Fashion Theory – How To Calculate Your Clothing Budget

I suggested to Aisha, a recent client, that she invest in a durable leather handbag. Aisha argued that she simply couldn’t afford to spend upwards of $300. The remarkable thing about this was that once we analyzed her recent clothing purchases we realized that she was spending about $300 monthly on clothing! Aisha was actually suffering from sticker shock and had kind of become accustomed to buying quantity instead of quality. The end result was that her closet was essentially bursting at the seams with discount and poorly constructed clothing. In the end, Aisha was in effect spending $3,600 annually (nearly 10% of her $37,000 salary) on a wardrobe that lacked both function and style.

Establishing a budget is a very difficult question to answer from a general perspective because everyone’s financial and clothing situation is different. If you have a job that allows you to work in a casual environment where some of your everyday clothing can be incorporated into you daily work outfits, I would estimate the overall clothing allowance to be somewhere around 7%. For those that work in a more professional office environment where you are expected to dress the part and dressing the part may overall affect your promotion-ability factor; I would estimate around 10% of your salary. Keep in mind, this budget should include the costs of alterations and professional cleaning services. It is also important to note that if you are maintaining a household on this salary, i.e. you have children or a spouse you must allocate a portion of this amount to their clothing allowance as well.

Example 1: Aisha works in a business casual environment. Her salary is $37,000. Her clothing allowance is: $2,590.

Example 2: Elaine works in a professional business environment. Her salary is $85,000. Her clothing allowance is: $8,500.

1. Invest in Investment Pieces: Investment pieces are just that – “investment” pieces! So, don’t be afraid to spend a little more money on the classics which are required to create a functional wardrobe. Discount stores such as Marshalls, Century 21, and DSW could produce some very valuable finds, however it is important that you don’t become distracted and divert from the standard classics when shopping at these stores. For classics, I recommend shopping at a formula store. A formula store is typically a specialty retail store that stocks key basics. Some great formula stores are Gap, Ann Taylor LOFT and The Limited. The great thing about a formula store is that once you find the sizes and styles that suit you best, you can shop there season to season with little difficulty. These are great stores for purchasing a classic a-line skirt, trousers, jeans, button-ups, and tees, tanks and camis of variety.

2. Don’t Be a Label Whore: When it comes to beautiful dresses, handbags, shoes and scarves there are some designers that are simply ahead of the par, however to simply focus all of your efforts into collecting clothing that has a designer label tag regardless of how flattering or well-fitting the item is – is simply not a good option.

3. Do Apply The Cost-Per-Wear Concept: To get back to the example I gave previously of Aisha spending $300 on a leather handbag. The leather handbag is an investment piece which can be carried for months or possibly years to come. If Aisha carried this handbag for just six months her cost per wear would be $50. I discuss the Cost per Wear Concept in more detail in a recent post.

4. Don’t Charge: I know to some people this may seem unthinkable; however I think whenever you shop with credit cards you are always tempted to get caught up in the emotional buzz of said item and go well over your budget. If you’re carrying a lot of debt (particularly from past shopping activities) you really need to think long and hard about plunking 7-10% of your income towards clothing. A simple rule of thumb I often use is “Don’t buy it unless you can afford to buy two.” No, I’m not saying that you should buy two of everything; rather what I am suggesting is that every time you buy something, you take that same dollar amount and apply it towards paying off debt or towards savings. So in effect, that $300 handbag will now cost you $600; $300 to purchase and another $300 in savings or debt payment. The amount of your clothing budget should match or exceed the amount you are saving or applying towards debt repayment.

5. Make It Automatic: Now that you have established your clothing budget, the only sure fire way to stick to it is to make it automatic. Here are two great ideas for actually staying on budget.
Low Tech Option: If your budget allows for $200 to be spent a month on clothing. Place this amount of cash in an envelope. When shopping for clothing only spend what is in the envelope. Once this amount is gone you have exhausted your clothing budget for the month.
High Tech Option: Set up a separate checking account (I suggest an ING Orange account) and have a specific amount deposited into your account periodically; for example $50 a week. When shopping for clothing only use the debit card associated with this checking account. The nice thing about this option is that if you are not someone who shops on a weekly or monthly basis the money continues to grow towards your much anticipated shopping spree.

6. Maximize Your Budget: A pair of Jimmy Choo shoes is no longer $500. It’s $500 minus the $165 you will get for selling them on EBay the following year. EBay and consignment stores are a great source for stretching your clothing allowance. If you don’t have a lot of designer clothing in your closet you can still receive some financial benefit from making a tax-deductible donation to your local goodwill or charity.

Ladies Golf Clothes – Guide to Ladies Knitwear

Think of golf clothes and a golf sweater, probably with an Argyle pattern, is most likely the first thing to spring to mind. Knitwear is synonymous with golf and as such there are a wide number of options to choose from. A great sweater is a much smarter option than a sporty fleece, it will last for years and styles are unlikely to date. They are also a great fashion item so if your golf outfit needs an instant fix why not update your look with one of this seasons on-trend colours?

Style option 1: Lined sweaters Lined sweaters fall into the practical category – generally they are designed to be worn as outerwear as they have a woven lining to help keep the wind out. If you are looking for a more elegant alternative to a fleece they are a good option as will keep you warm and snug whilst still looking smart. Often these styles have a turtle neck with a zip opening and some will have a Teflon coating to protect against drizzle too.

Style tip: Brighten up a practical lined sweater with a contrast coloured or patterned scarf. Zip neck styles work perfectly with scarves as you tuck them inside for a warm and on trend look.

Style option 2: The classic sweater You can’t beat a great mid weight sweater for versatility. This classic golfing item comes in patterned or plain versions and can be worn season after season. V-necks are more flattering if you have a larger bust and can be teamed with a polo shirt for a smarter look. A crew neck is more practical and warm and it’s a good idea to have a couple of each in your golfing wardrobe to suit all conditions and occasions. Also look out for sleeveless sweaters which are ideal for the summer months.

Patterns: The traditional Argyle pattern – made of diamonds in a diagonal checkerboard arrangement – is a golfing classic. Go for a smaller scale pattern if you are looking for a more elegant style or a bolder large scale if you like to make a statement. If the Argyle look is too bold for you then why not try a cable knit? This is a style that has a patterned stitch and adds texture to the surface of the sweater. Often these styles are one colour and are an easy way to add a subtle detail to your outfit. Stripes have a great sporty appeal. Again, horizontal stripes can make you look broader, so go for a softer tonal colourway if you want to avoid this. If you have small shoulders and want to add emphasis here then stripes are the perfect pattern for you. Spots and dots are a great choice for all body shapes and have a fun, feminine appeal, they do tend to be more trend lead though so you won’t find them every season. Style tip: Patterns that run in a vertical direction will elongate your figure, while those running horizontal or across the chest area can broaden it – so be careful that your selection will flatter your shape.

Style option 3: Cardigans Although cardigans are less popular than sweaters, they are still a good choice. Often golfing cardigans are zip through and have a sportier look rather than using buttons. They make a great choice in the spring and summer as you can easily layer up or down depending on the changeable weather.

Fabrics:

If you are looking for a season round option go for a wool, lambswool or wool mix style. If you are looking for luxury or a treat then cashmere or a cashmere blend can’t be beaten and can be worn all year round (perfect for chillier summer evenings). Wool has natural stretch and breathability and many performance wool items, often made from Merino wool, will move with your body for the ultimate comfort. They also help to keep you warm when it’s cold, and cool when it’s warm thanks to their thermo regulatory properties. For the spring and summer you may prefer a lighter cotton or merino wool fabrication. Many of these styles are now machine washable which is a great practical advancement.

Style tip: If you have a pear shaped figure and want to draw attention away from your hips, then team dark bottoms with an eye-catching or contrast colour sweater.

Technology Like with many sports garments seamless technology has also been incorporated into knitwear. This means that an item is produced in one entire piece rather than consisting of separate parts and then stitched together. The advantage of seamless knits is that of superior comfort. By eliminating often bulky seams at the shoulders and sides you get a much better fit and the natural elasticity of the knitwear is not interfered with.

Still can’t decide? With so much choice around it is often difficult to choose – especially if you are looking for a gift. If you are unsure then opt for a good quality plain style. If you have paler colouring then softer colours tend to be more flattering – darker skin tones can take bolder, brighter shades. This season’s top shades Golf is a sport known for its vibrant colours and bold looks, so don’t feel like you need to be a shrinking violet when making your choices. A classic palette of navy and black can easily be updated with vibrant shades to suit the season. This winter look for deep reds, strong blues, chocolate browns and light greys alongside the golf classics of pale blue and power pink.

The Classic Look in LDS Clothing Now Growing in Popularity

Who could have guessed that LDS Clothing would become what it is today?.. and that is one of of the fastest growing fashion trends on the market. However; for those who have been wearing LDS clothing all these years, it really comes as little surprise.

A Truly Classic Look and Style

It’s a classic look that hearkens back to the mid 1800’s, to a time when men dressed like men and women dressed like women. Clothes back then were also far more functional sand comfortable and women didn’t feel like they had to expose themselves to look attractive.

Bonnets Caps and Hats In LDS Clothing Boutiques

Also as clothing accessories, such as bonnets faded from the fashion scene several decades back, designers of LDS clothing stubbornly hung onto to them and other simple yet very becoming LDS clothing accessories. Now they have been rewarded handsomely with new international recognition for their fashion foresight.

Always Stylish Totes , Shoulder Bags and Purses

Flip through any top fashion magazine today and you will see “new” styles in voluminous tote bags and purses that have replaced leather with heavy duty natural fabrics. The truth be told, bags totes and purses just like these were always available at LDS clothing venues and boutiques long before they were in “style”.

LDS Clothing and Fashion Accessories For the Woman On The Go

LDS clothing and fashion accessory designers have always known that what women really wanted from a purse or tote bag was room to carry with them all the things that they would need throughout the day. How can someone fit a sewing or knitting project in small purse or clutch?

The CTR Ring – Just a Little Reminder

To finish off the LDS clothing ensemble there is the always classic CTR ring. This unique piece of jewelry feature the letters CTR which stand for (choose the right) set against a green background. The CTR ring is a great way to accessories any LDS clothing ensemble with a little reminder to always make the right choices while you are out.