Let's Talk Wardrobe Budgets + A New Series!

I've used this blog the past several years as a place to share my latest style inspirations, wardrobe ideas, and shopping picks. I realized that it might seem on the outside that I do a ton of shopping, have a full closet and spend loads of cash monthly on clothes. That is most definitely not true, so I thought I would share with you my approach to shopping and my budget, as well as introduce a new idea I had for a monthly feature. I think you will like it!

Thoughts on monthly wardrobe budgets:

I take a more seasonal approach to my budget, as opposed to monthly. At the beginning of each new season I assess what I already have, keep what still fits and what I still like, and donate or sell the rest. I estimate I spend around $350 a season on new clothing items, including shoes and accessories. Due to our mild weather here in California, most of my closet works nearly year round! $350 over the course of one season works out to around $120 a month on new clothes, although I am not always shopping every month.

Thoughts on price points I'm willing to pay:

Within my budget, I have price points I am willing to pay for certain items. I obviously blog here about affordable items, and I am definitely a bargain hunter when it comes to shopping. Here are my general rules of thumb:

Denim: I wear a lot of denim, probably 90% of my bottoms are denim. I feel comfortable spending anywhere from $20-$40 on a pair of denim pants. Gap is my favorite place to pick up denim, and I almost always wait for a sale or browse the clearance. I also like to buy denim from Loft, Old Navy and Target.

Tops:  My price limit for tops is usually around $20. I don't go for anything too fancy; cotton basics are my top of choice, and those are generally not too expensive. I love to buy basic tops from Everlane, Joe Fresh, Jcrew Factory, Loft and sometimes Target, although I feel their quality has been lacking lately. My price limit for special tops, such as those more appropriate for going out, is around $30-$40.

Sweaters: I seem to always find loads of cute sweaters at Target each season, and they generally run around $25-$35. I also like Loft sweaters, which can be a bit more pricey, but can always be found on sale for around the same amount. If the sweater is warm enough to be used as an outerwear piece, I justify spending more. Anywhere from $50-$60.

Shoes: I definitely spend the most money on shoes. Sneakers are a splurge, and I think the most I have spend is $100 on a pair of Nike Frees. Last fall I bought a pair of New Balance on clearance for under $30 at Jcrew. This year I am budgeting around $80, and am deciding between this pair, and this pair. (You can see my recent sneaker round up here). For fall I buy basic flats at Payless (these are so comfy!) or Target, which are generally around $20. Boots I will spend around $50, and I love to hunt Marshalls, TJMaxx and DSW for great bargain deals on boots. Any other shoes, such as those that are trending at the moment, I usually find for a good deal on Amazon. They have a seriously amazing assortment of styles and designers, and with Prime shipping, it's almost as fast as going out shopping.

Jewelry: I am not as into costume jewelry as I used to be. When I would go out shopping more, I would always pop in Forever 21 and H&M and buy a handful of pieces, but I just don't feel the need for that anymore. I think after accumulating so much and hardly ever wearing them I realized how it was more clutter than anything else. Now I stick to buying a nice piece or two here and there. My husband likes to buy jewelry as gifts, so generally I wait for holidays and let them be for that. So romantic right? ;)

Outerwear: Like I mentioned, our winters are not very harsh, so I don't think too much about what new winter coats I want. If I have a classic coat it can last me for years. I am willing to spend a good amount on a nice coat, which for me is around $100-$150.

Dresses: Summer is when I spend the most on dresses, and I would say I spend anywhere from $20-$50 on a single new dress. I like the selection at Kohls, I always seem to find a nice maxi dress there. Old Navy is another favorite place to look for dresses. 

Bags:  This is another area where I used to buy more frivolously, but no longer do. I used to buy more trendy bags, in different colors, etc. but now I know that I prefer neutral bags in simple shapes. Most recently I spent $60 on a simple leather tote from Fossil. These retail for much more, but I found a gently used one on Poshmark, which is a great place to find higher priced items for a lot less!

I think that covers most major items. In a nutshell, you can see the highest I generally pay for any one item is around $100. That is a splurge for me. Everything else falls generally in the $20-$50 range. I prefer to wait for sales, and use coupons and rewards when I can. 

Thoughts on how I choose what to buy:

My latest approach to my closet is: one in, one out. I am trying to pare down what I own to only what I wear most, and am avoiding any impulse purchases that don't serve a particular purpose. I do think it is still fun to add a trendy item or two to update your look for the current season. I haven't gone through my closet yet for fall, as it is still too hot here to even think about! I plan on setting aside some time soon though, as it is now September, and hopefully a cooling trend will start in our weather. 

Now to my new series idea. This is where I need your help!! 

I plan to, on a once a month basis, do a sort of "What to buy this month" type of feature, and include several different budgets, giving ideas for each one. So for example, I would do a $100 budget, a $300 budget and a $500 budget. So if you had a $100 budget for the month of September, I would suggest you buy this particular set of items, and if you have a $300 budget, I suggest you buy this particular set of items, etc. 

What I would love to hear from you is the amounts that you would like to see. Based on your own monthly budget, what amount would be helpful or interesting for you to see here on the blog?  I think this would be a fun way to make what I blog about here more applicable to you and how you shop. The more of you lovely friends I hear from, the more personalized this series will be! I will debut this series next Monday, based on your feedback, so comment below with your input!

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