After you’ve made the decision to clean out your closet, you might be left with… almost nothing. Don’t panic! When I went on my lean closet journey 5 years ago I realized that almost nothing in my closet was worth saving. I couldn’t afford to go on a spree at Nordstrom, but I have a few killer shopping tips up my sleeve! Building a quality wardrobe doesn’t have to be expensive, and today I’m spilling the beans on how I rock a (mostly) designer quality wardrobe without breaking the bank.
1. take your time
Shop with intent… it’s a necessary part of crafting your perfect wardrobe. Shopping from a list (and sticking to it!) will save you money by avoiding all those impulse buys that you’ll never wear.
2. Know Your Fabrics
One thing I always always do when shopping is check the fabric content label. Look for natural fibers like cotton, linen, silk, wool, and rayon… these fabrics will be breathable, comfortable, and stand the test of time. I’ve found plenty of lovely cotton & rayon tops at Forever 21 & H&M, so there are even some quality gems to be found at fast fashion prices!
3. shop secondhand
This is my number one secret to scoring amazing designer finds for pennies on the dollar! Most people don’t believe me when I say that half of my closet is second hand finds, but girlfriends listen up… there are rich women everywhere with more clothes than they have time to wear! Most of my pre-loved finds still have the price tags attached or are barely worn, so there’s no need to be squeamish. Here are my favorite places to shop:
Online shopping is pretty much a necessity at this point in my life because I’m so stinkin busy! My favorite places to shop online for second hand scores are Tradesy (kind of like eBay, but just for women’s fashion and everything is guaranteed authentic) and Yoogis Closet (for splurge-worthy designer shoes & accessories).
If you have a little more time on your hands, I highly recommend searching out some local consignment shops and buy/sell/trade places! I often find better deals in person than I do online, but the selection is more limited & your location will have a big part to play in the brands you find. I usually stick to consignment shops in big cities, wealthy suburbs, and near college campuses.
The Thrift Store
I’m going to be honest (because I like you guys) and admit that the thrift store is not for everybody. Sometimes you’ll spend an hour looking at old ugly sweaters just to leave empty handed… but sometimes you’ll stumble across an insanely cheap treasure (like this jacket I scored for $10). I don’t always have the time or patience to thrift but it can be fun when you’re in the right mood!
4. Sell Out
My other top secret tip to keeping my wardrobe fresh on a budget: sell what you don’t wear! This is especially helpful after a big closet purge… the funds from selling your unloved items can go a long way toward purchasing a few new essentials. I also like to keep my trendy pieces on rotation, selling what I’m tired of wearing to fund this year’s new obsession.
Selling High End
For high end designer items I prefer to sell them online to maximize my payout. Tradesy is my favorite, but if you prefer a more hands off approach and don’t mind giving up a slightly bigger cut I’d recommend selling through Yoogis.
Selling High Street
When it comes to selling pieces that aren’t necessarily designer, don’t assume they aren’t worth anything! If you live near a buy/sell/trade shop (Buffalo Exchange is my favorite!) you can take a bag of your clothes in and walk out a few minutes later with cash or store credit. If you don’t live near a store like that, Thredup* is a cool new option I’ve used a few times. They send you a bag to fill up and you just mail it in and wait for your payout. It’s super convenient, but the cons are that if you want your rejected items back it’ll cost you $12.99, and the processing time is usually a bit slow. (*referral link)
More In The Lean Closet Series:
Build a wardrobe you love by following the lean closet series from the beginning:
- 3 Fundamentals Of A Perfect Wardrobe
- How To Define Your Personal Style
- How To Determine Your Wardrobe Lifestyle Essentials
- How To Use Pinterest To Plan Your Wardrobe
- The Easy Way To Clean Out Your Closet
- The Simple 80/20 Rule For Wardrobe Awesomeness
Do you have any other awesome tips for building a quality wardrobe on a budget? Please share in the comments!