More frugal tips on the subject of clothes. How much thought do you give to clothes shopping? Here are a few frugal ways to shop for clothes online.
Photo by Kelly Sue
For the last month or so, I’ve been on the hunt for a new sweater. It’s just starting to turn cold here, and I want something more stylish than my usual sweatshirt when I go out. Today seems like a good opportunity to hunt down some fashion bargains.
How I Shop For Clothes Online
Where To Get Luxury for Less
Believe it or not, even regularly more expensive fashion items can be had for less, as my following story demonstrates.
I decided to shop around for a cashmere sweater. It isn’t a status symbol of frugality, but I still admire its texture and comfort. With that in mind, I looked around, then fainted at how costly cashmere sweaters can be. I could try my luck at the thrift stores or consignment shops, but I’m on a tight schedule.
I checked Bluefly, and it was offering a v-neck sweater for $65.99. While over at eBay, I clicked on options, narrowing down my choices to my size, a price limit of $50, and items with the Buy It Now option. This search yielded nine choices, ranging from $12.50 to $39.99. I believed I could still do better, so I continued to shop.
Then I went to Target to see if I could find a sweater I liked. Cashmere — check. Less than $50? Barely — the one I liked most was $49.99. Then I saw the three words I dread when it comes to clothes: Dry Clean Only. I try to avoid the dry cleaners because of the expense.
Discouraged, I went to Amazon and found a sleeveless sweater for $4.99. The description said to hand wash it. Such a chore wouldn’t take much work — and I’d have a sweater that could take me through several seasons.
How To Dress Up in a Hurry
When I visit my local mall, I usually browse through the clothes racks on my own. But there have been times when I needed to pick up some items in a hurry. During those occasions, it’s best to flag down a salesperson to save yourself time — since, after all, time is money, unless you’re shopping for fun and leisure.
Men’s Clothing Ahoy!
When we need men’s dress shirts or trousers, I check out a discount clothing retailers such as Ross. Here, I’ve found good-looking pieces for $20 an item. I’ve also had luck with Old Navy — in fact, the last time I went there, I picked up a shirt and a shiny necklace for me for about $21. I’ve been in luck at these places securing more affordable pieces.
Every so often, I’ll also check the department store circulars that run in the paper. The sale prices can be comparable to the discount chains. I also keep a mental list of the sizes we need in case I have an opportunity to stock up; I really should list the sizes for my other family members in my notebook or cell phone.
Seasonal Clothes: Think Ahead
Last year, the temperature plunged before I thought to get a winter coat. Because I hadn’t planned ahead, I paid a premium price. However, if I’d had the foresight, I would’ve shopped the closeout on winter coats the year before. Take note that most stores clear out their fall stock for their Christmas items so certain clothing items usually drop in price when they’re “off-season”.
A search through the closeouts and clearances at Gap and L.L. Bean show great prices on clothes I can wear next year. If I have room in my closet, I can pay less for next summer’s T-shirts and swimwear.
What About Accessories? Some Affordable Options
If you have any inclinations toward crafting, then you already know that the best accessories are the ones you make yourself. Over the last few years, I’ve done up scarves, wraps, shawls, hats, and bags galore. To keep my costs down, I tend to use yarn and material I’ve purchased on sale at Jo-Ann, Michaels, and even the big stores like Walmart, where I’ve found nice purple yarn for $1.50 a skein.
If you aren’t into the DIY style, then check out local vendors or a place like Etsy, where you can find all sorts of handcrafted accessories.
With some careful shopping and a bit of flexibility, it’s possible to look great and keep your wallet happy. So how about you? I’d be curious to know about the strategies you take and where you go shopping for bargain clothing!