The holiday season seems to sneak up on us at warp speed every year and with that comes the chore of finding the perfect gifts for friends, family, and loved ones. AND it also means shopping for the perfect outfit for your holiday outings, and then of course attending all those holiday parties.
And although the majority of these traditions are fun they do add a certain level of stress to our lives and our wallets. So to help reduce some of your holiday stress I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you some tips and money saving ideas for purchasing your holiday wardrobe.
The idea to post on this topic came to me when I was interviewed by a magazine and asked to share my knowledge on how to spot quality in clothing and what my thoughts were on the “game changer” known as fast fashion. I later realized that these helpful tips should not be limited to the magazine readers but that these were things my readers could also benefit from knowing. So let’s get started!
Cost Per Wear
So I know, you’re just dying to have those delicious black leather strappy stilettos that’ll go oh so perfect with your sparkly NYE dress.
I hear you, I know I know, I’ve been there before too. But let’s just do some simple math to see if those puppies are really worth it. Let’s take a look at the cost per wear!
Cost per wear is a very simple concept where you take the price of an item and divide it by the amount of times you’ll wear said item.
In our example.. with those adorable strappy stilettos.. let’s say they are $120 but when you try them on they are a tad bit uncomfortable and you realize you don’t go to events too often wearing such fancy shoes. So you settle on the fact that you’ll probably get about 5 wears out of the shoes. Therefore your cost per wear is $120/5 days= $24.00.
Now let’s say, while you’re shopping you also look at some premium denim jeans that are $120… cause you need some new denim duds in your life. After trying them on you realize that you don’t have a boot cut style like this, they fit you like a glove, and you assume you’ll wear them about 50 times. Your cost per wear on these snazzy jeans would then be $120/50 days= $2.40.
Your black leather strappy stilettos don’t seem so delicious now do they?! Might change your perception when shopping huh?!?
And I like to break it down even further and say to myself..if I bought those stilettos and wore them 5 times. Then each time I walk outta the door I owe $24.00 whereas with the jeans when I walk outta the door I only owe $2.40.
Hello snazzy boot cut jeans mama’s taking you home!
Know What Fast Fashion Is
Okay a lot of you are probably aware of what Fast Fashion is, but there are also probably a lot of you that aren’t. So let’s briefly talk about this giant that changed the face of the fashion industry!
Fast Fashion refers to clothing that quickly jumps from the concept phase to hanging on a rack in your fav store. Think Zara, Forever 21, and H&M. Now Fast Fashion can be great for a customer who wants the latest trends at a very discounted price, but just remember that usually these duds are of lesser quality and they are usually copies or knock-offs of your fav designer’s runway pieces! Kind of a bummer thing to do to the high fashion designers right?!?!
Also, I should note that since these pieces are so inexpensive we’re so ok with throwing them in the trash after one or two wears. And you probably had no idea that it can take some synthetic fibers, like polyester, up to 200 years to fully decompose in a landfill. Yikes! And currently almost 2 million tons of textiles end up in landfills yearly. Oh Myyyy!!!!!
It’s a real problem and there are some brands trying their best to change this and use more recycled textiles to fuel their supply chain. So if you just have to buy your best gal pal yoga pants for her X-mas gift why not try shopping at Prana.
Prana is a company founded on high ethics and sustainability, using recycled materials, fair trade, and fair labor. Check them out now!
Here are some other brands/websites you may wanna check out as well that are doing good things in the industry!
- Fair Indigo: On-line retailer selling Fair Trade and Organic Clothing.
- Patagonia: Invested in using more recycled materials for their garments, being corporately responsible, and a big advocate on brand transparency.
- Tradesy: Resell shop giving clothes and accessories a second life!
- The Renewal Workshop: Working to refurbish apparel to have a renewed life.
Ask Yourself: Is It About Quality or Quantity?!
This goes along with the 2nd tip. So we all want a “new” ugly sweater each year or the latest X-mas accessories..right?! But if we instead buy more high quality merchandise for ourselves and for gifts we’ll get more life out of the garment….which you guessed it means less textiles in landfills. Bam!
So how can you spot a good investment?!? I got you covered boo…get out your pen and paper and jot this down!!!
Rules to protect you from buying low quality items!
- Inspect Seams: Are there threads hanging off the garment? Does the stitching look like it could easily tear at any moment? Is there enough seam allowance (area between the edge of the fabric and the stitch line) so fabric won’t pull apart at the seams? Dangling threads, little to no seam allowance, and loose stitches are signs of poor quality! These things are screaming stay away.
- Matchy Matchy: Higher-quality brands will always make sure that their fabrications with stripes, plaids, polka dots, etc are lined up correctly and matching at the seams.
- Egyptian Cotton:Fabrications like Egyptian cotton, fine silk, Merino wool, or organic cotton will usually indicate that the garment is of higher quality. But please note these fabrications will come with a higher price tag simply because they are more expensive for a manufacturer to use.
- I Sewed It By Hand Darling:Is any part of the garment constructed by hand? If any part of the garment is hand-sewn or hand constructed it is most likely of higher quality. Any note of hand beading, embroidery, hemming, etc. These are all elements that make the quality go up!
- But I Just did Laundry:How does the product launder? Did it live up to your standards when you washed it? Did the color fade? Did it shrink after going in the washer and dryer? Did the garment lose its shape? This one, unfortunately, means that you have to buy the product first. But it can help in the decision-making process of purchasing that brand again.
- What You See Is What You Get:You must remember that fabrication is usually the most expensive aspect of a garment so if the fabric feels cheap and looks cheap…well honey then….. it’s probably cheap!
Rent That Designer
So we all want to look in the holiday cheer at our office holiday party, and then again at our family get together, and what about your significant others office party, oh then you have your friends cookie bake and that NYE party you can’t wait for. Wow! That’s a lot of outfits to plan for and buy. Why not try something new and rent a killer dress for the event.
Rent The Runway is a great way to make sure you look professional, sophisticated, and stand out at that party without breaking the bank. Most people that use it get hooked since it’s easy to use and you get to pick from top of the line designers. Were talking quality and style all in one!
It’s very simple to use, you basically pick out your dress on their website, rent it for your event and ship it back after the event. They will send you two different sizes to make sure it fits. If there are any problems, like it doesn’t fit or you find out some else will be wearing the same dress they will work with you to get a new dress ASAP.
So there you have it… use these tips when purchasing your holiday outfits and gifts for others.
Also on a personal note a couple years ago I stopped participating in gift giving for the holidays. I know, sounds like a Grinch thing to do right?!?! Well, in the end it actually alleviated a ton of stress from my life.
Along with not giving gifts, I also don’t receive them. It was tricky at first to explain to friends that I would no longer be giving or receiving gifts. But then fun to explain that instead I just wanted to spend some time with them…a happy hour…afternoon tea..or a pizza and movie night.
I realized quickly that I was going to continue the “No Gifts Given” tradition when I felt much more at peace not having to select the perfect gift for everyone and I didn’t have to accept jewelry I would never be caught dead in or receive another Starbucks gift card when my doctor’s orders are to intake less coffee!!
I’m also a big advocate on consuming less. I feel we have become a society too ready to fork over the credit card for new shoes, electronics, etc. so limiting holiday consumption has also eased my mind.
I’m not saying you now have to go home and try the “No Gifts Given” rule…but maybe, just maybe give it some thought!
Also I must confess I spent $6.00 on my NYE dress at a consignment shop supporting a local humane society, and yeah I feel totally proud and awesome about it. I can’t wait to rock it and think to myself how I may have helped feed some kittens with that purchase! Joy to the animals!!!!