Althetes of Shopping. Budgeting for a Win.

I can't count the number of times I get asked how often I shop or how many pieces of clothing I own. Yes, I do seem to shop often and yes, I do own a ridiculous amount of clothing and shoes. BUT it was all purchased on a budget and with a trained mind. I work hard for every dollar that I spend and I make sure not to let a penny go to waste! This is how I manage to collect and hoard a crap ton of shirts, jeans, jackets, shoes, and accessories and still have money to go out and enjoy myself with friends and family.

Now a days, when you think of fashion and being stylish, you instantly think that you must have a lot of money to purchase all the big names that we hear and read about daily. Whether its designer garments being worn by celebrities or high in boutiques lining the streets of NYC and LA. Don't let this major hype stop you from thinking that you can still look cool and dress in a stylish way without having to make over a $100k a year. The trick is all about how you shop, the things you buy and prioritizing high priced purchases.

When I go shopping, I like to walk in with a clear mind. You can't go into a store with strict guidelines of what you want because in most cases, you won't seem to find them. Its OK to have an idea of what you are looking for, but remember, there isn't a custom designer sitting in the back room, waiting to whip out your much needed garment.

A great practice to adopt when it comes to shopping is not to make an attempt to look at every piece the store has to offer. Not only will that make the shopping trip take hours out of your day, but you'll leave exhausted and probably with tons of items that you thought you would wear and love, but probably will hate and they will forever live in the back of your closet. I like to skim the racks. When doing so, I am looking for colors that I know will look well on me and that I like to wear. Another thing to look for are silhouettes that are flattering to your body type. I personally like to look for bold prints, and patterns. By doing so, it will help eliminate all the junk that you know you'll hate but will assist in training the eye to hone into pieces that you know you'll love.

Another tactic to use, is to learn the feel for fabric. I'm sure we have all had those items that we loved when we first bought them. After a few wears, or a few times going through the washer they are completely destroyed. I like to go through and feel all the garments that I’m interested in and understand what will shrink in the dryer or will easily get holes in them. Usually these are the garments that are make out of really thin knits or pieces with a lot of spandex in them. To preserve these purchases, hand wash them or after washing, leave them out to hang dry.

The most important tactic that I use is prioritizing high priced purchases. My most expensive pieces that I own are either jackets or shoes. The reason for doing so is due to the fact that jackets and shoes can completely make an outfit. When getting ready in the morning, you can rotate your tops and bottoms but when you purchase a specialty shoe or a rad jacket and place that with your outfit, those are the pieces that are going to shine. You can wear the same outfit over and over again but as long as you wear a statement shoe or jacket, it will look completely different. Accessories can do this trick as well. Think about investing in different style of necklaces, bracelets and hats. Use these pieces to take your looks to a totally new level, changing the styles from edgy to boho chic. All can be done with just the change of shoe, necklace, hat or fit of the jacket.

Last but not least, never leave the store with a garment that you are just feeling “ok” about. One trick that I have learned the hard way is to not just buy things that I think are cool or that I feel that I could EVENTUALLY get use out of. If I see something in the store, I need to know exactly what I would be able to use it for. I need to know the exact look I would be going for when I decided to pull that out of my closet and wear it. By doing this, you will eliminate a lot of those purchases that you eventually have buyer's remorse over once you leave the store. This will also help you buy things that you only need or want. No more going home with tons of bags only to return them the next day or later that week after looking at your bank account and shedding a tiny tear. Buy smart and you'll never have to worry about returning a thing.

Its great to shop at nice stores within the mall, boutiques and shops online, but lets also not forget about vintage shops when doing so! Vintage shops are like gold mines just waiting to be discovered. The pieces that you find within vintage shops are not only one of a kind but you can feel safe to know that your items won't shrink or be ruined in the wash since they have already been washed and worn in. When it comes to awesome flannels, distressed jeans and rad vintage boots and shoes, its nice to have someone else do the work for you and have the thought of wearing pieces that have been around for years with so much history and character.

In closing, keep in mind that shopping should be fun. It's almost like a sport to me. Going home with items that I love and know that I will be able to rock with pride is like going home with a win! Next time you're out on the shopping field, try out some of these tricks and see if it helps eliminate the stress and frustration. Hopefully it helps you buy things that you'll keep and not return later with great remorse. And hopefully it'll save you a dime or two!