It’s tough keeping up with the Joneses. Every season has a new style and, if you believe all the hype, the fashions and accessories you currently have in your closet must be tossed aside immediately so you don’t become a social outcast.
But, in reality, none of that is really true. There’s a reason why blue jeans, button-down shirts and Chuck Taylors continue to be popular year after year, even as all the other flavors of the month come and go.
The key to building a good wardrobe is understanding what your staples should be and finding sharp-looking, comfortable and affordable options that match your overall style and aesthetic. While some people still foolishly only equate quality with price, there is actually a wide range of great clothing, outerwear and accessories to be found without destroying your bank account.
Where should you start? Follow these three tips below that can help anyone, on almost any budget, outfit themselves with fashion sure to stand the test of time.
1. Take Inventory
As odd as it may sound, the best place to begin is in your own closet. While there are certainly a few items you adore, there are likely even more pieces of clothing packed away that you forgot about entirely. Maybe you lost a bit of weight and can now fit into those old pants again, or perhaps you realized purple does actually work for you.
Either way, you need to know what you already have before you start searching for something new. If you already have four pairs of jeans that look flattering, you’ll know you need to first get some new sweaters or shoes instead. Take a hard look at all the items you wear regularly and decide where your current wardrobe strengths lie.
2. Choose Value Over Volume
While everyone wishes they had millions to spend on wardrobe perfection, most of us live in the real world. To deal with this, some people opt to buy everything on clearance, filling their closets with discount and low-quality items that generally break down quickly. While this may help fill any perceived holes in your wardrobe, you will likely still feel unsatisfied by your available options a month or two down the line.
Instead, the best option is to look for excellent value over large volume. One way to do this is by investing in versatile clothing that ensures you get the most bang for your buck. The right casual jacket, for example, can be fashionable for a low-key evening out, rugged enough to hold up on frequent hiking trips, and light and packable enough to be the only coat you need when traveling. These are the types of purchases that will leave you content years down the line.
3. Prioritize Wearability
It’s easy to be seduced by things that are unique. For example, you may have great affinity for that turquoise belt you once owned in college or the sequined top you wore at a holiday party. While there is certainly a place for loud statement pieces, chances are you won’t be wearing them that often.
This is why you should initially look toward acquiring some daily-wear items that can become workhorses for your overall style. If you spend $30 on a unique item you wear just once, that’s a lot cheaper than buying a $150 pair of essential shoes that you will wear every week for the next two years. Think long and hard about how often you will actually put something on before you hand over your hard-earned cash.
Rebuilding Your Style
“Value” and “affordability” should never be confused with “dull” and “cheap.” Truthfully, these key concepts should be your guiding principles as you to attempt to upgrade and overhaul your style.
Staying fashionable and comfortable demands you understand what you already own, place a priority on value and recognize how often you’ll actually wear the pieces you buy.
The last important idea to keep in mind is patience. Don’t go out and try to buy up everything all at once. Be discerning with your purchases, build slow, and really try to think about what it is you like. If you keep all this in mind, you’ll start to feel much better about how you present yourself every time you leave the house.