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I know money is tight, and I’m just beginning to feel the affects of not being able to shop all the time anymore. I’m one of those people who like to just sit on their money as much as possible. However, it definitely is possible to build a fabulous wardrobe without breaking the bank.

Start With the Basics

There’s a reason why they’re known as “basics”. Plain t-shirts (v-neck, crew neck, whichever you prefer), jeans, and pajamas are the standard articles of clothing that you need. They come cheap, but shop around anyway since different brands fit differently. The key to building a functional wardrobe is fit. You might think this is boring, but think of it as a cake: you need to start with the plain, boring stuff first so that you can dress it up and make it more interesting with frosting and sprinkles. You still have to make sure that the plain, boring stuff tastes good, though.

The Frosting

Now that you have the basics, it’s time to dress them up. Find yourselves some nice cover-ups that fit nicely. By “cover-up” I mean anything that you put on top of your basics – button down shirts (look for the ones that can also be worn open), sweaters, cardigans, jackets and so on. Again, make sure that they all fit your body well.

The Sprinkles

One word: accessories. The picture above is my closet, and you can see that it is full of plain t-shirts and scarves. Patterned scarves are my favorite accessory, as well as long necklaces. For the gentlemen, scarves work as well, but if you’re not that kind of guy, you can skip the accessories all together (and invest in an awesome pair of sneakers…see below).

What Is Worth the Investment?

Yes, I am indeed one of those people who see their wardrobe as an investment. There are certain articles of clothing that are worth investing good money in.

Jeans:
Ill-fitting jeans never look good, no matter how low you wear them (gentlemen, you know what I mean). Go out and pick up a few pairs of good-quality jeans. The $100+ price tag sounds like a lot up front, but you only really need two or three pairs of jeans at a time. Remember, you should rarely wash your jeans. Otherwise, they’ll fade.

Suits:
It is worth it to have one very nice suit in a neutral color (black, grey, or khaki). Suits are as much about the fit as they are about the quality, so ask a sales associate for assistance. Do not go out and buy a cheap suit, as a well-trained eye (such as your interviewer’s) will be able to tell the difference.

Shoes:
It is a part of your outfit that is generally disregarded, unless you’re a shoe-a-holic like me. However, I know all of you (ladies and gentlemen alike) have been caught in a situation where your shoes are killing your feet and you have no option but to deal with it. Do yourself a favour and skip the pain. All you really need are two pairs of comfortable, nice shoes (one casual, one formal).

Need more tips? Check out the video below!
How to Have a Functional Wardrobe

How do you save money on clothing? Post in the comments section below!

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Photo courtesy of Thing Three via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).