Frugal Fashion for Teens

by Suzanne Donahue

One of the most popular questions I receive in my mail is "How can I have clothes that are in style without going broke?" Being the frugal person I am, I thought I'd share a few of my tips on how to keep your closet full of fashionable clothes without paying a fortune.

One of the best ways to get clothes is to accept hand-me-downs from friends, family, or your parent's friends' children. I've received clothes from both my cousins, plus my dad has a friend who has two daughters, and they both passed clothes to me. (I'm pretty short and skinny, so when most people out-grow their clothes, they fit me!) The majority of those clothes I didn't want, just because some of them were pretty worn out or old. But, there were a lot of pairs of jeans, shorts, and flannel shirts that I really needed. My style is pretty basic - I like plain jeans, flannel shirts, tank tops and jean shorts. I don't like anything really girly or dressy, so I have an easy time finding basic clothes that I like. If you are more picky, you might have a problem with accepting other people's clothing.

Thrift shops and consignment stores are other great alternatives. If you've never been to one of these stores, you don't know what you're missing! You probably think that all of these clothes are worn out and old, but the opposite is true. In fact, every thrift shop and consignment store that I've been to takes good care of the clothes they sell! If you want a secret about these types of stores, I'll fill you in -- did you know that most of the clothes that are unclaimed in your school lost and found go to these types of stores? Once, someone never claimed their $120 Starter jacket, and it went to Goodwill and sold for $15! I actually knew people who would wait and see which days the lost and found would go empty, and then go visit the thrift store to start their shopping! :-)

Another way is to buy plain clothes that can double-up as something else. For example, about three weeks ago, I needed a new dress... Usually, I don't like paying more than $10 for any type of clothing, but this time I made an exception. I bought a $30 long black dress with really classy beige flowers on it! When I wear it alone, it makes a great Summer dress because it is sleeveless. When I wear it with a sweater it looks great for church! And, when I wear it with the jacket it came with, it's professional enough to wear to dinner parties, job interviews, and other special occasions. Because this one dress can be worn anywhere, I saved myself a lot of money. The average dress I can find is $20. So, if you think about it, rather than buying a church dress, a special occasion dress, and a Summer dress, which would cost $60, I only paid 50%!

Last, but not least, comes what we like to call bargain hunting. Why pay full price now, if you could have paid much less off-season? Fall is the time to buy Summer clothes. Winter is the time to buy Fall clothes. Spring is the time to buy Winter clothes, and Winter is the time to buy Summer clothes. Sound odd? It shouldn't. For example, let's say you need to buy a new complete Summer wardrobe. Rather than buy your clothes during the Summer months, purchase them during Fall. Once fall strolls along and the stores need to make room for new Fall clothes, they will sell their Summer clothing at a large discount. Just be sure to buy your clothes 1 size bigger, so they'll fit you next year!

The only problem you may run into is shoes. It's sometimes hard to find the shoes you want at a good price. The best bargain I got was a new pair of sandals for only $4.50. My mother needed new shoes, and I was planning on getting that pair of sandals for $9, but it was a buy-1-get-1 50% off sale! So, watch those sales and buy your shoes cheap whenever you can. Even if you don't need a new pair of sneakers now, if you happened to find a pair at a really good price, it's better to buy it now in a bigger size for next year! :-)

Suzanne Donahue is 17-years-old. She loves to share her ideas by writing articles on all different subjects, and enjoys meeting new people from all over the world. Her hobbies include Web design, drawing, painting, sculpting, taking her dog on long walks, and finding new ways to "get more for less."

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