Frugal Clothing

Paid Twice and Mrs. Micah today double teamed the subject of not being ashamed of being unable to afford things with the lovely Mrs. M focusing on clothing in particular, which brought me to an epiphany: how long have I had some of these clothes anyway?

Clothing may be the ultimate want vs. need item. Yes, we all need clothing (not quite in the same league as food and air, but close), but no, we don’t all need to spend $25 on a t shirt or $200 on a pair of shoes. The keys to being frugal with clothes are to not spend too much to begin with and to make whatever you get last.

Granted, clothes for kids (like my seven year old niece) don’t last; the kids outgrow them in short order. I swear there are tons of clothes that she received as gifts that she never wore. However, they can still be frugal–hand me downs, garage sale items, or tax write off donations to the local thrift store all can help the bottom line one way or another.

Personally, I have clothes in my closet that are older than my niece is. This past summer at KansasFest, my attire was composed primarily of the shirts from the annual event, one for every year since 1995. They all still fit (a few a bit too big). I get most of what I wear as gifts from family and friends; I have, in the last four years, bought three long sleeved shirts for important events, and about a dozen pairs of my infamous loud shorts. Almost all of my clothing purchases are at discount stores or factory outlets. Aside from those clothes, a pair of shoes every year or so, and “special event” t shirts (Honolulu Century Bike Ride, Great Aloha Run, KansasFest), I’ve not spent a dime on clothes.

Granted, I’m far from a fashion plate, but I’ve never been sent home from work inappropriately dressed nor been denied service at an eating establishment due to being underdressed. I’m more proud of how long some of these things have lasted and the fact that my (lack of) fashion sense has let me ignore trends and keep wearing whatever I have.

Clothing may rank up there with life’s biggest essentials, but it doesn’t have to be up there with life’s biggest expenses! Buying quality items that last, ignoring fashion trends, passing on (and accepting!) hand me downs, and shopping at discount stores or factory outlets are always to spend your clothing dollars more frugally.

3 Responses to “Frugal Clothing”

  1. Mrs. Micahon 22 Jan 2008 at 9:04 am

    I think the key to buying clothes is to go with style not fashion. At least for work ones. That way they’re never out of fashion because they’re classic. So you never need to update your wardrobe or risk looking behind the times. And you have to figure out what parts of classic work for you.

  2. oxymoronon 24 Jan 2008 at 4:57 pm

    $200 dollars for shoes?!? what an amazing idea. I can not justify, but I had a boss that $350 was his “minimum” for shoes and he had many pairs. there is something to be said about quality vs dollars and sometimes paying more will justify the cost. In April of 2005 I bought a pair of tennis shoes that cost $70 plus tax. I wore them daily until October of 2007, when I replaced them with a $40 pair. My $40 pair now needs to be replaced. So sometimes looking at bottom line is not the way to go.

  3. [...] of Uncommon-Cents responded to both of us by discussing clothing as the ultimate want vs. need item. So true. I mean, I need to be dressed for work today, [...]

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