5 steps to optimise your clothing budget

Many of the tips revolving around fashion on a budget are fairly predictable:

  • Buy clothes that are on special offer/off the sales rack
  • Make sure the article of clothing is easily matched with some pieces in your existing wardrobe
  • Get cashback on purchases – use your cashback credit card and/or Shopback.my
  • Buy from thrift shops
  • Pick quality over quantity so they last longer – a RM100 top worn 100 times is better than a RM10 top worn once

But one piece of advice in particular was surprisingly helpful in a very unexpected way – “Know what you have in your wardrobe.”

Advocates say this hack will help you re-understand your fashion style and make you more conscious of future purchases.

Apparently, we wear only 20% of our wardrobe. Why would you want to pay for the remaining 80% if you don’t wear them?

Step 1: Decide on a style

Is minimalist fashion your thing – clean, classic, Parisian chic? Earth and natural tones. Some like a smart casual style, it is easy to dress up or dress down. It’s “practical” fashion that implies, “I look this good and don’t even try”


Step 2: KonMari your wardrobe

KonMari, the Japanese decluttering expert and author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and “Spark Joy” is a big inspiration.

The “Spark Joy” methodology is simple – if an item no longer gives you happiness, get it out of your life.

Go through your entire wardrobe. If an item no longer makes you happy, it’s time to donate it, re-purpose it or simply throw it away. Here’s a guide to help you decide.

  • Clothes that don’t fit well
  • Clothes with tears
  • “Just in-case” clothes that never get worn i.e. old jackets and coats
  • Clothes in styles you no longer like
  • Clothes that are obviously “unfashionable”
  • Well-loved but worn out clothes that are past their due dates

Step 3: List down all the clothes you own

After you get rid of what you don’t want, re-assess what you have chosen to keep whether they are tops, bottoms, footwear as well as undergarments and accessories.

Step 4: Know what you shouldn’t buy any more

If after assessing your list, you realise you have many casual, long-sleeved tops, or black tops or even those with spaghetti straps, it’s time to stop buying more.

The next time you go shopping and are naturally drawn to these same styles, check yourself and say “No”. Not buying saves money anyway.

Step 5: Only look for pieces that’ll work with what you already have

If you have a mostly black-grey-navy wardrobe, maybe it’s time to try new styles – say, prints and coloured pieces.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Tops in these colours: moss green, beige, dark red, brown
  • Printed skirts and pants
  • Cardigans and other tops that can be layered with what you already have
  • White sneakers or print loafers for more casual days
  • Maybe a printed bag that will go well with the majority of you plain outfits

Aim for each of the items to be paired with different outfits for different looks.

Credit Pinterest.

This article first appeared in ringgitohringgit.com

Suraya is a corporate writer-for-hire and the blogger behind personal finance website Ringgit Oh Ringgit. She is more of a minimalist, less of a consumerist, a konon DIY enthusiast, a let’s-support-small-businesses-over-big-corporations kinda girl. Prior to her current role, she worked in various capacities within the non-profit industry.