Author Topic: Spending money on new apparel  (Read 7394 times)

enpower

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Spending money on new apparel
« on: July 10, 2014, 08:21:37 PM »
Hi all,

I'm stuck in a bit of a tight spot as to what to do.

I'm 25 years old, work in an office environment and spend my spare time road cycling and hiking.

I've always been quite frugal in my everyday living. Always looking to save money in every aspect of life. Most of my friends and family are aware of this and I'm quite proud of the fact that I save a lot of my income and put it into investments.

However, my problem is that the clothes that I own are very cheap and nasty. They look in very poor condition and a few family members and work friends have mentioned it on a few occasions recently. Since I'm meeting clients and going to meetings in the office, I'm wanting to make a good impression and get respect from others. With my cycling and hiking, the clothing and gear I have for these is very entry level and I feel by getting better quality gear I will keep warmer and dryer in the outdoors and enjoy these pursuits a lot more. Especially as the weather in New Zealand is getting colder.

The problem is though, I don't like spending too much money on these sorts of things. I'm not doing it to keep up with the Joneses but rather to be a bit more respected and look and feel a bit more professional with work clothing and also for enjoyment of my hobbies.

Some of the gear I've been looking at with apparel for hiking is around the $200 dollar mark for a good waterproof winter jacket and some cycling apparel can be quite costly too.

How do I balance out spending money on these things without blowing the budget so to speak?

I should make a note that I've tried going down buying second hand off the likes of Ebay, Craigslist, etc for clothing but it never really fits and most times the money I try to save from doing it this way ends up being a lot of wasted time, money and energy that would have been better off getting it from a local store instead, that way I can try it on in the mirror, etc.

Rural

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Re: Spending money on new apparel
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2014, 08:32:09 PM »
Try thrift stores so that you can try things on.

MBot

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Re: Spending money on new apparel
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2014, 08:35:42 PM »
Oops, I guess cycling is a hobby. Should have read before posting this. Oh well. Might still help.

Here we have stores that sell "last seasons" clothes at a steep discount like TJ Maxx. Recently we were looking for workout clothes for my husband (his were literally falling apart). Instead of $40 at Sears, a new workout shirt in the quick-dry fabric was $9 at the "last seasons" store. Much better!

For the work clothes, you just need a few good items. Think "cost per wear" not upfront cost. It doesn't matter so much what a great-fitting pair of pants costs (within reason) if the same few pairs will be worn hundreds of times each.

I had a 70% plus another 50% off the remaining price coupon for the Banana Republic outlet last Christmas, and got 2 good pairs of wool dress pants and a suit.
Good quality, I paid 15% of original price and I won't need to buy either again for many years, I bet!

If you do bike to work, it may a bit counterintuitive on the initial price , but there's companies that make items exactly for cycling to work and still looking/functioning great.

What about buying less, but better?

Eg one dark gray and one navy pair of pants from a company like Outlier (that makes super durable, comfy, 4-way stretch, reinforced for biking , quick dry /stain resistant /won't wear thru stuff you can cycle to work in and still look great), then wear only those two pairs for a long time.

(There are similar companies, but Outlier is one I like)
http://shop.outlier.cc/retail/pants/
« Last Edit: July 10, 2014, 08:43:30 PM by MBot »

enpower

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Re: Spending money on new apparel
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2014, 08:53:19 PM »
For the work clothes, you just need a few good items. Think "cost per wear" not upfront cost.

What about buying less, but better?


Yes I think this is the stage I want to get do. Buying quality clothing so it lasts a long time but it still looks repectable, professional and warm/dry for cycling and hiking.

I just feel like it is a lot of money to spend up front. But I suppose over the long term if I bought a good quality pair of work shoes for $100 they will last me several years where as the $20 pairs I've been buying have lasted 9-12 months at most and look cheap and are uncomfortable to begin with.

SondraRose

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Re: Spending money on new apparel
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2014, 08:59:13 PM »
New Zealand has some fabulous apparel companies that specialize in merino wool clothing for indoor and outdoor pursuits.  One of my faves is Icebreaker.  I worked for an outdoor store a few years ago and wool was our best selling clothing category.

Wool clothing these days is itch-free, washable, 4-season, lasts much longer than cotton and is a great investment, IMO.  I have pieces that are over 10 years old and look brand new.  Google New Zealand merino and look for closeouts and seconds.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2014, 09:16:03 PM by SondraRose »

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Spending money on new apparel
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2014, 09:27:09 PM »
Not sure about NZ retailers, so I can't give advice there.

For actual gear, layering is much cheaper in the long run. My go-to outer layer is my Marmot PreCip ($45 discounted, list price here in US is $100). I can wear it with no layers in warm rain, or layer all the way down to incredibly cold temps. Your inner (warm) layers can as cheap as you want, though moisture wicking fabrics (wool or synthetic) against the skin are best if you're doing vigorous exercise.

Work clothes should be easy to nab at thrift stores unless you're a really weird size.

Goldielocks

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Re: Spending money on new apparel
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2014, 09:38:48 PM »
If you need really great quality, and buying only 2 PR pants, three shirts, one blkazer...  Try a upscale consignment store, usually within 15 min of downtown.

It will cost the same as TJ maxx at reg price, but the staff are usually very helpful if you describe nontrendy clothing for work that fits, and it will last a long, long time.  It will look very expensive for those that care, and just professional for those that don't.


I bought pearl izumi reflective cycling coat from eBay, and it has lasted 8 yes and going.  And I don't care about the fit as long as it covers, does what it is supposed to, etc.  It doesn't need to be the utmost flattering item because it is my workout gear and looks new.

mpg350

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Re: Spending money on new apparel
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2014, 10:20:37 PM »
Online is your best bet you can find some good deals if you look for last years gears.


T-Rex

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Re: Spending money on new apparel
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2014, 11:34:00 PM »
I remember shopping with my Dad, and found a vintage red Pendleton shirt. That must have been ten years ago, and the shirt was in like new condition, but must have been at minimum 20 years old when he bought it. It still looks fantastic when he wears it.

Buy high quality and you won't be disappointed. Learn which brands are long lasting and seek them out second hand or during sales.

Start by looking for natural materials. Check the seams to see how good the stitches are. The materials shouldn't be too thin, because it will get threadbare and get holes easily. Pick clothes that are timeless.

If you don't think you can recognize those qualities, just look at how cheap and trendy women's clothes are constructed (single thread at seams, threadbare, artificial fabrics) and know that the lifespan of those items can be measured in months.

deborah

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Re: Spending money on new apparel
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2014, 12:00:35 AM »
You sound like you have three different types of wear - office, cycling, hiking/leisure. For your office wear, go out with one of the work friends to have a look at the shops, and see what she thinks you should be wearing to make an impression (I once did this with my boss, and it was very instructive). Call it a scouting mission, so that you can work out what you need (that way you are not necessarily going to buy anything). After all, this is an investment in your earning capability. If you are meeting clients, you probably need to look the part. Think over what you need, look in the op shops and see if there is anything of that type, that fits, and work out a budget for your work wear. Wear it only at work - treat it as your "uniform" and it should last longer.

You seem to be keen to get better cycling/hiking/leisure wear. This is probably more optional than your work wear, as it is not helping you to earn an income. Include the cost in your "hobby" spending, and buy something every so often until you have the gear you want for your hobby - stretching it out will encourage you to think over your purchases, and get exactly what you actually need.


RiskDown

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Re: Spending money on new apparel
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2014, 12:41:58 AM »
However, my problem is that the clothes that I own are very cheap and nasty. They look in very poor condition and a few family members and work friends have mentioned it on a few occasions recently. Since I'm meeting clients and going to meetings in the office, I'm wanting to make a good impression and get respect from others.

What type of field are you in?

(my initial reaction) Ignore them. I wear a 3-year old, $12 button up + $20 kohls pants....and I did that long before MMM. Vanity wise, I don't really care what people think of me...I don't even notice what people are wearing 99% of time, and neither do the VAST majority of competent/successful people. If you want to make a good impression on your clients, find a way to hint at your badassity mustachian ways... and take the opportunity to hint philosophically why people shouldn't judge others by the clothes they wear.  If you can win a persons mind, by proving yourself competent, making them think, and cutting through the superficial BS, it will not matter what you wear. 
« Last Edit: July 11, 2014, 12:44:03 AM by RiskDown »

lpep

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Re: Spending money on new apparel
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2014, 01:48:27 AM »
Maybe there are some ideas in the Buy It For Life thread?

Also, if things don't fit, get them tailored. Money well spent, since fit is at least half of looking good :)

greaper007

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Re: Spending money on new apparel
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2014, 01:57:06 AM »
I actually get 2+ years out of H and M clothing.   The fit is fantastic even if the fabric isn't the best, and with sales you can pick up an outfit for under $20.   The only issue is the working conditions for the people that produce the clothing.    That's really given me pause in the last year or so.

former player

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Re: Spending money on new apparel
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2014, 02:19:40 AM »
The most important things about clothes are-

1.  That they fit you well.
2.  That they are clean.
3.  That they are in good repair (which includes being neatly repaired - ie no dropped hems, no missing buttons).

Different clothing companies have different cuts to their clothes, and some will fit you better than others.  There is no way round finding out which other than to troll round the shops trying things on.  It is perfectly permissible to try things on without buying - you just shake your head sadly and say "I'm afraid they didn't quite work" before walking out.  Once you have found a company whose clothes work for you, stick with it.  When buying clothes, remember that it is the job of the clothes to make you look good - don't ask yourself "is this a good jacket", ask yourself "do I look good in this jacket".

Learn what "a good fit" means.  You are young and active: getting a good fit will be easier for you than for many. Make sure shirts and jackets fit on the shoulder (ie the shoulder seam of the jacket should not be shorter or longer than the width of your shoulder) and the collar should fit comfortably round the neck rather than being either too tight or standing out from the body.  Make sure trousers are the right length (ie meets the shoe with a "break" where the fabric slightly folds at some point below the knee).  Always put shoes back on when trying trousers, so that you can check the length, and always sit down in trousers to check they are comfortable when you are sitting down.

Look after your work clothes: take them off as soon as you are home, and hang up to air anything which is not going in the laundry basket.  (A regular good airing, brushing, and sponging off any dirty spots will keep down the dry cleaning costs for work suits.)  Keep a small sewing kit and learn to mend hems and reattach buttons.

Outside of work, a good waterproof winter jacket is an expensive item, but makes an enormous difference to comfort, safety and inclination to go outside in the winter.  Other than buying in the sales or other discount, there is no way round the initial cost, but looked at on a cost-per-wear basis it will come down to pennies per wear as soon as you've kept it more than a year.  A good coat and good shoes (soles sewn to uppers rather than glued is a good test of a quality shoe/boot) are the two areas where not skimping pays the most dividends on comfort and cost-per-wear.

chasesfish

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Re: Spending money on new apparel
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2014, 05:34:08 AM »
For the work clothes, you just need a few good items. Think "cost per wear" not upfront cost.

What about buying less, but better?


Yes I think this is the stage I want to get do. Buying quality clothing so it lasts a long time but it still looks repectable, professional and warm/dry for cycling and hiking.

I just feel like it is a lot of money to spend up front. But I suppose over the long term if I bought a good quality pair of work shoes for $100 they will last me several years where as the $20 pairs I've been buying have lasted 9-12 months at most and look cheap and are uncomfortable to begin with.

+1.

I'm a firm believer that in your work environment, you need to meet the minimum threshold and move on.  What I mean is dress for the job so that your attire is never a distraction.  I work in finance and this means suit, white or blue shirt, and a professional tie.  I'm never going to impress someone with my attire, but its not going to distract from the job.

The suits and dress shoes cost money and its gets back to the cost per wear.  It stinks, but its what I signed up for in my job and I'm paid accordingly.  Ties can be found cheap and Costco is the place for dress shirts and belts.   Shoes are another story, only a few brands work for my insanely wide foot, so the best cost per wear has been Allen Edmonds bought at a factory 2nd store (high 100's instead of $315 retail)

Good luck


ltt

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Re: Spending money on new apparel
« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2014, 06:12:02 AM »
If and when you buy a few good sets of clothes for the office, keep the sets of good clothes at the office.  Are you saying you bike to work in your biking clothes and then wear them all day even while meeting clients???  If so, I would think that would defeat the purpose.  There's no reason you couldn't continue wearing your biking clothes to work, then change into your good clothes once you arrive at work.  Then change back into your biking clothes once you leave the office.  You could have 2-3 nice pairs of slacks, 2-3 shirts, maybe a few ties, and a suit jacket if needed.  Dry clean them as necessary.  Take a female family member with you shopping to assist in this matter.

stor_stark

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Re: Spending money on new apparel
« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2014, 07:54:32 AM »
I'm a similar age and am in the process of rebuilding my wardrobe after not spending too much on clothing the last several years. I'll share my thoughts and strategy, and you can decide for yourself if you think any of the advice is useful.

Contrary to some (or perhaps many) on MMM, I do care how I present myself to others and believe that being satisfied with my appearance improves my self-confidence and interactions with colleagues, clients, etc. Of course you don't have to spend a lot to accomplish this if you are patient and plan well.

Fit is king. Seriously, a $20 shirt that fits you well will always be better than a $200 shirt that doesn't. Ignoring the specific brands mentioned in the article, look how much better this guy looks by simply wearing slim (note: not skinny!), form fitting clothing: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/mens-fashion/intern-makeover-2014?click=feed

If you have an athletic or non-standard body shape, then work hard to find stuff from specific brands/manufacturers that fits you well, or alternatively you can buy stuff with the intention of getting it tailored (include this in your budget of course). I really enjoy reading http://www.reddit.com/r/malefashionadvice to get an idea of what exactly a good fit is and also some general fashion ideas of what looks good together. Just filter out the stuff that isn't within your budget or your personal style. Some of the stuff will probably seem a little "out there".

As long as you don't impulse buy stuff, http://www.reddit.com/r/frugalmalefashion is a great resource for finding out when stuff goes on sale. I have a running list of stuff I'm planning to buy and only allow myself to buy this specific stuff when I see that it's gone on sale. Might as well save some money on things I'm planning to buy anyway.

Consider creating a 'capsule wardrobe'. Some of the things on this site are outside of my budget, but I really like the idea and plan to implement it myself: http://basicwardrobe.info/

TL;DR I would recommend shifting to a more minimal, functional wardrobe with a higher up front cost (but a longer lifespan).

hybrid

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Re: Spending money on new apparel
« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2014, 08:26:33 AM »
For the work clothes, you just need a few good items. Think "cost per wear" not upfront cost.

What about buying less, but better?


Yes I think this is the stage I want to get do. Buying quality clothing so it lasts a long time but it still looks repectable, professional and warm/dry for cycling and hiking.

I just feel like it is a lot of money to spend up front. But I suppose over the long term if I bought a good quality pair of work shoes for $100 they will last me several years where as the $20 pairs I've been buying have lasted 9-12 months at most and look cheap and are uncomfortable to begin with.

+1.

I'm a firm believer that in your work environment, you need to meet the minimum threshold and move on.  What I mean is dress for the job so that your attire is never a distraction.  I work in finance and this means suit, white or blue shirt, and a professional tie.  I'm never going to impress someone with my attire, but its not going to distract from the job.

The suits and dress shoes cost money and its gets back to the cost per wear.  It stinks, but its what I signed up for in my job and I'm paid accordingly.  Ties can be found cheap and Costco is the place for dress shirts and belts.   Shoes are another story, only a few brands work for my insanely wide foot, so the best cost per wear has been Allen Edmonds bought at a factory 2nd store (high 100's instead of $315 retail)

Good luck

My bold above. If folks at work have been bold enough to tell you that you aren't dressing the part, heed that advice. I agree with the poster above, you need to dress well enough that your performance and not your appearance takes center stage at work. Work has its expectations, so meet them. Work is not the place to be a fashion rebel.

Ynari

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Re: Spending money on new apparel
« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2014, 08:30:15 AM »
Shopping online is easier when you know your measurements.  Find a pair of pants you know fits, and measure waist band/length/etc.  An experienced eBay seller will already list measurements of the garment laid flat, but you can ask if they don't.

Another option (what I do) is to buy or just try on sizes in-store so you know what your fit is.  Then go on eBay and buy the same item for half the price or less.  High end brands have a lot of nearly new or even tags-on items up "used" for cheap.  I can't even justify buying in store when the have mega sales because it's always cheaper "used".

partgypsy

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Re: Spending money on new apparel
« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2014, 12:19:31 PM »
I'm assuming you are a guy but I'm a female but I went through the same thing myself. Both jobs after college and then after graduate school I realized I could not wear my regular (student) clothes. Working in an office or professional environment unfortunately having decent clothes is part of your expenses. What are no nos? Clothes that do not fit, styles that are too casual or inappropriate for the environment, clothes that have stains or obvious wear and tear (fraying, holes) same thing for shoes that are discolored, falling apart.

When I just graduated highschool I literally bought an office wardrobe from one of those cheap fashion stores where you could get a skirt with a belt for $14. I bought dresses and buttondown shirts and skirts. Everything was made out of polyester or artificial fabric but it was new and I tried enough stuff to find things that had a decent fit, enough clothes to have variety through the week. But I hated those clothes (they were basically a uniform) and took them off as soon as I got home.

Getting out of graduate school, I wanted to look nicer -but also be comfortable and have things that reflect my personality. I frist went over to Target to get some clothes, but I just rebelled, I couldn't do it! I am more of a dress shirt over a tank or shirt with trousers person, in natural fabrics (cotton, linen, wool). I found stores where I knew my fit (Land's end is one) and then slowly started acquiring pieces that were of better quality and would go together in multiple ways.

To me it's better to have a smaller wardrobe of nice pieces, than a large wardrobe of mediocre stuff.  But it doesn't have to be designer quality nice.

Shoes are a tough one. Basically have enough shoes (even 3 might do it) where you can rotate them and they will last longer. Once they get too worn out, you can continue to wear them at home but don't wear to work unless casual Friday. Find shoes that are comfortable (fabric or leather upper). Cheap plastic shoes imo are not worth it.


 

Goldielocks

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Re: Spending money on new apparel
« Reply #20 on: July 11, 2014, 05:43:22 PM »
I'm assuming you are a guy but I'm a female but I went through the same thing myself. Both jobs after college and then after graduate school I realized I could not wear my regular (student) clothes. Working in an office or professional environment unfortunately having decent clothes is part of your expenses. What are no nos? Clothes that do not fit, styles that are too casual or inappropriate for the environment, clothes that have stains or obvious wear and tear (fraying, holes) same thing for shoes that are discolored, falling apart


OK, OK!  I am getting out my mending kit this weekend!

enpower

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Re: Spending money on new apparel
« Reply #21 on: July 11, 2014, 09:34:49 PM »
Ok thanks everyone for your help.

I went to both the thrift store and the local shopping mall today and tried on a variety of clothes. I've just been home and looked online also.

To sum up, what I'm going to do going forward is to buy a decent set of clothes to look respectable. Clothes that are top quality without the brand label price tag. Ones that I can try on to see if they fit and I look good in them and basically hold onto them for a very long time.

I'm going to continue this trend on not only in apparel, but in everything I replace or buy going forward (e.g. household appliances, etc)