thredUp, an online consignment store. You can also use the site to sell old clothes you no longer need and earn more money for your clothing budget.
Copyright 2015 U.S. News & World Report
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