Guest Post: Spend or Save on Your Wardrobe?

While I’m on vacation in Florida, I’ve asked a few friends to fill in and lend their musings to my blog. Julie and I met in college in a Sociology class that would have been painful had it not been for her. I’m so excited that she has her own blog where she shares here aesthetic views on fashion, home decor and cooking. She is one of the most beautiful women I know, inside and out. I hope you enjoy her post and find a new blog to read in the process!

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Hi everyone, my name is Julie, I am the blogger behind Vylette, and I am completely jazzed to be your guest poster for today. A couple of weeks ago, the Verhanika’s Thursday Q&A  answered a question about wardrobe building, and it got me thinking,”What really is the best way to go about building a wardrobe?” Most of us in the artistic community have to maintain jobs to support our careers, and money is a very precious commodity. What is the best plan for getting the most out of your clothing budget? After some digging around, I found an article in the magazine Real Simple that neatly broke down the basic wardrobe staples into the categories of Spend or Save. Based on their advice and my personal experience here is what I came up with.
Wardrobe Breakdown:

T-ShirtSave or spend? Save.
Why: Simply, you wear them close to your skin, so you wash them more, and regardless of quality they don’t have that long of a shelf life. Plus, white ones usually lose the fight with underarm-perspiration marks, and black ones start to gray after a few washings.
What to Look For: First, a good fit, and second, fabric that doesn’t look flimsy. Both of these criteria can be met at good prices.”

JeansSave or spend? Spend.
Why: Jeans might have been created for miners and manual laborers, but today you can wear them everywhere―in the backyard when you rake leaves, to work, and to dinner with friends. My perfect number is three, one for casual use (errands, yardwork, bumming around the house) and then two pairs for work/going out. To cover all your bases hem one pair for flat shoes and another for heels.
What to Look For: High quality denim has an attractive dark wash and the just right amount of stretch and should fit better than a cheaper options.
*Guys, you’re a little luckier, since there isn’t a big difference in heel height for men’s casual and dress shoes, you can get by with two pairs of jeans.

BraSave or spend? Spend.
Why: Bras are a good investment item because they can affect your overall look, says Tim Gunn, chief creative officer at Liz Claiborne and a mentor on Project Runway. Focus on the fit. “A great bra can make a 5- to 10-pound difference in your appearance,” says Amanda Sanders, a New York-based image consultant. “The bigger your bust, the more important the fit is. If you have a smaller chest, a quality bra can make the most of.
What to Look For: The best way to find the perfect bra for you is to get fitted. Stores like Victoria Secret have specially trained staff that knows how to find the perfect bra to suit your needs. Take advantage of their expertise.

Gym ClothesSave or spend? Spend.
Why: Even if you choose to buy the best, you won’t burn a hole in your wallet. Gym clothes aren’t that expensive, and the pieces will most likely last for years to come. “Invest in something that is functional, but feels flattering. Don’t get carried away though, a great pair of pants and a couple of tops will do the trick.
What to Look For: Elasticity. Make sure your gym clothes are comfortable and that they allow you to move freely.  Also, to make sure you are picking quality merchandise, stretch the fabric a few times before buying it, if it keeps it shape, go for it. If it doesn’t, put it back, if it can’t hold up to a test stretch, it won’t be able to handle your workout.

Black PantsSave or spend? Spend.
Why: A high-quality pair of black pants can last for years. Black pants are timeless,and investing in a good pair is smart.
What to Look For: Better fit and craftsmanship, higher-quality materials cost a bit more, but you’ll save in the long run, as you won’t be spending twice as much buying a new, cheaper pair every year. Also, make sure the fabric is practical for you life style. People in Florida shouldn’t invest in heavy wool pants. If you’re a pet owner, don’t buy fabrics that attract lint. If they look a little lint-y in the store, imagine what they’ll look like the first time your cat sleeps in your laundry basket.

JacketSave or spend? Spend.
Why: A great jacket can make your look. Even if you’re just a T-shirt and jeans an expensive, well cut jacket upgrades your whole ensamble.
What to Look For: Look for a jacket to fit the widest part of your body. For example, If you have a large bust and a small waist, buy a jacket in a size that will close over your bust. Then go to a reputable tailor to have it taken in to fit elsewhere.

Black SuitSave or spend? Spend.
Why: A black suit is a timeless staple of any wardrobe. A high-quality suit will last through many seasons and won’t be ruined by multiple wearings or trips to the dry cleaner.
What to Look For:  Superior fabric and cut. A classic style, medium weight fabric that will be comfortable in hot or cold weather, and matching pair of pants.
*Ladies, bonus points if you can find a matching skirt.

Work ShoesSave or spend? Spend.
Why: If you can afford it, it is ideal to invest in one good pair of work shoes per season. Work shoes suffer wear and tear, and a good-quality pair will withstand daily use.
What to Look For: Fit and craftsmanship. Choose comfortable heel heights and classic styles. And protect your investment from the start by taking the shoes to a repair shop to have them weatherproofed and the soles reinforced with rubber.

Evening ShoesSave or spend? Save.
Why: Until we all hit the big time, evening shoes are not going to be something we need to wear often. Plus, evenings can get messy, how would you feel if you invested in that amazing pair of peep toe pumps that cost almost as much as your rent, and someone spilled their drink on them the first time you wore them?
What to Look For: Whatever you want, since you won’t be spending a lot of cash use this as a chance to bring a little fun to your wardrobe.

Evening DressSave or spend? Save.
Why:  Evening events last a few hours and don’t occur very often; and unless the group of people involved changes, you can really only get one or two wears out of a formal garment.
What to Look For: Head for the sales rack, and never pay full price. Attractive options abound at national chain stores, where prices won’t leave you wondering how you’ll pay for shoes to match.

Winter CoatSave or spend? Spend.
Why: If you live in the frost belt, a quality coat is a no-brainer. “A good coat is an essential wrapper for all your wardrobe choices,” says Farr.
What to look for:Fit, You want to be able to cross your arms in front of you and reach up comfortably. Fabric,must be able to withstand heavy wear and won’t wrinkle. Really take the time to scrutinize every detail of the potential purchase. I great coat can last you for years.

Trendy ItemsSave or spend? Save.
Why: With all the discount retailers out there, you can avoid overspending on fashions that will feel passé after one season. But remember: Some trends, like nautical-inspired clothing and tunics, will come around again and again, so go ahead and splurge on an item you feel has staying power.
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