Why is it that every time you have somewhere to go, you never have anything to wear? Then you run out in a hurry to find an outfit and end up paying full price for something you don’t even love. While I do love to shop, I hate paying full price for anything and try to avoid it at all costs. So I’m sharing a few tricks that I’ve learned over the years to help you keep the perfect outfit in your closet for every occasion (and save some $$).
5 Tips To Keep The Perfect Outfit In Your Closet
Tip #1 ABS—Always Be Shopping
This is the most important tip that I can give you!! But please understand that there is a difference between shopping and buying. To “always be shopping” means that you are always browsing for the right deal. I am constantly shopping, but not always buying. And rarely do I ever pay full price.
Let’s say you are at the supermarket and you see a Marshall’s, TJMaxx (especially a TJMaxx Runway), Nordstrom Rack or DSW. Always pop in and do a quick walk through to see what they have. This goes for department stores too. Browse every sale rack at any store that you enter. Most of the time, I head straight for the sale racks and work my way back to the front of the store. Always check out the dress and shoe departments. If you see a great deal, BUY IT! But don’t buy everything you see just because you like it. It has to be a great deal within your price threshold. (Your price threshold is the maximum amount you are willing to pay for an item based on the designer and quality. The better I get at this, the lower my threshold gets.) This tip is all about getting what you want at the right price. If I find an item that is not within my threshold, most of the time, I don’t buy it. However, if I realize that I am still thinking about it a few days later, I usually go back and get it. That gives me time to make sure that I am not buying on impulse.
And don’t forget about the deals online. Two of my fav places to get designer on a dime are Gilt and Ideel. They feature sales for several brands at least twice a day. But their inventory goes fast so you have to pay attention to your inbox so you can jump in right when the sale starts.
Tip #2: Go Shopping In Your Closet
First, I browse through fashion magazines looking for inspiration. I like to see what the hottest colors, fabrics and styles are and how the models are wearing them. Then, I go through my closet to see what similar items I already have and how I might mix and match to create new looks. This may require some cleaning and reorganizing, but its worth it. Sometimes, I find I may only need jewelry, a belt, or a pair shoes to turn something old into a runway ready style!
Tip #3: Forget the “2 year rule”
I’m sure you have heard the rule that says you should get rid of anything in your closet that you haven’t worn in the last 2 years. I TOTALLY disagree. I can’t tell you how many great irreplaceable items that I have gotten rid of because of that rule. (I’ve also gotten rid of some things because I thought I would never be that size again, which was also a mistake.) Now, whenever I buy a shirt or skirt or any item that is not a part of an outfit, I take a picture of it and keep it on my phone. While I am out “shopping”, I always look through my pics so that I can keep an eye out for something that matches one of my pieces. It can take a while, but eventually I always find what I am looking for. This strategy also works very well with tip #2.
Tip #4: Always keep your receipts (and keep receipts from recent purchase with you)
I have receipts dating back to the 90’s! It’s a habit that I picked up from my mother (she probably has receipts dating back to the 70’s!) It’s important to keep your receipts because sometimes you will end up buying on impulse anyway. You will also realize that what you thought was a deal one day, does not look like a great deal the next. Plus, because you will ABS, you will find that something you just bought may have been marked down again. You just whip out your receipt and ask for a price adjustment. Also, make sure you ask what the return policy is before you buy. Each store has a different policy and you want to be sure that you can return those shoes if they don’t match your outfit perfectly.
Now some people are intimidated by the return process. Don’t be. Even if you don’t have your receipt, you can still return an item (in most cases). It’s all about confidence and knowing the return policy. At the very least, you can get a store credit. Which leads me to my next tip…
Tip #5: Be prepared!
How many times have you bought something only to realize that you had a gift card for the store at home? This started happening to me all the time. Now I keep them in my purse. If you follow tip #1, you will find that you never know when and where you are going to end up shopping. Also, be sure to keep any coupons that you receive in the mail with the gift cards—even if it’s from a store that you don’t usually shop at. Again, you never know. And if you are at a department store and you don’t have a coupon—don’t be shy—ask the cashier if they have one. Most of the time, they do.
And if all else fails, try this…
Bonus Tip: Rent An Outfit
I haven’t had a chance to try this yet, but hear it’s convenient and pretty simple. Online shops like Rent The Runway and Bag, Borrow, Or Steal carry just about every designer you can think of and you can rent your whole outfit, accessories and all. Rentals start as low as $30. They even send you the dress in 2 sizes to guarantee a perfect fit. When your rental is over, just pop the dress in a prepaid envelope to send it back. You don’t even have to dry clean it; they take care of that too!
Start following these tips today and you’ll be amazed at the deals you will find. I got the pair of $235 Badgley Mischka’s below for a penny (yes, you read correctly—a penny!) that I would have never even seen if I wasn’t doing my usual ABS stroll. I get lightheaded just thinking about it!
Got any other great shopping tips to share?