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Saving Money on Clothes for Women

By: Joshua Unseth-- 2010-04-12 2:00 am --

Women can save money on clothes with some creative thinking and some help from local alteration and shoe repair businesses. There is no need to sacrifice quality. Just shop intelligently and take care of what you have.

Think Small
Small women can wear some kid’s sizes. A woman size 8 or smaller can find basic t-shirts, turtlenecks, and oxford shirts in the big girls and big boys departments. Try on the largest size, which will be a size 20 for boys or a size 16 for girls in most stores. You will be surprised how often this works. The prices are often substantially lower than prices in the women’s department. Conversely, if you are tall, check out the men’s department sales racks. Sometimes you may find a pleasant surprise. A black t-shirt is a black t-shirt, after all, and nobody needs to know from which department it was purchased.

Color Scheme
Simplifying your wardrobe by building around a few basic colors saves money as well as time. If you choose black, navy, or brown as a base, then add fashion colors that coordinate with the basic color, most of your clothes will combine harmoniously. Leather shoes in your basic colors will last a long time with good care, as will a quality leather handbag that goes with everything in your closet.

Alterations and Repairs
Find a reputable seamstress that can alter your clothes as needed and repair old favorites that need a new zipper or a shorter hem. A seamstress can save you a great deal of money if you are losing weight. Have your “fat clothes” taken in to fit your changing body until you reach your target weight. Then reward yourself with some new clothes—on sale, of course. An experienced alteration specialist can also give you tips about what styles will fit you best, saving you from making expensive, ill-fitting mistakes.

A good shoe repair shop is also a money saver. When purse straps tear loose or soles become worn, a repair shop can keep them in service for a while longer. You can also practice preventive maintenance by having heel and toe protectors put on your new shoes before you wear them.

Make Your Own
Many women have access to a sewing machine, but never use it. If you are willing to check out a library book or watch an online video, you can learn to sew basic clothing. Simple cotton skirts with drawstring or elastic waists are easy to make, since they require only straight stitching. Peasant blouses and tank tops are also simple projects with no zippers, pockets, or other tricky details. Look for patterns labeled “easy” or “jiffy” and stick with medium-weight cotton fabrics such as broadcloth for your first few projects. Save knits, sheer fabrics, or slippery fabrics for later, when you have more experience and confidence.