June 26, 2008

6 Surprising Ways to Save Money on Clothing

By Cynthia Nellis, About.com

6 Surprising Ways to Save Money on Clothing

1. Reversible Clothing: Reversible clothing gained popularity with vacationers for its two-outfits-in-one versatility. But you can also use reversible clothing to save money on everyday clothes. Look for everything from swimwear to dresses that have two different sides (often one's a solid, the other's a print) to double the outfit's wearability.

2. Seasonless Clothing: One of the biggest money savers is opting for clothing you can wear year-round. Here are some of the best seasonless items:

  • Lightweight knits to layer.

  • Black, which works year round

  • Vests -- wear with a tank in the summer, a turtleneck in the winter.

3. Trading Down: If you've bought $200+ jeans and designer bags in the past but now can't afford them, don't give up on shopping. You can find great items at a price at mall-based and specialty store chains. For example, if you've been buying labels at a boutique, you may be surprised by how well budget stores like Forever 21, H&M and Cato interpret current trends for a very low price.Gap and Old Navy do a great job of turning out basics like jeans and tees for a price. You can even rent a designer bag at Bag, Borrow or Steal for less than purchasing.

4. Accessories: The right accessories can transform your wardrobe and give you multiple looks, which saves money. Some of the best accessories to extend a wardrobe:
A great belt -- wear it over everything from a shirtdress to a tunic top.
Scarves -- wear long ones wrapped around your neck, waist or head.
Inexpensive costume jewelry worn mixed and matched, especially long necklaces to layer and bangle bracelets.

5. Stretch Fabrics: The beauty of stretch fabrics? Stretch accommodates your body on fat or skinny days, so you don't have to buy black pants in three sizes. In the past stretch clothes got a bad rap (polyester!) but now the stretch is so subtle and comfy that you're the only one you know you're wearing it.

6. Washable Fabrics: Women's dry cleaning costs more than men, and it's a huge drain on your wardrobe budget to send items repeatedly to the dry cleaners. Although some items -- like evening dresses and suits -- require professional dry cleaning, many items can be handwashed with success.

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