Saving Clothes and Dollars

by Sarah McGuire


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Does your wardrobe consist largely of disposable items which you never wear for more than one season, or do you always manage to ruin your favorite clothes in the wash? If you find yourself spending too much on your wardrobe, you'll love these suggestions for getting more wear from your clothes.

Avoid Expensive Trends

Because trendy items often go out of style quickly, you may not get enough wear from a trendy item to justify its expense. Not long after your trendy item was purchased, it is likely to be pushed to the back of your closet. Sure, your metallic pumps were fun for a while, but you'll look like you've been left behind if you keep wearing them after everyone else has stepped into the next new thing. How can you look stylish without having to keep up on the current trends or feeling that you are spending money foolishly?

Look for Lasting Value

One way to remain fashionable while keeping your clothing budget manageable is by avoiding expensive trends and other items that you won't wear often. Don't buy items that you don't really like simply because they seem to be a great buy at a low price. Instead, buy basic pieces that are wearable and fit well. Select pieces that you can mix and match, then add accessories. Experimenting with new combinations for your basic or classic pieces will allow you to be appropriately dressed for any occasion, while mixing and matching great accessories will keep your outfit looking fresh and new. For example, a woman with a white button down blouse and black dress pants can easily tie on a scarf or wear a bright pin and head out to a job interview or dinner date.

Avoiding trends and focusing on classic styles that are always fashionable will help you save money and look great long term. In addition, when looking for a lasting value, durability is also important.

Maintain Your Wardrobe

Keeping your favorite jeans or shirt looking great can be a crucial step in maintaining your wardrobe and your look. If you've noticed that your jeans lose their perfect fit, or that your shirt no longer hangs correctly, you may attribute the problem to normal wear, or you may wonder what you've done wrong. If your item of clothing contains nylon or spandex, the problem could lie in the care of the garment. Exposure to heat in the washer and dryer can cause these fabrics to lose their elasticity. Before you switch to dry cleaning, try using cold water and low dryer temperatures, or hanging the garment to dry.

Another simple clothing care tip that everyone should know is to keep zippers zipped when washing and drying in order to prevent the zipper's teeth from damaging the fabric.

Consider Fabric and Care Recommendations

In the future, look at the tags sewn in a garment, the fabric content labels and care labels, to determine what the garment is made of and/or what care is recommended. Every garment should have tags containing this information. Read the tags and decide if the garment is right for you and if you are willing to meet its care requirements. For example, you will want to consider if you have time for hand washing, or if a specific garment will be worth the dry cleaning fees that are associated with it. Before you buy, always look for any flaws in the garment's fabric or construction and avoid purchasing garments with these problems.

Stains and Repairs

Even after you have shopped like a pro and purchased a piece of clothing that you love and find easy to care for, there is always the possibility of an unavoidable snag, spill, or accident. Pull snags through to the underside of the garment when possible. When it comes to stains, remember that a good rule of thumb for any stain is to blot, and not rub. Don't experiment when it comes to stain removal; it is always best to find the proper solution depending on the fabric and stain, or you will risk making the problem worse. In addition, always save any extra buttons, thread, or other items that come with a garment because you may need them for a repair.

Further Use for the Item

When you think you have no further use for your item of clothing, think again. If you are able to sew, you could alter the garment for a new look or for a new owner. Also consider donating the item to a person or charity if it is still in good condition. If the clothing is not in good condition, scraps of the material can be used for craft projects or rags.


Sarah McGuire always reads labels and rarely disposes of an article of clothing.

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  • Do you struggle to get ahead financially? Then you'll want to subscribe to our free weekly Surviving Tough Times newsletter aimed at helping you 'live better...for less'. Each issue features great ways to help you stretch your dollars and make the most of your resources.

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