Sometimes you need to change your entire wardrobe. You may have gained or lost weight, had a baby (or 3), are re-entering the workforce or had a house fire. Whatever the reason, replacing all your clothing at once is a terrifying prospect. Especially if you are a cheapskate. Especially if you are a cheapskate who doesn’t like to shop. Welcome to my own personal nightmare.
I am thinner than I used to be. (Please don’t be envious of me, or stop reading, this is not a barfy inspirational story, just some background info so you know I am legit in this bit of advice) There is enough of a change that the only clothing that still fit was my socks. Even my pajamas were falling off. Here is what I found worked for me:
How to Change Your Entire Wardrobe
How to start: Make room on a large flat surface (like your bed) and get one reasonably-sized box. Mark it Clothing with Memories. Take a deep breath. Pour yourself a drink (I went with coffee), find enough time to do this without distractions, and strip down to your undies. Then try on every single piece of clothing you own. Even the ones for other seasons. Sort them by things that fit and things that don’t. Take your time with this. Sit down, cross your legs, Look in a full length mirror, make sure the items really don’t fit because you do not want to get rid of things that do. The things that fit, put back in your closet and dresser. The things that don’t, put in piles by clothing type (pants, shirts, etc). The things that don’t fit but you are attached to, toss in to the clothing with memories box. You are NOT allowed to put things in there because you paid too much for them in the first place only because it reminds you of something happy. You can put that box in a safe spot later. If you have a spouse who will tell you the truth about if a piece of clothing fits, by all means let them help. If you have a pal who will do the same, pour them a drink too.
What not to do: Freak out about how much this is going to cost you. Say mean things to yourself. Feel bad about the mountains of clothes you somehow didn’t realize you own. The place to start this is here, the time to start this is now. You can’t go backwards, you can only go forward. (so, that was a little barfy, sorry. Moving on….)
What to do now that your bed is covered in clothes: Make a list of the clothes that no longer fit and stuff them into big black garbage sacks. They need to leave your house. DO NOT PUT THEM IN BOXES LABELED “INSPIRATION.” The only exception to this is if you are doing this because you are pregnant. Then you can keep them for 1 year past your baby’s birthday. If they don’t fit then, out they go. The reason they MUST leave the house is because the you who lives in your house now doesn’t need that kind of pressure. Bigger, smaller, you are a valuable human being who deserves to love yourself and treasure the you people love. Plus, no one on earth has that kind of storage space. Take your sacks to your local thrift shop or donation center. Get a receipt and deduct it from your taxes, that is why you made the list of what is in the sacks. Trust me, this is the easiest way to get rid of things. Adult clothing at yard sales doesn’t sell well. Consignment shops are good if you have high quality or designer items. I called a pal who I thought wore the sizes I was getting rid of and told her to come with laundry baskets. She did and was thrilled with her new clothes. However you get rid of them, get them gone.
What to do now, after you have done most of the things I told you not to do: Look at what fit and make a list of what you have and what you need. This is tricky. You may find you need fewer clothes than you thought, I had many pairs of pants and skirts I felt I “needed”. It turns out, I need jeans and khakis. The rest I don’t want to wear. I don’t “need” 8 turtle necks, but I do have to have 3 to make it between laundry days. With the list in hand, go shopping.
I hate this part: You are going to have to spend some money. On clothes. Blech.
How to get clothes without having to eat Ramen for 2 months: Can you shop a pal’s closet? Do you have a sister or gal pal who might have some things to lend or give? Do you know someone who can do a little sewing to alter things you already own but no longer fit right?
Goodwill, second hand, resale, and the like often have good choices. Give them a shot. I often find tops at these places.
Stores with reward programs like Kohls. If you use their store credit card, you can save additional percents on your purchases. I just used my 30% off to buy shorts for the summer.
Walmart: Love them or hate them, they do have cheap clothes and a wide range of sizes. It’s not usually my first choice and I find their clothing does not last from year to year but it will do in a pinch.
Buy one in every color: If you find a pair of jeans that fit buy TWO. No one will notice if all your jeans are exactly the same. If your store doesn’t have more of that item, most chain stores will let you order from their website and ship to the local store for no shipping costs. But stick to your list. If you really only need 3 pairs, don’t buy 6.
Remember that you didn’t build your wardrobe overnight so this might take a few shopping trips. I know I needed a lot more coffee to get through the day I stuffed my legs in to 36 pairs of shorts! If I can do this, you surely can!
photo credit: AndG – Fotolia.com