When I was a young girl, I remember going to our nearby department store, Mervyn’s, and feeling like everything was so fancy. I’d wander around the girl’s department and dream about wearing the embellished, glittery tees and dresses covered in flowers. It was a special occasion when we were allowed to purchase something, and I often wondered what it would feel like to wear such pretty things every day.
Fast forward to today, and I’ll take Style Shop Denver clients to Target, Nordstrom, and every store in between to accommodate their budget and lifestyle. I have a passion for working with women who can’t afford the priciest pieces of clothing, perhaps because I didn’t grow up wearing name brands myself.
I often get asked what I recommend for clothing when it comes to quality. When should a client invest and when can she get away with a lower price point? I’ve found that even clients that CAN afford high-quality pieces don’t necessarily want to spend boo koo bucks on clothing. It might be fun for them to hunt for a good deal, strategically select what pieces can be purchased at a lower price point, and create a variety of high and low-priced items in their wardrobe.
Before I go any further, I should clarify that a high-quality piece of clothing doesn’t always equal a high-priced piece of clothing. There’s definitely a way to find high-quality items at a low price point, including shopping sales, visiting second-hand stores, or taking advantage of discount retailers like Nordstrom Rack.
However, there’s a few details that aren’t always considered when it comes to buying high and low-quality clothing. Here’s 5 factors to review when selecting the quality of clothing in your wardrobe:
It's important to think about the way quality factors into your lifestyle. Are you a mom of littles who cycles through tee shirts every couple of months? Or are you like my husband, who often forgets he's wearing his best jeans when working in the garage? Or do you prefer to shop for the season once a year or once every couple of years and keep the things you own in good condition? If you find yourself unable to keep up with holes, stains, and pilling from clothing (whether it’s a high-quality piece or a low-quality piece), it’s OK to spend less on items you know you’ll cycle through every season.
2. Laundry Routine
Choosing the quality has a LOT to do with how you realistically wear and care for your clothing. If you know it isn't realistic for you to dry clean an item of clothing, or even wash it in a gentle cycle and hang it to dry, I wouldn't recommend investing in clothing that you won't be able to take care of as the label instructs. If it's more practical for you to buy pieces, throw them in the dryer, and pick out new things in another 4-6 months, I'd recommend shopping budget-friendly stores.
3. Trendy Items
When it comes to trendy items that will likely go out of style the following season, feel free to pick up the style at Target, H&M, or Old Navy. For example, certain colors will be trendy one season and unpopular the next. With that said, if a current trend feels like YOU and perfectly fits your personal style, it’s OK to invest in the item if you know you’ll wear it no matter what. One of my Style Shop Denver clients loves the ladylike bell sleeves, over-the-top ruffles, and feminine embellishment that’s currently on trend and knows she’ll wear it even if it goes out of style. She invested more in these trendy pieces because they represent her personal style so well.
4. Cost Per Wear
Consider cost per wear when purchasing an item. If you're wearing an item frequently, you'll want to spend more money on the item so it holds up. The cost of the item can be higher because it’s worn frequently. However, if you're buying a trendy item that can only be worn 1-2 ways in your wardrobe, it isn't worthwhile to spend a lot of money when you'll only wear it a handful of times.
Here’s an example. Say you purchase a pair of jeans for $100. You wear them twice a week for two years, costing you $0.48 every time you wear them. However, once you hit the two-year mark, the jeans start unraveling and loose their shape.
If you spend $200 on a pair of jeans and instead wear them twice a week for FOUR years, the cost per wear is still only $0.48, but they’ll last you two extra years! This illustrates why it makes sense to invest in a higher-quality item when you're wearing it often.
5. Change of Size
Lastly, when it comes to quality, it's important to think about sizing and whether you'll be changing size over the next several months. Do you hope to get pregnant? Lose weight? Will you be traveling? If you hope to get pregnant or just started a new workout routine but need clothing to wear NOW, I recommend buying mid-quality clothing at stores like Gap and Loft to prevent overspending on items you won't be able to wear again for a couple of years. Chances are, you'll want to pick up new pieces after getting back to your regular weight anyways!
What are your guidelines when it comes to quality? Do you have a personal set of rules you follow when budgeting for a wardrobe? Share YOUR best tip for saving or splurging below!
And make sure to stay tuned for my next blog post on what differentiates low-quality and high-quality pieces!