Many of the spend less money on clothes-type tips out there are fairly predictable:
- Buy them on sale/off the sales rack
- Get cashback on purchases – use cashback credit card and/or Shopback.my
- Buy from thrift shops
- Pick quality over quantity so they last longer – RM100 top worn 100 times is better than a RM10 top worn once
All the above tips are good, but one advice in particular is surprisingly helpful in a very unexpected way:
Spend less money on clothes by knowing what you have in your wardrobe
Know what you have in your wardrobe.
Advocates say that this hack will help you re-understand your fashion style and make you more conscious of your future purchases. Apparently, we only wear 20% of our wardrobe. Why would I want to pay for the remaining 80% if I don’t wear them?
Therefore, in theory, you can already save up to 80% of your clothing spending if this tip is applied well.
Implementing this tip in practice so you spend less money on clothes requires 5 steps. Here they are:
Step 1: KonMari your wardrobe
KonMari, the Japanese decluttering expert and author of ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ and ‘Spark Joy’ is a big inspiration here. The ‘Spark Joy’ methodology is simple – if an item no longer gives you happiness, get it out of your life.
So I went through my entire wardrobe. If an item no longer makes me happy, they are donated, re-purposed or thrown away. I got rid of:
- Clothes that don’t fit well
- Clothes with tears (the ones I can’t be bothered to mend)
- ‘In-case’ clothes that never get worn (ie my old jackets and coats)
- Clothes in styles that I no longer like
- Clothes that are obviously ‘unfashionable’
- Well-loved but worn out clothes that are past their due dates
Step 2: List down all the clothes I own
After I got rid of what I don’t want, I re-assessed what I choose to keep. I now own:
- 2 x turtlenecks
- 2 x long-sleeve tops
- 1 x sleeveless collared shirt
- 6 x three-quarter tops (casual)
- 6 x normal sleeve tops (casual)
- 5 x work-appropriate tops
- 5 x t-shirts
- 2 x black spaghetti tops
- 3 x tank tops
- 3 x black tops
- 1 x black cardigan
- 1 x sleeveless fun top
Total: 37 tops. Might have missed some (counted this on laundry day), so rounding this up to 40.
- 4 x skirts
- 3 x jeans
- 1 x trackpants
- 2 x fitness leggings
Total: 10 bottoms.
- 1 x nice sandals
- 1 x sports shoes
- 2 x flip flops
- 1 x closed-toe heels
- 1 x open-toe heels
- 2 x black flats
- 3 x socks
Total: 8 pairs of shoes (not counting socks). Except for flip-flops, everything is black.
- 2 x baju kurung
- 1 x dress
- 4 x scarves
- 5 x pyjamas/night dresses
- 2 x sports bra
- Box of earrings, necklaces, bangles, etc
All in all, I have less than 100 clothing items I think (not counting underwear la). I have no idea if the above is considered too small a wardrobe or just nice, but it’s enough for me.
Step 3: Decide on a style
The next step is to build my wardrobe back from what I already own, and this requires thinking about my preferred way to dress, aka my style.
What’s your clothing style? Decide on it, and don’t stray.
For me, I really like minimalist fashion: clean, classic, Parisian chic. Earth and natural tones. I also like the smart casual style, they are easy to dress up and down. Practical-ish fashion, I guess.
Step 4: Know what I shouldn’t buy any more
Looking at my list, I see that I have quite a lot of casual, long sleeve tops. So I shouldn’t get any more of those. Ditto on black tops and spaghetti straps. Ditto on sleepwear.
About half of what I own is black/navy/grey. I don’t need to add on to that.
This step is important because when I go window-shop, I am naturally drawn to some these colours/styles and tend to buy them, even though it’s similar to what I already own. So now I know I have more than enough. Not buying saves money.
Step 5: Only look for pieces that’ll work with what I already have
I’m at this step now and actively paying more attention to new styles, prints and colours when I go window-shopping. I’d love to get:
- Tops in these colours: moss green, beige, dark red, brown
- Printed skirts and pants
- Cardigans and things that can be layered with what I have
- White sneakers or print loafers for more casual days
- Am considering a printed bag too – it’ll go well with the majority of my plain outfits
Ultimately, I’d love for each of the items can be paired with different things for different looks. Easy to mix-and-match
So I guess my strategy now is to keep an eye out for the items I want. If I chance on a good sale – and it better be a good deal or I won’t buy it – then only I’ll consider it.
How do you spend less money on clothes in Malaysia?
Fashion-forward people, what are other tricks and tips you picked up? What advice can you give me – someone who merely wants to stop being called ‘Auntie’? What type of fabric is long-lasting, easy to care for, and looks good?
Also, what’s your rule of thumb when it comes to prices? I have a preference for under-RM30 tops and under-RM100 bottoms, but thinking of paying more attention to quality this time around.
You folks who are more fashion-savvy than me (so, like, all of you), please share your tips in the comments 🙂