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Rethinking fashion to embrace personal style and budget

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 FASHION WITHOUT PRESSUREFashion jeans budget clothing


Fashion trends to one person may differ to the next especially when it comes to quality fabrics and cost.

A few months ago, I was folding some laundry and I noticed one of my sweatshirts was made in Bangladesh.

I wondered if the people who had made it were still alive because in 2013 a large garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed and killed over 1,110 people.

This factory manufactured clothes for a large number of brands that I happen to have in my closet. It was unsettling to think I was wearing something that had been produced in a sweatshop by workers making about 32 cents and hour. This brings a whole new meaning to the expression “slave to fashion”.

I admit that I have closets and dressers overflowing with cheap, disposable clothing. I cannot believe the trash bags of clothes that we stuff into the donation bins at regular intervals.

How many articles of clothing does one person need? How many of them do I actually wear on a regular basis? I read a statistic somewhere that people wear 10% of their wardrobe 90% of the time. Clearly, we need a lot less than we buy.


Fashion overflow


Why do we have so many clothes?

Fashion trends.  New styles are released with each season and there is a continuous cycle of style turn over. Hemlines, silhouettes, colours, prints and fabrics continually change.

Some of the trendier designs barely make it through one season. As much as I try to avoid trendy clothes, I can’t deny that there are times when I put on an article of clothing and it just doesn’t look right. It is out of style.

The majority of our clothes are not made to last. Sometimes we want trendy, cheap, instant gratification fashion and those articles are not manufactured to last. The quality of the materials and construction can be shabby. Seams tear, material pills or fades, zippers break, button pop off.

In some cases it can be more expensive to repair than to replace it. Some of my cheap fashion choices don’t even make it to donation bin because they are beyond repair. I am leaving a large, unsightly clothing footprint on the environment.


Reducing my clothing footprint


My approach to my wardrobe needs to change.

My first step is a big closet clean out, perform a fashion archaeology dig. The articles of clothing that have been buried in the back of my closet need to go.

I don’t wear them so why keep them. They just add to clutter and I find myself buying duplicates of things I already own because I don’t realize I already have something similar. I am hardly a fashionista but the amount of clothing I have accumulated is staggering.

I have no plans to add to my wardrobe but if I do, I will buy clothes that fit. As a petite woman it can be a struggle to find clothes that fit me properly.

When I settle for a less than perfect fit it is a waste of money. I never feel comfortable and I always rearrange or tug on my clothes.

I also will pay a little more to buy well-constructed clothes made with quality fabrics and materials. No more cheap clothes for me. They don’t have to be new, thrift is fine, but they need to be of sufficient quality to withstand wear and tear.


Personal fashion style


Lastly, and I believe this is the most important part; I will embrace my own personal style. I like and feel most comfortable in clothes that others would likely consider dull.

At work, you will find me in a pair of black dress pants and a dress shirt or blouse. Sometimes I like to shake it up a bit and wear grey slacks. People have remarked that I look as if I am wearing a uniform.

I need to accept that this is my style and stop trying to fight it. We tend to equate our fashion choices with our identity. We adorn ourselves with clothes to portray a certain image and it is time that I came to terms with mine.

When I do try to stray in fashion forward designs, I usually regret it and end up with another artifact buried in the depths my closet. I need to rethink fashion.

I found some personal style inspiration in Jessi Arrington’s TED talk, Wear Nothing New. She openly admits that she is “outfit obsessed” but satisfies her fashion sense with thrift and flea market shopping.

Her sense of style could not be any more different from mine but her message, “If you believe you’re a beautiful person inside and out, there is no look that you can’t pull off… We should be able to rock anything we want to rock.”

This video is worth the watch especially if you are into the latest fashion trends but don’t want to spend a fortune in your budget.

I hope you enjoy, I need to go rock my uniform now.

Thanks for reading.


Contribution post from personal finance blogger May from Messy Money.


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  1. @femmefrugality Second hand can be great. I have been even raiding my Moms closet, Thinking about setting up a friend clothing swap with some friends too.

  2. @Christine W – I love it – sneaking it out so hubby doesn’t notice. (Guilty of same thing myself) Sounds like you have had some good luck with the thrift circuit.

  3. @debs Hi Debs – the rule of thumb that I have been told – is that if you have not worn it for a year (and it is not a tuxedo or a ball gown) you can safely let it go. Don’t always follow through on that myself – but working on it. Cheers

  4. That’s the truth. I can agonize over letting things go – and to be honest I cannot remember on article of clothing I have donated that i have later wished I held on to.

  5. @Will Firstqfinance. Looking forward to your fashion blog. LOL. Agree on the style of the moment – most of those are manufactured cheaply because they want to get them out the masses and they know that the style won’t last.

  6. @Aldo – It is amazing to me how much clothing we can stuff into our dresser drawers – when doing a clean out I can’t figure out how it all fit in there. Two bags sounds like a good start.

  7. hah! I’m in the same boat. I so hate clothes shopping that I rarely buy new clothes. So at Christmas and birthday time I tend to get my new wardrobe for the next year or so… 🙂

    And yet somehow I still have a ton of clothes (although looking recently some are quite dated so it might be time to retire some shirts…)

  8. What a fun video! It’s so easy to live in excess and completely true that I probably wear 10% of my clothes. Here’s to rockin’ the rest of what’s in the closet or saying good-bye!

  9. Embrace your style! Yes! I’m all about wearing what I enjoy and what’s comfortable. I just refuse to wear stuff that I’m not comfy in all day. Life is too short to wear tights that are too tight. I really need to do some archeology on my closet too–I absolutely know there’s stuff lingering in there that I haven’t worn for a year!

  10. I’m so with you and Jessi on second hand! You can get much better brands for less than you can buy crappy clothes at. And you save the environment and hopefully a few foreign child-laborers!

  11. We shop the thrift store all the time!!!! Not just for clothes…this family loves books and my younger son is currently working on the Company’s Coming series of cook books!! I’m waiting for him to try cooking a few things here, he often comes grocery shopping with me.
    We get clothes at the thrift store, this summer’s big find was a nice pair of capris for a whole $2.50!!! T-shirts are great. Before hubby retires due to illness he bought t-shirts there a lot as he worked with chemicals and that can be very hard on the clothes. He still has some pretty ratty t-shirts for doing dirty work around here!
    I’ll be going through a lot of clothes shortly as the season changes and I go looking for some nice sweat shirts to wear around the house, I’m pretty casual here. Anything I don’t want to keep will be donated for some one else or tossed if it’s too ratty. I need to work on the de-clutter as well and that gets done slowly… a bag here and there so I can sneak it out without hubby noticing!!

  12. I’m trying to clear out my closet because I wear 10%, 90% of the time! I don’t want to throw stuff away in case I need it later so I’m just doing relocation to the guest room. I want a less filled looking closet. Maybe later I will be able to part with the guest room clutter

  13. I have family in Europe and they tell me it is quite natural to wear your clothes two days in a row there. Not as well accepted in North America it seems. Thrift shops are great but can still lead to impulse buys. I think it is great that you give away your clothes on vacation – I had never thought of doing that.

  14. Yes, it can seem like clothes multiply when we are not looking. (I know it is true for laundry.) You may be able to get a local charity to come pick up the clothes you no longer need. Good luck with the clean out.!

  15. It took me years to be able to say this but my DH actually owns more clothes that I do now! But I really value well made, tailored pieces that work well on me. So I own less pieces but they are lasting a really long time. I will always first look to buy them for a lot less since the mark-ups on clothing is over 50% wholesale pricing.

  16. I like to wear clothes that are comfortable, not necessarily trendy but also not out of place. When I moved for college I realized how fashion overflowed I was. I got rid more than half of them, and guess what, I didn’t even miss any of them!

  17. This post has inspired me to find my own personal style. I’m tired of just buying whatever is ‘hot’ at the moment. This will save me oodles of moola as well. 🙂

    Time to start a new fashion blog! JK.

  18. My biggest complaint is that we all feel the need to change our clothes everyday. Where has that come from? In recent years this has become more and more prevalent. This has naturally increased our wardrobe as well as wasted huge amounts of soap and water and to top it off wears out our clothing much faster. My husband and I are proponents of thrift shops but I try to buy only what i know i will wear. Even then, if we take a trip to Cuba or Mexico we always carry a suitcase of clothing to give away.

  19. I know all about the “way too many clothes” issue…I am in the process of downsizing everything in the house though, not just the clothing. The clothes will be leaving when I eventually get to those rooms! 🙂

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