31 Days: Tips for Stretching Your Wardrobe

I really have a hard time spending money on myself. I’m trying to get better about that and I’ve definitely improved, but it’s still not easy. One thing that makes it easier to do is when I can find value in whatever I’m purchasing.

When it comes to clothes for my girls I have to consider whether they can wear them to school. They are at school a large chunk of the week, so if they can’t wear it to school it’s probably not going to make the trip home with us. It’s definitely a bit easier when it’s something for my older daughter since I know her little sister will get to wear it when she outgrows it. That alone gives us several years of wear and makes it possible to purchase outside our usual standbys, Target and Old Navy.

But for me… I don’t outgrow stuff unless I gain weight, so that’s no good. And who would I pass it down to? So if I want “nice” stuff, I have to find value some other way.

This is when it comes in handy to have a uniform established: if you know which clothing items you spend the most time in, it makes it easier to plunk down a little more money for them. Here are the items in which I find the most value:

1. Jeans

I wear them a lot. If they are a great fitting pair, I wear them even more. I can dress them up or down. I can wear them with tees or dresses or sandal or boots. It’s very easy to wear a pair of jeans 2 or 3 (or more) times before you need to wash them. This reduces wear and tear and increases the life of the jeans.

2. Outerwear/Cardigans

This may seem obvious, but I don’t mind spending a bit more on outerwear since I can wear it over and over again. In Houston, this definitely includes cardigans since that is sometimes all the outerwear we need. The trick is it has to be sturdy enough to withstand a washing machine when the need arises. With two young children, you just never know what may happen. I’m not going to spend $100 on a beautiful sweater that can easily snag while putting my daughter in her carseat. I will, however, spend $100 on a great coat that I can throw in the washer after my animal-cracker-faced three year-old gives me a very enthusiastic hug.

3. Jewelry

Jewelry can increase the mileage of your closet more than you might imagine. It’s very easy to change the look of your outfit simply by changing the accessories. Another bonus is your jewelry is always going to fit even when you lose or gain a few pounds. What I love is when you find a necklace that can be worn several different ways. This already valuable piece suddenly becomes more valuable when I can wear it long or short or layer it with another piece.

4. Shoes

I usually only buy shoes that are a very classic style OR that are so strongly “me” they will always fit my wardrobe. By doing that, I don’t mind spending $150 on a great pair of leather boots because I know I will wear them for years to come. If I want to buy a leopard print flat, however, I’m probably going to try to keep it under $50, or even under $30 if I can. Though animal prints have been a pretty sure thing for the last few seasons, it’s still not a classic enough look for me to part with $75.

5. Dresses

Not everyone loves dresses, but I really do. I love that I can dress them up or down depending on the accessories. I love that I can wear them with jeans or tights or nothing. I love that I can pair them with heels or flats or boots or sandals. I love that they look really girly and can look really fancy, but can actually be very comfortable. When you find a dress that can be worn several ways, it is definitely a valuable asset to your closet.

most valuable pieces

most valuable pieces by candyovercaffed featuring a jean jacket

Do you have any tricks for stretching your wardrobe? What is one thing you don’t mind spending a bit on and why?