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Shop in Your Own Closet & Save Money

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    Shop in Your Own Closet & Save Money

    By Diana Pemberton-Sikes

    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?

    4. Sew it yourself?

    5. Go shopping for it in your own closet?

    If you said one of the first four options because you have no idea what the fifth 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.

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    So how do you shop in your own closet?

    By taking the picture of the outfit you like (whether it's from a magazine or just a mental snapshot), and heading 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."

    Diana Pemberton-Sikes is a wardrobe and image consultant and author of "Wardrobe Magic," an ebook that shows women how to transform their unruly closets into workable, wearable wardrobes. Visit her online at <a href="">fashionforrealwomen.c om</a> .

    Re: Shop in Your Own Closet &amp; Save Money

    This makes me sad.

    My wardrobe consists of 3-4 skirts, 5-6 blouses, 2-3 sweaters and 3 pairs of slacks. I do all the the mixing and matching possible, but there is no way I can have a trendy/fashionable outfit. Especially since the newest thing in my wardrobe was manufactured 3+ years ago.

    I rely on my mom to buy me new things. Unfortunately, the last few things she's bought me aren't really right for me. I have 2 new adorable sundresses, but stores and restaurants (and the office) are soooo cold here, I'd freeze if I tried to wear them (geniuses think that 100F outside means they need to keep it 62 inside).

    I've sewn on so many buttons, repaired so many hems and treated so many stains, that things are starting to no longer be salvageable. My wardrobe is dwindling before my very eyes.

    Most of the time, I'm okay with it. But things like this remind me how little I have. How cold weather is coming and I have 3 long sleeved blouses/sweaters to my name. So, I'm going to have to buy more somewhere, somehow. And put off the debt repayment a little more. I mix and match blazers (which are hopelessly out of date, I have a cordoroy blazer that was my FIL's from the 70s) just to extend the season for my short sleeve blouses.


      Re: Shop in Your Own Closet &amp; Save Money

      I think this article has some merit, especially if you have plenty of clothes in the closet. However, it's not only women who have jam packed closets! There are men who also have closets that are full!


        Re: Shop in Your Own Closet &amp; Save Money

        My closet saver: I ccould care less what style, year, ect. I only care if it looks GOOD on ME!. keeps me from caring that my best sweater is older than my son, or that my most flattering skirt is from highschool, point is it looks good on me, I get compliments, oh and I never am caught wearing the same thing as anyone else .


          Re: Shop in Your Own Closet &amp; Save Money

          Princess, I think I'd be there, but 2 kids and 30lbs gained, lost, partly gained back means that most of my clothes don't really look good on me. They look okay, but not good.

          It's very frustrating to look in my closet and realize that one sweater I've had since before DH and I met, and when I got it, I had to wear a turtleneck under it to keep from showing too much cleavage. Now I wear it with nothing under it and it barely comes down my chest. Most of my blouses were my mother's that she outgrew.

          Also, most of my clothes don't look good on me because they never did. They were bought as gifts for me without me trying them on - and always looked like it. I have about 2 things that look attractive, the rest look pretty frumpy. It's no wonder that when people see me in jeans and a "skinny" tee they're shocked.

          I so need "What not to wear".


            Re: Shop in Your Own Closet &amp; Save Money

            Some things can be 'defrumpified' I don't know how unfrumpy you want to go though. I have one frumpy tee that was ripped up the middle, I wear it tied up as a belly shirt (after I get the waist back!-kid is only one month). Other stuff can be tailored a mite bit, for a less frumpy look too.

            And you can start ditching the frumpy stuff, sure you will have to do laundry more often, but it will be worth it everytime you look in the mirror and see the best of what you got.

            Then start hinting around for gift cards instead of clothes, and hand me downs from someone with your body type. (or closer to it) I never turn my nose up at hand me downbs (fav pair of maternity pants was from a short girl with an apply figure, I am the opposite, you just can't tell), but by hinting for the stuff you might get others to notice what you really want.


              Re: Shop in Your Own Closet &amp; Save Money

              Oh believe me, I never turn my nose up at free clothes. A co-worker just brought me two skirts. Neither look "great" on me, but are a little less frumpy.

              I don't know anyone with my body type.

              I'll get through it, it's just hard sometimes. I have a coworker who has the cutest clothes (she's much shorter and much smaller than me, I think she must wear a 2). She's always got something new and cute - professional cute. I work in a law firm, and I have to look professional, I'm just glad they're laid back enough that they don't want suits.

              I have a hard time with clothes because I'm small and need a small to medium blouse, but my arms are long, so if it's long-sleeved, I have to buy a large, even in the talls. Pants rarely work because I have a 34-36" inseam (and that's with flats).

              I also hate to shop because it's so demoralizing to have nothing fit. I get worn out trying on 3 different sizes of every single item before I find one that "sort of" works.

              I suppose I should find a tailor, but as expensive as clothes are, I don't want to add to the expense.


                Re: Shop in Your Own Closet &amp; Save Money

                I can relate, my inseam is 'only' 34 inches My mothers on the other hand.....

                Dunno but it seems to me the trouble isn't money it is clothing makers that suck, and a coworrker that has the 'perfect body'.

                Ignore the coworker, she has her own cross to bear.

                And I would go with a tailor, so what if you have to wear the same three things, or for christmas get one thing tailored right, do the same for a couple years (work out to keep the same body of course) in 4 years you will have enough to go a whole week with mixing and matching .

                One place that regularly has longer pants is Newport news, but I hate mail order, sigh.

                Oh and one of those warm mail order places, can't remember the name, but I honestly got my mother pants custom length (38"inseam), for 'only' 45$ (including shipping). Sure it was her christmas and birthday preasent wrapped into one, but I know one good pair of jeans is well worth it to me. (and not seeing my mother in flooders was well worth it too!)



                  think this article has some merit, especially if you have plenty of clothes in the closet. However, it's not only women who have jam packed closets! There are men who also have closets that are full!


                    I have this problem before, and glad that I managed to overcome this concern. I wish the same thing with other women out there.