The average Canadian spends $3,503 per year on clothes and accessories. That means that on average, Canadians spend $291.92 per month. Ouch. In other words, your shopping habit could be costing you…a lot. But the truth is that looking good and feeling good doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, it shouldn’t.
My closet is carefully curated and filled with high quality pieces that stand the test of time. If you peeked inside, you would probably think I was an average consumer. Most of my pants are Jessica Simpson or Zara and many of my shoes are Steve Madden. But looks can be deceiving. Last year, I spent a grand total of $350 on new clothes and it’s not because I don’t care about fashion. My secrets are simple: shop smart, basics are best and if all else fails, rent.
Next time you’re tempted to hit the malls or fall down the rabbit hole of online shopping, try these tips instead.
Shopping is all about strategy and I’m not talking about the coupon clipping kind. Instead of bargain hunting at low-quality stores, make a list of items you want need and keep your eyes peeled. Every time you’re at the mall or near your favorite store, pop in and look at the sales. The key to success is to know what you want before you enter. When you enter a store, you should be like a cheetah that is ready for the kill. Never browse through racks or impulse spend. Instead, treat the experience like a business exchange. Consult your previously written list of needs and search for it. If the store has it and it’s on sale, that’s great! If not, the hunt continues, and that’s fine as well.
My favorite memory of shopping smart is when I snagged a pair of BCBG heeled booties for $25. The retail value? $100. I had been searching for this particular style of bootie for nearly six months when I finally saw them on sale in a store. Because I already knew they were on my list, I didn’t hesitate to jump at the deal. I’ve been wearing them ever since.
Basics are Best
Anytime you’re trying to spend less money on clothes, it’s important to think in terms of basics. As a rule of thumb, nearly every piece in your closet should be able to mix and match with the rest of your items. Black pants and solid colored cardigans are great staples to have because they can be worn hundreds of different ways. If plain clothing sounds like a nightmare, don’t fret. The best way to add some color and personality is with patterned shirts and statement jewelry. Shirts and costume jewelry are typically the cheapest items to purchase. Because of that, they are the best pieces to experiment with. Paired with a chunky necklace and cuff bracelet, your black jeans and beige cardigan will look effortlessly chic.
Rent Your Closet
There’s a new trend in the online marketplace and it looks like it is here to stay: subscription clothing. For about $80 (CAD) per month, you can rent an unlimited amount of clothing and accessories. Although $80 isn’t necessarily a small amount of cash, it is significantly less than the national average of $291.92. Depending on how much you enjoy clothes, clothing requirements at your job and the value you place on your wardrobe, subscription-clothing services may be a great way to update your wardrobe on the cheap.
When I first heard of the concept, I was intrigued. After some research, I decided to give it a go and signed up for Le Tote. The results have been pretty phenomenal. For $80 per month, I am able to shop an online “store,” choose three pieces of clothing plus two accessories and have them delivered to my door within two days. I can keep my “tote” as long or as short as I want and insurance is included, so if I accidentally spill on an item or break it, I don’t have to pay. Once I’m done with the tote, I slip it in the prepaid mailing bag that came with the tote, style my new collection online and receive it within 3 days. There’s no stress, no hassle and the clothes are amazing. If you’re looking for more variety and don’t want to break the bank, then clothes rentals might be the answer.