For years now, I’ve started planning my Fall wardrobe in July. Despite living in sweltering Atlanta, where it’s warm well into November, if I start buying any later than July, I simply don’t have enough money to get fall clothes. Fall and winter clothes are simply more expensive than summer, where a cute sundress is all you need to look ravishing. After years of bankrupting myself doing fall shopping, however, I’ve finally figured out the tricks to building an inexpensive, beautiful, and fashion-forward fall wardrobe. Here’s how to do it:
Take Stock of What You Have
I have more red sweaters than I will ever be able to wear. Every Fall I think about how much I love red sweaters and buy three new ones, only to find that I have thirty more in my closet. Go through your closet and take stock of what you have. Examine your clothes with an eye toward new ways to combine things. Donate things you no longer want to make space for new clothes and to leave you with room to plan your wardrobe. If you’re short on cash, selling on ebay or at a consignment store is also an excellent option. Once you’ve gone through your entire fall wardrobe, it’s time to get organized: make a list of things you absolutely need like coats, pants, etc. and a separate list for things you want but can live without like trendy jewelry, impractical shoes, etc.
Plan it Out
If you’re short on cash, then you’re going to need to spread what you need out over the course of several paychecks and several months, but you can still enjoy fall shopping! Begin making a list of what you need, the cost, and how much you can afford. Buy one item each time you get paid. If you start early enough, you’ll soon have an excellent fall wardrobe.
Do Trends and Basics on the Cheap
Basic fall items like cardigans to wear under sweaters, plain black tights, socks, gloves, etc. don’t need to be expensive. They’re simple clothes that don’t change style much from season to season, so buy these items at inexpensive stores like Forever 21, Target, etc. These are the clothes that typically fall apart from season to season, so it’s OK to go for low quality here. Even better, consider getting these items at thrift stores or Goodwill– you’ll be amazed at the inexpensive prices and the money you save on these fall wardrobe staples could buy you that new pair of boots you want.
Trendy items are similar. These aren’t classics that you’re going to wear year after year, and they may not even last into next season. If you’re dying for a few trendy items to punch up your wardrobe, focus on getting them at inexpensive stores. Consider www.delias.com, www.forever21.com, and www.target.com. Online shopping is your friend with trendy items and will save you a boatload of cash.
Invest In a Coat
Most of your time is going to be spent in your coat, and most of your first impressions will be made in your coat. It’s worth your money to make sure it’s a good one. Focus on classic, clean lines and warmth, and be willing to drop the extra cash to look good in this most important winter fashion staple. If you already have a good coat, then you can buy a trendier, more “disposable” coat. Check out www.lulus.com and www.modcloth.com for some great options.
Your accessories can take an otherwise boring outfit into fabulous territory, and if you’re short on cash, accessories are generally pretty inexpensive. Focus on great accessories and invest in one really excellent pair of shoes you can wear everywhere. Funky tights in cool colors and a great handbag can help complete the look.
Vintage never goes out of style, and many vintage styles are becoming trendy again. Even better is the fact that many vintage items have stood the test of time in terms of durability and are available more cheaply than modern fashions. Check out www.etsy.com and your local consignment store for excellent vintage options.
Buying fall clothes doesn’t have to break the bank if you’re willing to invest a little time and a little planning. If you avoid binging on mall stores and buying everything you see in catalogs and instead focus on what you really need, you’ll spend the entire winter with money in your pocket and a fabulous look on your body.