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How to Save on Clothing for the Poly Family
If you have small children, do patronize second hand stores. Clothing is often in good condition for a tenth the original price of the item. Let younger children wear hand-me-downs. Check out yard sales. Most people who are having them are more interested in getting rid of an item than making a profit. While you're at it, look for clothes here, yourself. Now, I'm a plus size and can sew, so it is rare that I find anything good -- being picky about fit.
That's another thing, sewing is NOT automatically cheaper. Yes, I can take a piece of fabric worth a buck or two and turn it into a cute little dress for my two year old daughter, but no way in hell can I tailor a suit for my husband. Stuff like sweats and t-shirts are just plain cheaper to buy in the store.
If you do sew and like it, do learn to draft your own patterns. You'll save a fortune in patterns and fitting over the years. ( Here is a tutorial that teaches how to draft a basic sloper/dress. You can customize it endlessly.)
If you don't know how to sew, learning is expensive. You're not going to turn out that tailored jacket at a third the price of a department store the first time around. Sorry. Tailoring is a well-paid skill for a reason.
Buy off season or end of season. Buy bathing suits in September, buy coats in April.
Plan your wardrobe. Don't be buying that cranberry blouse if the suits you own are pumpkin and forest green. I prefer it that any blouse I own can go with any pants. I admit I take it a bit far and only wear black pants or a salwar kameez I have made myself. (grin) You don't have to go that far with it, but make sure that ALL of your wardrobe is more or less interchangeable.
Stay the devil out of department stores. They're expensive.
Do buy good quality. Spending twenty dollars on an item that will last five years is better than spending $7 on an item that will need to be replaced every other year.
Make sure you take proper care of each item. Washing everything in cold helps. A dryer is hard on many items, so a clothesline helps.... Provided you're not drying your clothes in full sun. Repair little seam frays quickly and take care of stains as soon as they happen.
If you're wearing nice suits to work, change out of them immediately when you get home. Wearing an item is what wears it out the most.
If you're like me and work out of a home office, there is no need at all to invest much in clothes. A nice outfit or two and some reasonably neat sweats or shorts is fine. Who's going to care?