This picture was taken in the fitting room at Brandy Melville. I loved these high waisted denim shorts and oddly enough, they got me thinking about my finances.
These itty bitty shorts were fun to try on because they have a sort of ‘Spanx” affect but they were so tight and short that I could barely sit down in them and the store was sold out in a bigger size. Still, I contemplated buying them - wrong size and all - for a looong time. I came very close but decided to be a “smart shopper” and not buy something that didn’t make my “Gotta Have It List”. I’ve found that only buying clothes that meet all of the criteria on this list has helped me save a lot of money and build a wardrobe that I really like with items I actually WEAR!
My Gotta Have It Shopping Criteria
1. Perfect Fit
Clothes that don’t fit MAKE YOU FEEL HORRIBLE. Period. Even though it’s fun to be able to zip up a teeny tiny pair of shorts, they’re not a practical buy because you will never wear them. You might be able to convince yourself that you will in the store but the day will soon come when you’re standing in front of your closet and you’ve just had two bowls of cereal and you haven’t shaved your legs in a few days and for some reason THIS will be the day the shorts are choosen, held up to your bloated belly and promptly thrown to the back of the closet only to be replaced by your go-to leggings that cover your furry stems and stretch over your bulging midsection. And because of some kind of weird fashion-specific clause of Murphy’s Law, you will only ever see those shorts in your closet on those days. But let’s say a day comes that you do feel like slipping into those teensy shorts. I guarantee you will be forced to limit the day to “standing only” activities because we all know, wearing something that isn’t your size inevitably results in the ever-dreaded muffin top. So, no. Just no. I don’t care that they actually zipped. If you can’t sit down in them, or they are ill fitting in any way, you must put them back. Only buy clothes that really fit.
2. Does it actually look good? Trendy does NOT equal flattering
Shift dresses, MC Hammer pants, and leather overalls might look amazing on Kate Moss but it’s important to be realistic about your body. I am 5’9” and about 150 pounds. I have a long torso and long legs, making my fashion options very different to those of say, Eva Longoria. For example, my height allows me to wear maxi skirts, high waisted mini skirts and midi dresses but I am really not suited for shapeless bohemian sundresses, Peter Pan collared shift dresses or itty bitty rompers (actually, rompers of any sort make me look like an oversized toddler who has long since outgrown her onesie. Shame.) Conversely, someone with my build can easily pull off a one piece jumpsuit or empire waist maxi dress, that someone smaller might appear to be swimming in, so it all evens out in the end. My point is, know your body and wear clothes that make your (amazingly beautiful perfect just the way it is) frame look exquisite. Don’t waste your time or money trying to be trendy just for the sake of being trendy. It’s kind of like being on a diet. Don’t think of what you can’t have, think of all the things you can! I’ll never look good in rompers. I’ve accepted it. You can too.
3. You can almost always find it cheaper
Price is not always a sign of quality. Sometimes, I go “window” shopping in nicer stores and pay attention to details like color, fabric, fit, etc. Then I keep an eye out in cheaper stores like Forever21 and H&M to see if they have anything comparable. They often do. If it’s good quality, fits you perfectly and is (amongst) the cheapest of it’s kind, then go for it. If not, put it back and keep an eye out for a while. There’s nothing more annoying than splurging on a sweater from TopShop only to find a near exact replica at Target for a quarter of the price a month later. (True story) Pretend you’re on that show “The Look For Less”. Have an item in mind and make it fun to hunt for the “look for less”. Games people. Play games. Fashion is fun and finding a great bargain is inexplicably gratifying. The turquoise dress above cost 8 dollars. (Mmmhmmm) I got it last summer from Forever 21 after seeing a lot of brightly colored “bandage dresses” in a wide array of prices. This one doesn’t have the tight, sucking-in affect that the bandage material gives but it was a similar cut and color to the ones I’d been eyeing and for 8 dollars, I couldn’t say no!
4. But do you NEEEED it?
I know, I know, it’s easy to “need” a lot of things, but do you really need it? I’m not saying this to sound mom-ish, I’m saying this to spare you the irritation that comes with a closet that is filled with a million pairs of 6 inch heels, neon off the shoulder tops, and countless identical bangles with NO everyday jeans, matching socks or layering tank tops. If you don’t have some sort of inventory of what you already have, then you won’t be able to remember what you actually need when you go to the store. You’ll find yourself buying things you don’t need, which is not only excessive but generally leads to a closet that doesn’t feel like “you” with items that never get worn because you don’t have anything that works with them. To ensure this doesn’t happen, keep a list in the notes app of your iPhone, keep a little notebook in your purse or utilize online sites like Pintrest and Polyvore to keep track of what your closet is actually missing and then fill in the gaps. That third red flannel might be “amazing”, but no one else notices that this one has a thin beige stripe and the other one is black. They’ll just think you wear the same shirt every day and judge you accordingly ;) Don’t buy doubles of what you already have. Buy what you need.
5. Alright, alright, go for it.
Ok. Finally. I give you my blessing. Get it! IFFFFF, and only if, it FITS, is a great price and quality and is needed in your wardrobe. But don’t go crazy and buy the whole store. Buy that item, or a few items that you’ve really been wanting and bask in the incomparable joy of owning brand new, perfectly fitting, fun clothes that make you feel FANTASTIC! You will feel great knowing that you made a fabulous fashion choice AND respected your budget. Looking good really does make you feel good and that can make you want be good to yourself and others so…rock it and spread the good…ness. (*z snaps awkwardly*)
Hope you found this helpful! Let me know what your”Gotta Have It” criteria is in the comments below and be sure to check out my YouTube channel and Instagram for more budget friendly beauty, health and fashion tips :)