Clothing prices on the rise; we share tips on getting the most out of a smaller wardrobe

September 14, 2011

Life and Spirit

It looks like we might be in the sunset years of fast fashion, the Guardian reported today. With problems in the cotton crop increasing the price of fabric and pay increases pushing up the cost of labour, the days of paying a fiver for a pair of Primark jeans may soon be over thanks to predicted rising clothing prices.

Image via hellojenuine

Image via hellojenuine

Where does that leave us, the fashion addicts?

Well, Lord Wolfson, chief executive of Next, is predicting that women will “stop bulk-buying clothes,” which may sound like a bit of a drag if you’re the type who likes to experiement a lot with trends. But there are some benefits to keeping your wardrobe small. It’s more economical for one; plus, investing in a high quality, smaller wardrobe reduces the amount of trash that goes out, making it better for the environment.

It doesn’t even mean you have to resign yourself to wearing boring outfits day after day as long as you shop smart. If you’re working on downsizing your wardrobe, here are some tips:

4. Don’t buy clothes that you’ll need to lose weight to fit into. You may lose the weight, or you may not lose the weight, and if you don’t you’re left with sinking money into outfits you’ll never be able to wear.

3. Before you buy, make sure you can get at least five wearable outfits of it with clothes you already have. You don’t want to invest in an entirely new wardrobe just so you can get some use out of that sequin camo tunic. And on the other hand, you don’t want to be stuffing your closet with too many single items you will never wear with anything. According to studies, the average British woman has about £200 worth of unworn clothes in her closet! Thinking of your wardrobe as a whole can help avoid that money trap. One trick some super-organised people use is to keep pictures of their individual items of clothing on their phone for quick access, but being sure to have a look-over of what you’ve got every so often should be enough.

2. Invest in basics and spice them up with one or two “big ticket” items. Layering is automatic chic and lets you get so many more looks out of a small number of items, plus you save money by getting wear out of items year after year by avoiding stocking your wardrobe with too many overt trends. Then, once you’ve got your basics out of the way, maybe add some statement jewelry or a knockout coat or a killer pair of heels. Buying fewer items a year means you can put the money into getting a handful of true-love pieces.

1. Even if it’s cheaper to buy clothes over the ‘net, make a point to at least check out the brand you’re buying in-store first. If your clothes are going to be lasting you multiple seasons, then it helps to check out things like the thickness of the jersey the brand typically uses, how well the items tend to be contructed, etc. Also, clothing from the same brands tend to be tailored for the same type of figure so even if you don’t see what you want in-store, you can check out if the brand cuts their clothes for you. If the cut makes you look fab, you’re going to be more likely to get a lot of use out of it.

So hey, keeping things small isn’t the death-knell on fun it sounds like. With a bit of creativity, you can still maintain a wardrobe you look forward to diving into every day.

Will rising clothing costs change your shopping habits? Or do you have any downsized-shopping tips to share with us? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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