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How to Save Money with Mix-and-Match Clothing

How to Make Clothes Frugal

by Nikki Willhite

pink dress

Clothing can take a big bite out of your budget if you do not learn frugal clothing strategies. To save money you must learn to make the best use of the smallest amount of clothing.

This article is for women. It is about the need to buy the correct pieces to stretch wardrobes,  and how to use all of the clothes in your closet.

Many women have huge closets of clothing, but they don't wear all of them.  The obsession with clothing and shoes in our society has gotten ridiculous.  Sometimes price tags are not even taken off items that hang in closets. What a waste of money. 

The best way to make good use of your clothing is to mix and match that which you own, and wear everything.  This can be done by mixing-and-matching items and dressing them up and down.

Here are some tips to help you with some of the basic pieces in your closet.

 

JACKETS

Jackets serve two purposes- fashion and warmth.  You can find Jackets in fabrics from velvet to corduroy. There are conservative cuts, and trendy pieces.  If you want to build a frugal wardrobe, stick with the classics.  There are many classic cuts, from double breasted to the classic channel jacket.

There are so many ways to wear jackets.  Invest in one good jacket,  wear it over and over, and the price per wearing becomes only a few pennies.

- The High Powered Business Jacket

This jacket is usually very dark, (black, navy or gray) and is worn with a skirt (or pants) in the same color.  It is worn with a shirt that is also in a dark color.  Not everyone looks good wearing all dark colors, but this is what you wear when you want to look very conservative.

- Regular Business Attire

You may soften the look of your outfit by wearing a white shirt, or a shirt in a pastel color.  You can also mix the fabrics and colors.  However, the jacket and skirt should be classic in style and conservative in color.

- Meetings

Take the same black jacket, and relax the look even more by wearing a colorful shirt or sweater under the jacket.  Wear a more patterned skirt or pair of pants. Give a little more personality to the outfit with colorful jewelry.

- Casual Wear

Finally, for very casual wear,  use your jacket with your blue jeans.  The jeans should be in a more formal dark wash.

 

SWEATERS

Sweaters are another versatile piece in the frugal wardrobe. Once again, sweaters serve two purposes- fashion and warmth.  Sweaters come in several styles, are made of knitted fabric, and almost always soft and snuggly.

Sweaters are knit from many types of yarn, from heavy ply to very thin yarn.  You want to buy sweaters that will last, so don't choose any with a very loose knit.

Again, there are conservative and trendy cuts.  If you are buying a cardigan (which functions as a jacket), you want to stick with a conservative cut.  However, you can be more stylish with pullover sweaters. Knit fabrics do not last as long as other garments.  The fabric often tears, snags, and ravels. 

Here are 3 basic ways to wear sweaters.

- Under a Jacket

As mentioned in the jacket section, you can wear a sweater under a jacket for a more casual, yet dressy appearance.  To make it more interesting, you can also wear a blouse under the sweater. Sweaters look good when dressed up with both scarves and jewelry.

- Combined with a Blouse

Sweaters can achieve many looks when worn over blouses.  You can improve the appearance of many of your blouses by topping them with a sweater.  Many blouses and sweaters are now are made with 3/4 length sleeves.  This provides the opportunity to wear a long sleeve blouse under a sweater with 3/4 long sleeves, and then roll up the sleeves on the blouse.

- Worn Alone

Sweaters look great worn alone over skirts or pants.  Again, both jewelry and scarves look great on sweaters.

 

BLOUSES

Blouses will be one of the least expensive items in your wardrobe, and here is where you want to have a variety of colors and styles.

Blouses are worn close to your face, so you do want to be sure and buy them in colors that flatter your face.

Unless you work in a conservative business environment, you can have a lot of fun with colors and styles.  If you have kept your skirts and pants in neutral colors, you should be able to pair them with almost everything in your wardrobe.

If you are large busted, but sure the sleeve length does not end at the same place as your bust  If your blouse buttons, be sure you can move your arms freely, and there are not gaps between the buttons. If your legs are short, do not buy your blouses too long, or your legs will look shorter if you do not tuck them in.

Here are the basic ways to wear your blouses:

- Business Wear

As mentioned in the jacket section, the most conservative, sophisticated way to wear a blouse is to wear a dark blouse under a dark suit.  Wear a light colored blouse to make the outfit less conservative.  You can also wear a vest over the blouse for a very business-like look

- Vests

Vests lend versatility to blouses.  Wear a tailored vest over a blouse for a more formal look.  You have a variety of options when it comes to vests, from the conservative blouse, to the very informal looks you can achieve when you wear vests made of fleece and denim.  Vests are very easy to sew, and a good choice to expand a small wardrobe.

- Casual Wear

Blouses worn alone are usually worn with a piece of jewelry, unless the blouse has a lot of style from the cut and design of the blouse. The accessories worn with a blouse will dress it up or down.  Blouses are versatile.  You can wear the same cotton blouse with a pair of shorts or a skirt and sweater.  They cost less than the other items in your wardrobe so have some fun with color.

- Pants

The most versatile pants are conservative business pants and jeans.  You can wear them with all of the items above.  The fabric and the cut are what make pants go from dressy to casual.

Keep your dress pants conservative, and without pockets or other design details that draw attention, and you can get by with just a couple of pairs for work and special occasions.

Add a couple pair of jeans and a corduroy or twill pant in a neutral color, and that should be all you need.  No one is going to remember your pants.  You can wear them over and over until they need replacing.

How much casual wear you need depends on whether you stay at home or work.  It also depends on your leisure activities.  If you don't work, you should have more casual wear than business attire.  Keeping your wardrobe in balance to your needs is another skill for a frugal clothes shopper.

 

IN CONCLUSION

So these are the basic pieces for a mix-and-match wardrobe.  I've seen people with as few as 3 blouses and 3 skirts put together amazing outfits with the use of accessories like scarves and jewelry.

When it comes to clothes, less is more. You will take better care of your clothing, and it will always be clean and ready to go.  When everything goes together, a little goes a long way.

 

About the Author: Nikki Willhite, mother of 3 and an interior design graduate, has been writing and publishing articles on the topic of frugal living for over a decade. Visit her at www.frugalhappyfamilies.com - where you will find hundreds of frugal living tips and articles. Frugal Happy Families- more than just money!

 

 

 

 

 

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