Clothing is expensive. When you’re buying clothes for two adults and a couple of kids, it becomes even more so. Enter the idea of sharing a wardrobe. Or at least parts of a wardrobe. While things like underwear should never be shared, it may be possible to share shirts and pants. How? Elastic and unisex clothing.
Keep in mind that this idea is not for your “nice” clothing that you wear to work or parties. Unless you’re in a same-sex relationship it’s just not possible to share a suit or a dress. (But if you are and you and your partner are the same size, it may be possible and worth a thought.) This idea is for your weekend, lounge-around-the-house or work-in-the-yard wear.
Things like t-shirts are often made for either gender. If you and your partner both wear a size large t-shirt, you can share it. Not only is this a money-saver for everyday shopping, when it comes to buying souvenirs from trips or concerts, you can buy one instead of two. The shirt may be a little big or small on one of you, but it probably won’t be enough to notice. You can greatly reduce the number of shirts you have cluttering up the house if you buy fewer and just share them.
The same holds true for elastic-waist pants like sweat pants or sweat shorts/basketball shorts. A large or medium in these may be sized the same for either gender, or just slightly different. If you and your partner are close in size you may be able to share these types of pants. Again, they may be a little big or small, but if you’re just wearing them around the house, no one will see or care. Rather than buying two pairs of pants for her and two for him, just buy two and you each get to alternate which ones you wear. Obviously if one of you is very petite and the other one is 6’10”, this isn’t going to work. However, if you are only a few sizes apart, you may be able to get enough t-shirts, sweatpants, and sweatshirts to make your weekend wardrobe sharable.
You can also share wardrobes amongst kids. How many times have you bought each kid his or her own shirts or shorts and maybe you didn’t need to? If your kids are close in size, they can share things like t-shirts and elastic-waist pants. If they are the same gender, they may even be able to share other clothing items, as well, reducing the number of items you need to buy. Again, instead of buying two outfits for each kid, just buy two outfits and let them alternate. It may mean some squabbling in the beginning, but they’ll get used to it.
Obviously you need enough of each item so that all kids and adults are clothed at all times. But you may not need to buy several shirts and pants for each person just so everybody can have their own wardrobe. You may only need to buy enough so that there is a pool of clothing available. The great thing about unisex and elastic waist clothing is that it can grow or shrink with you to some extent. As kids grow, elastic items may fit longer than will button fly pants. As adults gain or lose weight, elastic waists can compensate a bit better than other types of clothing.
Wardrobe sharing can be a great way to save money on an everyday basis, but it can really help if you are financially strapped. It essentially cuts your clothing budget in half. Rather than buying multiples of things, you can buy just one or two. That’s a big deal when every penny counts.