Style

6 Ways To Dress Classy And Save Money Doing It

By Alina Clough
·  5 min read
shutterstock 2074361320 (1)

Sometimes it feels like the clothes we buy go out of style before we even get the “order delivered” notification.

We’ve all been there: You see 10 influencers in a row wearing the latest cut or pattern, and convince yourself that this is the final piece that will complete your wardrobe once and for all.

Social media means that micro-trends have fashion cycles spinning faster and faster, and trying to keep up with every trend can be expensive and exhausting. “Fast fashion,” as it’s called, doesn’t just refer to how pieces are produced (often sloppily in sweatshops with horrendous conditions for their workers), and it isn’t just a list of brands, either, though you’d do well to avoid labels like Shein, H&M, and Fashion Nova

Rather, micro trends refer to the niche social media-worthy statement pieces designed to go out of style as quickly as they came in. They’re usually eye-catching combinations of cuts, prints, colors, and silhouettes you’ve never seen before (and likely won’t see ever again). And that’s kind of the whole point for fast-fashion manufacturers’ business models. 

These clothes seem cost-effective up front, but since they go out of style almost more quickly than they dissolve into microplastics, you end up needing bigger and more frequent “hauls” that ultimately stuff your closet while draining your wallet. 

Dressing timelessly is the ticket off the trend treadmill while never appearing outdated. These six tips can help you build a wardrobe to last:

1. Look for Well-Made Clothes

Higher quality pieces have better fabric materials and quality and better construction. Quality pieces often have multiple layers of fabric, use more natural fibers instead of polyester and other acrylic materials, and have more careful stitching that helps avoid seams falling apart. This means one piece can last for years instead of months, so one well-made skirt can outlast four from a fast-fashion manufacturer.

The good news is, many higher quality pieces are available for the same price as fast fashion, thanks to thrifting. And you don’t even need to live near a good thrift store. Sites like Poshmark and Mercari are loaded with second-hand or even new-with-tags pieces that rival the prices of even the cheapest online brands, meaning you’ll save in both the short and long term. Oh, and the environment will thank you too.

2. Wear Clothes That Fit and Flatter

From giant blazers to tiny boleros and from skinny jeans to extra baggy cargo pants, the pendulum from baggy to skin-tight swings back and forth a lot. When shopping, look for well-tailored items that can span decades, not just weeks. Both skin-tight and excessively baggy items go in and out of style quickly, but well-fitting pieces are both chicer and not as susceptible to being nudged out of style.

3. Avoid Over-Accessorizing

Just like with makeup, oftentimes less is more when it comes to accessorizing. While the right jewelry can add the finishing touch to an ensemble, too many bracelets, necklaces, and rings can end up distracting and leave you looking overdone.

Instead of piling on the jewelry and other adornments, opt for one statement piece that will elevate your outfit without overwhelming it. This might be a statement necklace, a chic bag, or a beautiful pair of earrings. Aim to keep just a few simple, versatile accessories that can go with a range of outfits, and avoid large or colorful pieces that require duplicates for different color palettes. In addition to keeping your outfit streamlined, the less is more approach also helps avoid cluttering your vanity with tangled necklaces you forget to wear.

4. Care for Your Clothing

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to prolong the life of your clothing is to pay attention to the care instructions. While it might be faster to throw your laundry all together in an extra hot wash and dry cycle, the long-term effects can leave your colors duller, your whites gray, and your knits pilled.

Separating your colors, washing loads at correct temperatures, and putting effort into learning to iron, starch, steam, and air dry as appropriate will extend the life of your clothing and make them look more polished with every wear.

5. Neutrals over Neon

Since color palettes rotate year to year, making the base of your wardrobe primarily neutral colors will keep you from looking off trend. Bright colors and loud patterns go out of style much faster since out-of-season tones are more apparent.

By sticking to simpler colors, you’ll be able to take your wardrobe from season to season and from year to year more seamlessly, without needing to budget for color refreshes every few months.

6. The 20% Rule

The average person only wears about 20% of their wardrobe. Fast-fashion manufacturers try to sell the idea that giant hauls of dozens of articles of clothing are a normal way to shop, but focusing on an intentional 20% allows you to save money, closet space, and sanity.

Focusing on classic staples like button-downs, a-line skirts, and sweaters that can be mixed and matched and dressed up with smaller pops of color help make a smaller wardrobe stretch further with fewer, more versatile pieces.

Closing Thoughts

Dressing timelessly as a woman is all about finding a balance between current fashion trends and classic styles. Invest in high-quality pieces, avoid over-accessorizing, pay attention to fit, and incorporate both neutrals and pops of color into your wardrobe. By doing so, you'll be able to create a wardrobe that will stand the test of time.

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