Holiday Fashion: Shopping on a Budget
It's incredibly difficult not to shop for yourself throughout the season, but with a bit of resolve you can score some great holiday fashions on a budget. My weakness is clothing - the deals this time of year are so tantalizing that I have a hard time saying "no" and will somehow rationalize any purchases I make. Always seems like a good idea at the time...
If you're smart with your holiday fashion plan, you can maintain an interesting wardrobe without shelling out all the money you could otherwise be spending on meaningful gifts for loved ones, or rent.
- Shop at thrift stores. I recently wrote a how-to guide for thrifting that seems to work pretty well for me. If you hit up the 'burbs, you should be able to score a new winter jacket for less than $20 and a dress for your staff Christmas party for less than $10.
- Organize a clothing swap. It's loads of fun, and over the holiday season is a great way to reconnect with your friends. You could even have a themed clothing swap, ie. "Holiday Party Gear," and save yourself the hassle of purchasing a new outfit that you may only wear once.
- Seek out stores that have deep discounts, and sample sale events. Many boutiques have one-night-only sales prior to Christmas - find those, and get on their mailing list so you don't miss the next one.
- Learn how to Do It Yourself! Check out the NowPublic.com DIY channel for some great resources.
- Read advice columns such as the Budget Fashionista for some inspiration and ways to get creative with your wardrobe - and save money while doing so.
Where do you go from here? Go through your calendar and identify how many parties and events you'll have over the coming month. Now, go through your closet and set aside any outfits, dresses, pieces, shoes, accessories that you think may be appropriate. Have fun with mixing-matching, as an old dress can look new again with some creative layering or accessories. While you're going through your closet, see if there are any old clothes you need to purge - your local thrift store or charity could probably use it right about now.
Once you have a good idea of what you have, you can start to narrow down what you still need. The worst thing you could do to yourself if you're shopping on a budget is to head out into the world of retail without an agenda; this is when impulse buying happens! Regret really kicks in when you realize that that dress you bought for 40% off isn't returnable or exchangeable due to the amazing discount. So be sure.
Finally, while you may not be able to organize a clothing swap in time for all those holiday parties, you can solicit the help of friends. Pilfer through the closets of your best buds - just remember to promptly return the items so you aren't barred from borrowing in the future!