Let’s say that you see an outfit in a magazine or store window that instantly calls to you, “Buy me, buy me!”

What do you do? Do you:

    1. Go online or into the store and buy it right then and there?

    2. Give yourself a few days to think it over?

    3. Look at the price tag, curse the stars that you weren’t born rich, and put it out of your mind?

Or do you going shopping for it in your own closet?

If you said one of the first three options because you have no idea what the fourth one is, I believe I can save you both money and a few choice words to your forebears. For once you start learning how to REALLY wear everything you own, not only will you save money, you’ll learn to make smarter choices when you shop.

So how do you shop in your own closet?

Start by taking the picture of the outfit you like (whether it’s from a magazine or just a mental snapshot), and head to your closet to see if you can re-create the look from the pieces you already have. You may not be able to replicate the exact ensemble, but you may find that you can approximate the look by using a blue jacket instead of black one, for example, or a pair of ankle straps instead of a pair of sandals.

Or you may find that you need to buy one thing to pull it all together instead of six things to start from scratch. Either way, you’ll probably find that you can evoke the new look without buying it all from head-to-toe.

Now this presupposes, of course, that you actually KNOW and can see the contents of your closet. Many women can’t. In fact, they can barely squeeze one more hanger onto the rack, let alone move them around freely enough to flip through their inventory. So they’ll swear up and down that they don’t have anything like what they’re looking at, buy it, bring it home, and are completely shocked to find that they already have something similar.

If you haven’t cleaned your closet it a while, chances are very good that you have some duplicates taking up space as well. Take some time to cull through your belongings and organize your wardrobe. Knowing what you have to work with is the first step to putting together a wardrobe that works.

Next, take some time to flip through fashion magazines, stroll through the mall, or click around online to get some ideas of different ways to wear things. Rip out magazine pages, print off web pages, or make a mental note of the outfits that strike your fancy while you’re window shopping. Then see if you can replicate the look by shopping in your closet FIRST. You may be surprised by what you already have or conversely, by how poorly all that impulse shopping has served you over the years. Always strive to fill your closet with pieces you can mix and match easily for maximum wear.

Shopping your closet first is also a great way to put together your holiday wardrobe as well. Since those velvets, velours, and Santa sweaters are usually only pulled out this time of year, take inventory of your existing holiday pieces before burdening your seasonal budget further with unnecessary purchases.

Mix and match them in new ways, or use the picture pull out/print off/mental snapshot approach to see how you can transform your old favorites into current looks. A snazzy new pair of hose and a stylish updo may be all you need to take that five-year-old little black dress or red velour skirt from ho-hum to va-va-va-voom! Try it and you’ll see.

Remember: Filling your closet with impulse buys is like eating a candy bar for dinner. It satisfies the instant craving, but always leaves you hungry for something more substantial. It can also blow your clothing budget as easily as a candy bar can blow your diet. So don’t do it.

Instead, force some reason into the scenario. If you find an outfit “to die for”, see if you can’t recreate it (or parts of it) by shopping in your own closet FIRST. Not only will you save a bundle of money, you’ll learn to get the most out of every piece of clothing you buy.

Or, to quote German designer Jil Sander, “Buy less, think more.”

Have high-end tastes but a low-end budget? No problem! You don’t have to spend a lot to LOOK like you spend a lot. You just need to know when, where, and how to shop to get the looks you crave at the prices you can afford. BUDGET-FRIENDLY STYLE can show you how, 


Budget-Friendly Style