We bought a house! We did. It was a little impromptu (and I suspect a house is probably not the wisest impulse buy) but we did it and we are super excited to move in next month.
We’ve been budgeting and saving like mad things since last May with the intention of moving overseas in 2017, but then we thought to ourselves ‘wouldn’t it be nice to have a property waiting for us on our return?’ so we bought a house with our overseas money and so now have to start saving again as well as paying a mortgage and all those other fun things home-owners get to spend their hard-earned cash on… eek!
So… while 2015 was the year of temporarily living without spending on shoes, clothes, makeup, skincare, hair, and all those other ‘womanly’ essentials, it seems that 2016 will become the year of learning to permanently live without these things (so that 2017 will be the year of living abroad). As such, I’m currently kissing my Eve Lom, l’Occitane, olaplex, and as-yet-unbought designer jeans bye bye, and trying to embrace the simple life. Part of this simple life is going to include a total wardrobe clear-out, selling off anything I don’t wear, and making the most of what I’ve got.
If you look for tips on how to downsize or budget your wardrobe from fashion insiders, books, or magazines they’ll often give you the same old adage ‘invest in good quality basics, and update with less expensive on-trend items each season’. In general I suppose this is decent advice, but guess what? At this point I still can’t really justify spending $112 on a basic white T-shirt, or $420 on blue jeans, or $800 on a trench, no matter how many times I plan on wearing them. And not only that, but I’ve never really been one to ‘update’ my wardrobe according to ‘trends’ every season because a) I don’t was to spend any money on a cheap imitation of what I really want, b) I’m not at all interested in making purchases just to ensure I can be ‘on trend’ (i.e, look like everyone else), and c) let’s face it, I doubt I’ll be in a position to buy many, if any, new pieces each season!
So, as a veteran shopper (aren’t we all?) and occasional hard-core saver, here are my 5 personal tips on how to shop wisely when you’re facing a budget:
1. ‘Investment pieces’ are a damn myth
For years I bought into (excuse the pun) the myth that the perfect t-shirt or cashmere sweater was worth it’s weight in gold because I would have it forever and it goes with everything. While I still kinda stand by this (there’s not much better than a delicious wardrobe staple), if you’re on a budget just forget ‘investment pieces’ altogether – I guarantee the white tee from Topshop will do the job just as well as the white tee from Alexander Wang.
2. Jeans are the exception that proves the rule
I will fight to my dying breath in favour of high-quality (and therefore high-priced) jeans. If you’re like me, and live in your jeans, then yes, the ‘investment piece’ may not entirely be a myth. The right pair can be worn pretty much every day and every where, and if they’re high quality then they always look chic. That being said, though, when you’re on a budget, it’s worth checking out some of the mid-range brands that could do the trick and it’s important never ever pay full-price. This might mean they’re sitting in your online ‘wishlist’ for a few months, or you may not end up with your ideal wash or style, but one good pair of jeans will be less expensive and more worthwhile in the long run than several cheap pairs.
3. Redefine your ‘neutral’ position
Obviously if you spend that money you should be saving on something super on-trend the chances are you’d rather die than wear it next season and you’ll have to buy something else. On the other hand, if you stick to basic neutrals (grey tees, white shirts, black dresses), it will feel like you’re wearing the same thing every day and you’ll still want to buy something else to mix it up a bit. My advice is to hunt out some unique prints and fabrics to become your personal neutrals that you can smash together in different ways or team with your cheap ‘basics’. You can wear these again and again because they’re not necessarily right on trend, but they’re not boring – they’re just you
4. Go leopard
If you want something that goes with everything, pick leopard print every time. I went through a phase where I needed a different belt, bag, and scarf for every outfit, but now I save myself a ton of money by opting for one of each in a great leopard print. It means you can look stylish without being boring or breaking the bank – and nothing else will transition as seamlessly between black, white, brown, grey, navy, and every print under the sun as the perfect leopard print (just make sure you pick it in a tone/shade you love).
5. Accessorise and tuck
Thread some shit on a long chain, wrap a ribbon around your wrist, pile on some old rings, buy a few inexpensive mix ’n match items in the online sales – a plain black t-shirt from 5 years ago will look entirely different depending on how you accessorise and tuck it. Tuck it into high-waisted skinny jeans and dig out a chunky necklace and gold bracelets on Friday, and on Saturday it will still look refreshing draped messily over your boyfriend jeans with a long silver pendant and rings.
And here’s a hot tip:
- Do your goddamn hair – This one’s my downfall, but I’ll make more of an effort this year. I absolutely suck at doing my hair. I don’t enjoy it and quite frankly it makes me cross and want to hit someone, but the fact is, a polished ‘do may be the cheapest wardrobe update I can muster. The simplest outfits (black shift anyone?) can look stylish and ‘put together’ if your hair is well groomed and you’ve slapped on a bit of lippie. With a GHD curler as my birthday gift I really have no excuse for shit hair anymore…