Monthly Archives

July 2011

Closet 101 Life Style

Shopping and the Budget – Part Two

It has been a while since I did my first Shopping and the Budget post. I really enjoyed that post – I received so much great feedback and wonderful tips from readers. I finally got my act together and wrote Part 2 – I hope you all enjoy, and again please share your tips in comments (or if you’re shy, email me!) I love to hear all of them and can’t be reminded enough times about responsible spending and saving. So, here we go – more rules that I live by when shopping and budgeting, and if you need a refresher, Rules 1-5 are here.

6) The 80/20 rule. No matter how many times I hear the Pareto principle, I still am amazed by how true it rings for so many things in life – that 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. Translated and diluted down for my extreme layman’s ears, it means that 20% of my closet makes up what I wear 80% of the time. And it’s totally true! Do you know how easily I am convinced to fork over my wallet for beautiful heels or gorgeous gowns? But honestly, I never wear them! Take these glitter Miu Mius which I picked up a while ago and have nearly worn on a few occasions, but never have.

I always end up swapping them out because I have to do a lot of walking, or because a dinner companion is a notorious lush and wine spiller. So I end up wearing the same easy flats, cashmere dresses, cardigans, trenches, boots, over and over again. Why not invest more in those pieces? But it’s hard, I know – buying heels and sparkly things is always so much more fun than boring flats and cashmere cardigans. That’s why I..

7) Keep a list. I carry around a little Moleskine notebook that contains a hodgepodge of all my to do lists, insane musings, and a master “Closet buy” list for myself. I am constantly crossing items off and adding them on to the list – it’s a good way to write down everything you need in your closet and make sure you are sticking to the list when you are tempted to make an impulse purchase. In the past few months I checked off boots and work bag – I also added, and then took off, sequin skirt (don’t need it!!)

I always get my shoes resoled after I’ve worn them for a while – extends their life for years!

8) Take care of your things. I purchased my all time favorite Chanel bag in 2001 or so and still wear it – it’s going strong! My go to discreet interview shoes, from Joseph, I bought in 2000, have resoled twice, and love. My work Louboutins have had some nasty run ins with various street grates (ahh, my nightmare is falling through one day!) – but they are six years old.

Street grates are very scary…and sometimes I do get caught! The fix isn’t perfect but it will do and looks fine unless you are looking very closely. 

I resole, wash, tailor, polish, everything possible to keep my stuff in good shape. I think sometimes when you pay lots for luxury items, they are “too good to wear.” But to me, luxury means that it’s well made, right? So shouldn’t you be able to wear it, lots and lots?

Alberta Feretti dress: had the sides taken in on a satin dress

Valentino trench: had it made smaller (yes, the tailor cut through the lace part and resewed it), and the arm holes cut smaller as well. This was expensive!

Cynthia Steffe wool dress: had it hemmed and made slimmer

9) Make it work. This mantra, for me, generally involves becoming very, very good friends with a tailor. If I see something I love on sale and it’s not in my size, a quick calculation in my head on tailoring costs allows me to see if I can still buy it at a discount. Also, I have some items in my closet which after a quick trip to the tailor, have been refreshed – I generally hem dresses, tailor in (or out) coats and jackets, add v necks to things, whatever I think would make me wear an item more. Usually, it’s way cheaper for me to shop my closet than buy new things – and it’s better for the environment too. I included some photos of some of the items in my closet that I had altered at the tailor’s – none of them are easy (silk, wool, trench material) and they all turned out great.

10) Check the internet. I’m one of those annoying people who checks everything on the internet. If we pull up to a restaurant that is full of people and looks pretty good, I will still want to pause and check for online reviews. So whenever I am out shopping and see a great item, I am extra annoying and check the price on the internet. “Err…let me go check this important work email!” I bashfully said to the sweet Vince sales girl the other day, as I tried to quickly punch in a style name into Safari – “I will be done really quick, and then I can let you know about this sweater!” She totally knew what I was doing. I am so shameless. But the sweater was 40% off at Neiman’s and full price at the boutique, so….money talks! Always check for a better price.

Have a fabulous weekend! And please let me know – what are some more of your favorite shopping and budgeting tips?

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