Hi friend. Does this ever happen to you? You’re out shopping and right before you’re gonna buy something you love, you’re at the check-out counter trying to talk yourself out of spending money because you “should be” spending it on something more important? I was getting dressed this fine Sunday morning and wanted to wear something really soft. I had nothing booked on my schedule but a massage, which felt so good because I’m always working, freelancing, styling, blogging, serving, or doing something to pay these damn bills and slay this debt. So, it seemed fitting to write a blog post today about how to shop your personal style while staying on budget. Regardless of how much money you make, everyone has their list of priorities for what they like to spend money on. What I’ve found is that most people don’t prioritize clothes, and building a dream wardrobe. To be honest, it hasn’t even been mine, and I’m a stylist! I’ve chosen to put business expenses first, and my eating on the go habit eats up much of my wardrobe budget. But, like Rocky Balboa says in the fourth film after defeating the Russian, “if I can change, and you can change, we can all change”. So let’s do it.
Dress For How You Want To Feel.
This morning, I went to my closet to get dressed. I was feeling soft and not in work mode (which is very nice for a change), so I decided to go with a v-neck white t-shirt from Madewell, with my 7 Of All Mankind ripped jeans and Toms sneakers, a Calvin Klein white coat and scarf. Then, I step outside to head to my massage appointment and I get hit with a gush of freezing wind. Spring is not here yet on the East Coast and I’m dressed like I’m living in LA. Since I haven’t been investing in my wardrobe I have a lot of things that I wore while living in Cali, when my style was very boho chic. Because I hate being cold, I ran back inside to change and looked at my limited, unbalanced wardrobe and didn’t really have an alternative option for the weather outside. So, I decided to switch up my whole look and grab my Equality nike t-shirt, black booties and a black blazer keeping the ripped jeans on. This look is super cute and one of my faves, but I was not happy leaving the house because it was my day off and here I was wearing a blazer and jeans like I’m working remote on a Monday morning. Everything went to shit from there. I left my giftcard for the massage at home, was running late and had to reschedule my appointment. This isn’t even a big deal, but it’s just evidence that anytime my clothes aren’t aligned with who I am or how I feel, I’m thrown off and stupid shit happens.
Only Buy Items That Fill The Gap In Your Wardrobe.
I went back home, changed again, and decided to wear what I originally had on and just suck it up. It was sunny outside anyway, but here’s the thing. All of this happened so I’d get my beautiful behind to the local Nordstrom Rack. I’m a stylist for crying out loud. I need to take my own advice, and fill in my own wardrobe gaps. As I was getting ready, I thought to myself I need shoes that can go with a lot of things that are easy to wear, but are also feminine. I was open to the color, and I didn’t even know what the store would have, but I decided to go make the effort to get myself a pair of shoes that my wardrobe desperately needed. And I was so happy to find these super cute Kate Spade New York white Lenox sneakers (pictured right).
The truth is, a comfortable, stylish pair of white sneakers have been on my list of things to add to my wardrobe for years. It’s been a gap in my wardrobe that I’ve gone without, but I’m so excited to put these cute ass sneakers to good use this spring and summer season coming up! There is so much you can do with white sneakers. This was definitely a great investment in my wardrobe. As soon as I got to the car, I switched out my Toms and put these on immediately and I instantly felt more like myself. Only buy what you love. I was drawn to these sneakers right away. Their Kate Spade New York, which is a brand I’ve loved for a long time, and they’ve got the perfect fit and feminine ruffle detail for me to feel casual and womanly. You’ll know when you’re trying to buy something you don’t really need. Most likely, it’ll be the thing that you naturally gravitate toward in the store out of pure habit. For example, I love blazers, pencil skirts, and work out clothes. But that is not an area of my wardrobe that needs investing at the moment. I need to focus on the underrepresented areas of my wardrobe to make sure I balance it out. If I have at work clothes, and work out clothes, but need semi-fancy and daytime outfits then that’s where my money needs to go.
Ask Yourself: How Do I Feel In My Outfit, Does It Match How I Want To Feel?
The first thing I want you to do when you try on clothes is notice exactly how you feel. This is a direct indicator of what you need in your wardrobe. For example, when I put on my Toms slip ons that were blue and white floral printed, they worked with my outfit, but they didn’t make me feel like my outfit was complete. Instead, I felt like these shoes were great two years ago when I was boho chic living in Los Angeles, California. Now, I’m back on the East Coast, and more of my urban street style comes through my clothing. Sophisticated streetwear will always be the core of my personal style. I grew up in the East Side streets of Allentown; watching my beautiful, sophisticated grandmother put herself together everyday never leaving the house without lipstick, nails done, with her jewelry, hair, and makeup on point. I took note, and followed suit. She’s one of my greatest style influences. The biggest problem I see as a stylist is how much people skip over asking themselves does this outfit really make me feel good? Do I feel sexy, confident, like myself? The feeling that follows is your answer. Take note. Get back in your closet if you need to.
Know Your Buying Tendencies When Shopping Your Style To Stay On Budget.
It’s important to feel how you want to feel in your clothes, fill in your wardrobe gaps when you’re buying new clothes, but another important part of that equation is staying on budget. One of the things I’ve been doing lately is carrying only cash into stores. No credit. I set a limit for myself, and it doesn’t give me the wiggle room to buy shit I don’t really need. Also, because I love shopping and it’s easy for me to flock toward things I already have plenty of, or really don’t need and add that to the cart, I set an intention to only buy what I need and love, and I say a prayer. I ask God to help me spend the amount of money that is in my highest good. It helps me center myself. Sometimes, when left to my own devices, I can bend and talk myself into spending more money than I need to. But I’m the happiest when I stick to my budget. Since I am a stylist, I’m setting aside 20% of the income I make each week to purchase an item for my wardrobe that I really need. Then, slowly but surely, I’ll build my dream wardrobe that is the true temperature of who I am present moment. I knew going into the store I didn’t want to spend more than $100. So I set that intention, and went into the store with $129, and only spent $80. For me, white sneakers are super versatile, and something I’ve been wanting to add to my wardrobe for forever. I also know since their Kate Spade New York, they are made well, and I’m going to get really good mileage out of them.
I also advocate for working off two separate budgets to shop your wardrobe. There are wardrobe items like shoes, blazers, shirts and jewelry that I’m more than okay with spending less money on because those things are more interchangeable for me. Then, there’s a higher budget I work off of for the wardrobe items that I’m really going to invest in, that are your more signature pieces worn frequently and therefore should be of higher quality than the other items. For my wardrobe, I like to invest in handbags, sunglasses, coats and jackets, jeans and dresses. For me, these are some of my more staple items in my wardrobe that are going to be the constants. And I like to invest in the things that I can depend on. I’ll easily spend $189-$200 on a pair of jeans that I know are well made, and will go the distance, than buying a cheaper pair that I have to constantly adjust, pull up all the time, gap at the back, or that I simply don’t love as much because I bought them on sale rather than tuning into if I really love them, if they’re my true style, and another indicator for me is if I can’t immediately picture them with things I already own, then it’s not a good fit. My new jeans gotta get along with the other things in my closet. Insert laughing out loud emoji here.
Your Dream Wardrobe Needs To Do These Two Things.
Anuschka Rees says, “your dream closet needs to be two things: tailored to your personal style and your lifestyle”. It’s important for your clothes to look good, feel good, but it’s important that they are also practical for how you spend your time. “A functional wardrobe is one that supports you in all of your endeavors, rather than making your life harder.” This is key because even if you’re going to the library to study all day, you should dress in a way that empowers you and makes you feel good. When you go to the library in sweats or clothes that make you feel frumpy, boring and sleepy — guess what you’re gonna do? You’re gonna fall asleep with your nose in the books and not feel like consuming information! None of that shit is gonna stick because you’re dressed like you’re ready to veg on the couch instead of study like you’re life depended on it.
Every wardrobe has six categories: daytime, working out, work, semi-fancy (for going out), black-tie, and at-home. Go through each item in your closet and literally make piles of everything you have and see where your wardrobe is underrepresented. This is a great way to determine where you need to be spending your money when it comes to filling the gaps in your wardrobe. Next, decide how much money you are willing to allocate to rebuilding your wardrobe. Remember, although it may seem like a frivilous expense to buy clothing, shoes and undergarments when your friends are inviting you to brunch and you’ve got to make student loan payments and such, it’s important to remind yourself that you get dressed every single day. Let that sink in: every single day. Your clothes have the power to dictate how you feel, how your day goes, and they can either set you up to go to sleep and feel lifeless and frumpy, or they can empower you to feel sexy and confident and slay that presentation or negotiate a raise. It’s up to you.