When I was young, I didn’t think about it. Some days were shopping days with mom and I could buy one or two pieces of clothing here and there. If I went out once a week, it could easily amount to 4-8 clothes a month! But, as children, you don’t really think about it. All clothes were mostly discounted or were considered the best deals we could get, and we often went to thrift stores.
Nevertheless, when I became a university student and had to live on my own with a very limited budget, I realised that buying things other than food and other essentials were life-and-death situations. And since spending time out with my friend were more valuable to me, shopping for clothes became a luxury, an occasional wimp, an accessory to kill boredom.
After almost 3 years, I finally have a bit more freedom on my spending, since I’ve been saving up, but habits die hard; so here are 3 things I did to make full use of what I had in my closet, so that I didn’t feel the urge to buy more clothes:
1. Well, I literally brought my whole wardrobe from home
I barely spend on clothes, and that’s because I made full use of the 40kg baggage allowance for students when I came to Malaysia. I brought all of my most used and ‘will-likely-use’ pieces of clothing, piles of underwear and socks, both summer and winter clothes… even though Malaysia only has one season (summer). Believe me, lecture halls can freeze you to death. In any case, I had nothing to buy in the clothing department, and I even had my evening dresses ready for any unexpected fancy occasion.
2. If I wanted a specific piece of clothing, I’d check if I could DIY it with my existing clothes
I didn’t even need to sew. A pair of scissors was all I need to DIY 3 pair of shorts (2 denim + 1 to wear in the house or under skirts that feel way too short), a pair of ¾ jeans, 2 crop tops and a workout tank top. I’m also lucky to be loving the frayed look. In more than 2 years living in a hot country as Malaysia, I only bought one pair of shorts and that was only because I didn’t have any black pants I wanted to cut. For such DIY projects, Google and YouTube are your best friends.
Yet, if my wardrobe really lacks something…
3. I would wait for months before buying a piece of clothing I’d fallen in love with
Unless it’s something I really need, like for an upcoming formal presentation maybe, I always delay my purchases when it comes to clothes. Saw that bohemian off-shoulder top and fell in love with it as soon as I tried it? I’d still wait, whether it’s affordable or not (for a student, any amount of money is Money). If after a few weeks or months I’d still dream about the item, then I’d go buy it. If the item is no longer available, then it was just not meant to be. There will always be new items to fall for. Shrug it off and move on. Oh, about that bohemian off-shoulder top? I ended up buying it after 3 months of deliberation. It takes a lot of willpower, but it’s not impossible.
Another related advice was to see whether the piece of clothing you’re buying can be matched with at least 3 already existing clothes in your wardrobe: if it does, buy it, if not, don’t, or you’ll end up buying new clothes.
So in the end, my wardrobe feels totally optimised, and it should be since I have only so much space in my student accommodation. As the saying goes, make do with what you already have 🙂
An Evil Nymph.