A Closet Full of Wearable Clothes

by Melissa Tosetti

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The Fashion Frugalista

Fashionably Frugal

Is your closet a source of frustration? I have a love/hate relationship with clothes. When I wear clothes that fit right and look attractive, I get an extra boost of confidence. I feel polished and professional. Although when it comes to buying clothes, I am a tightwad personified. I have never understood the need for the $300 purse or the $200 blouse. However, just because I'm a tightwad, I don't have to look like it.

There are several components to pulling together a functional, attractive wardrobe without breaking the bank.


If you have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear, then it is time to take action. The Golden Rule of a solid wardrobe is if you haven't worn it in a year, give it away. An exception to The Golden Rule is the little black dress. Keep it. It will be invaluable at one point or another.

A lesser known yet equally important rule is that everything in your closet should fit you. End of story.

The Basics

Now that you know what you have, sit down and write a list of what you need. Not what you want, but what you need. You have to start with the basics.

Everyone's basic wardrobe needs are different. Someone who works in a corporate environment will have different needs than someone who works in the retail environment. The stay-at-home mom has different requirements than someone who runs a business from home.

Invest in basics. These are the clothes that are going to give you years of wear. Brands are not as important as quality material and stitching. Pay attention. My friend Gina thoroughly inspects her purchases as she stands in line waiting for the cashier. I have seen her get out of line to swap an item for another after finding a flaw.

Supplementing Your Wardrobe

Find a well run Goodwill or thrift store in your area. It is the perfect way to inexpensively supplement your clothes. This is where you go to add splashes of color and style. You can get gently used, high end, quality clothes for a tenth of the price.

Most of the clothes I receive compliments on are the ones I purchased from thrift stores. In fact, more than 60% of my clothes came from my favorite Goodwill store. Two of my best thrift store finds include a brown suede button up shirt that is perfect for layering and a black corduroy jacket from Bebe, which dresses up a much loved pair of jeans.

Although not as cheap as a thrift store, Target, TJ Maxx and Ross are also excellent resources when adding spice to your wardrobe.

Take Care

Your clothes are an investment. Taking care of them is the best way to maintain that investment. Add a few stitches to a loose button before it pops off and is lost forever.

Do you really need to wash an item every time you wear it? Over time, washing and drying clothes breaks them down and fades their color. Febreeze is a great product for refreshing a once or twice worn item.

The next time you think you need a new pair of shoes, try polishing the ones you have. It takes just a few minutes and you may be able to get twice as much use out of them.

It is worth investing in a tin of mink oil for leather items. Mink them once a year and it will keep them from drying out and also help repel water.

Baby Steps

Don't expect to revamp your wardrobe in a weekend. It takes time to find the right pieces at the right price. Purchasing a little at a time will help you make smart choices and be kinder to your budget.

Melissa Tosetti is the Editor/Publisher of Budget Savvy Magazine. Visit at budgetsavvymag.com

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