Courtesy of MCT
Four tank tops for $8. Buy one pair of jeans, get the second pair free. Take off an additional 50 percent. All of these bargains might seem like a blessing, but is paying less really worth clothes that will not last?
Stores like Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe are known for manufacturing thousands of the same pieces and then selling those pieces for jaw-dropping prices. But this quick turnaround of garments doesn’t allow much room to make sure every single piece created is of the highest quality, and it shows. Many of my blouses have become incredible shrinking shirts, the elastic stretched out and recoiled to create permanent pleats and wrinkles. My jeans transform into stiff stovepipes when I don’t throw them in the dryer, but lose a few sizes when I do. I end up spending double trying to replace everything as quickly as it becomes ruined.
In stark comparison, the few items I have that are worth quite a few more dollars have stuck it out by my side through many wears and even more loads of laundry.
The UGG Boots I splurged on five years ago don’t have a salt spot or tear in sight, and the chambray jacket I couldn’t say no to from Urban Outfitters has yet to attain that crunchy, denim-like quality. Spending more on these things in the first place has saved me money in the long run.
Unfortunately, as a broke college student, it is not always feasible for me to buy the better quality garments. It has become necessary for me to pick and choose what clothes I want to last, and which items I’ll be able to live with falling apart. At times when such an important decision needs to be made, I run through a list of things to consider before buying anything.
First, what is the main reason for the purchase? If it is being bought for one specific occasion and isn’t likely to be worn again, saving a few bucks is a great choice and no guilt will be felt when it makes its way to the back of your closet, never to be seen again. If, on the other hand, it is a multipurpose item that can be worn with almost anything, it would be smart to make sure it lasts as long as you need it to.
I also tend to take into account the other, underlying reasons for anything I plan on buying. Sometimes the color is the only thing drawing me to a piece, and other times I only happen to be considering it because of the brand name on the tag. More often than not, I have caught myself thinking about buying something because of the simple fact that it is cheap and won’t empty my wallet. It is important to make sure whatever is being purchased is done so for the right reasons. Otherwise you’ll end up throwing money away on things you don’t really care about.
It does not hurt to shy away from larger purchases in favor of smaller accessorizing pieces when money should be saved rather than spent. Instead of going for the lasting sweater that eats away at half of your paycheck, invest in a variety of cheaper accessories that won’t take a beating and won’t need replaced. Scarves are excellent pieces to save on, and as an added bonus can breathe new life into old outfits. Headbands and other hair accessories are also better to save on than splurge.
Ultimately, the quality of the clothes you buy shouldn’t depend solely on how much money is in your pocket. With the right mindset, it becomes easy to figure out where money should be allocated to achieve a wardrobe that lasts as long as you want it to.