How To Be A Frugal Fashionista

When I was in my um-teens, I would constantly yap at my closet, complaining that I don't have anything to wear even if I just bought some clothes. Before, I used to have this one-outfit-a-week shopping spree to update my wardrobe to a point that I got broke, and I even had the gall to complain why I don't have savings in the bank. Childish!

Now, I've finally made peace with the fact that I should only settle for what I need and to make the most out of what I have. When I think about it, everything really happens at the right place and at the right time: If I'm still a severe clothes shopper now that I have to attend lots of events, I would literally be broker than broke, staring at the glass windows of my dream brands letting out a huge sigh and thinking when will I ever own them.

One of my beauty blogger friends once said that "You don't have to be ugly even if you don't have a lot of money to spend on cosmetics" and this adage rings true for fashion as well. You don't have to spend so much on clothes to look trendy (as they all come and go quickly), and you don't have to update your closet everyday to earn the title "Fashionista." It's okay if you're in that phase now-we all go through that. In time, you'll just learn how to be a frugal fashionista and trust me, it's gonna be great because you get to save more and allot money on grander and more important things. One day, if somebody tells you that you need to shop because seems like you don't have clothes as you wear the same piece over and over again, you just find peace and smile and say in your mind "Nah, I'm just holding out for the bigger things."

The best part in every journey is you can start anytime, especially while you're young. I have a few tips for you if you want to be frugal starting now.

1. One Word: PLAIN

- One of my mom's closest colleague in her industry rarely wears printed clothing. In fact, she only wears black most of the time: Black shirt, black blazer, black slacks, and she just embellishes her outfit with stunning accessories. The cool thing is, nobody cares if she wears black all the time because no one could tell if she has already abused her clothes so much that it definitely needs to be replaced already.

If there's one style that you have to invest in, it should be plain clothes. Plain meaning solid colors and classic cuts. Even if you wear them over and over again, no one would know once you top 'em with a blazer, cardigan, or jacket, or pair it up with various accessories. That's smart fashion, I must say.

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2. Picture it first, Feel it first

- So your favorite fashion blogger is sporting this super cool and super trendy envelope skirt. It looks so divine on her, but hold your horses. Stop and think: "Will it look good on me?" Use your imagination and picture yourself wearing that envelope skirt. Ask yourself if you are really into skirts to begin with. If you really can't get it out of your head, head to the mall and look for that envelope skirt, or use the power of the Internet to easily locate stores that carry this item. Try it on-don't worry, no one will judge you if you don't buy that item right away. Check if it flatters you. Check if you're comfortable with it: Can you sit in it without worrying if your undies are peeping? Do you have to pull it down always as it keeps on riding up your thighs? Never sacrifice comfort for fashion. Awkwardness is never fashionable.

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3. Rummage through your closet (or even your mom's)

- I've come to realize that a lot of new clothing styles today are just embellished classics. If you chance upon this fab top on one Instagram seller, before sending an order form, take time to search through your closet as you might have the same piece or something similar. Since fashion is just like history as it repeats itself, go through your mom's closet and borrow or request for her old clothes. One man's trash is the treasure of another.

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4. Do I really, really need that?

- Ask yourself over and over again if you really, really need that piece of clothing. Give it a day and think if that piece will really come handy, or you may say pass because you have other clothes that will suffice.

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6. Can I afford it now?

- In relation to number 4, we always confuse needs with wants, so if you're really torn between getting that item or not, here's a question that will help you decide once and for all. CAN I AFFORD IT NOW?  Will it hurt your wallet or will you have to sacrifice your budget? Know your priorities and prioritize them first. Maybe that article of clothing can wait, or the new collection may have something better. As Warren Buffet once said, "Don't save what is left after spending. Spend what is left after saving."

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7. Rent

- If you have a lot of formal events to attend, renting gowns is a good option. Gowns, in my opinion, are clothes that you more or less wear only once and not all the time for most people so the frugal option is to rent.

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8. Fit is Fashionable

- This is a hashtag I saw on one of my friends' Instagram photos and I agree. Come to think of it, if you don't gain weight, you don't have to spend on new clothes. Try to maintain your weight. It's good for your overall health too, ya know.

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9. Have a Goal...A BIG goal

- Aim for a car, an investment, a luxury item, a dream vacation, a house, a condo, target savings in the bank, or whatever as long as its big. Setting high expectations for yourself does not only improve your spending habits, but also imparts other important traits like fearlessness, enthusiasm, and industriousness. If you have a big goal, trust me, you'll effortlessly be able to curb the need to shop impulsively. Remember, a cheesecake is better than a marshmallow. :D

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9. Stop comparing yourself to others

- Others have the need to buy clothes always because of their field. Perfect example would be fashion bloggers: they need it because part of their task is to present different looks everyday. So if you're not a fashion blogger or you're not in a job that requires you to be dressed to the nines almost everyday, you surely don't need to buy new clothes everyday or every week.

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10. Learn the Art of Dedma

- In English, Dedma is loosely translated to the phrase "Devil may care" or "I don't care". You have to stop worrying about what others say about you and your outfit and ultimately, you have to stop assuming what others think about you. What others say have no meaning, unless you give it meaning. Who cares if you've worn that black dress for twenty times already? You launder it anyway so it's okay! :D

So these are my based-on-experience tips on how to be a frugal fashionista. The thing is, they are not easy to acquire and practice, really. Nothing valuable comes easy. Just be happy with the fact that in the end, all your efforts will be well worth!

Share yours in the comment section below-would love to have more input! :)

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12 Lovely Thoughts

  1. The Art of DEDMA!!! HAHAHHA I love it.

  2. maria eileen caballeroSeptember 10, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    Investing in "plain" clothes is really the best option to be able to save more. Like a basic white button top, plain colored tees, darkwash jeans which you can easily jazz up and transform~

  3. I used to be like you when I was younger. I shop for clothes almost every week. But when I started working and paying for everything that I need and want, I started to sink into my mind almost everything you've written here. :)

  4. What a helpful post. :) For me, it doesn't matter if you buy affordable clothes, bargain clothes as long as you can carry it. :) And mixing and matching clothes really go far. :)also investing on accessories makes a plain outfit, fab :)

  5. Yes, we should learn the art of dedma! When I was in college, I was so conscious of having to repeat my clothes as some of my classmates always have new clothes. So what I do is buy clothes from St. Francis so I can wear new outfits during our "wash" days, thinking that I'm being wais since I have new clothes without spending too much. I didn't realize that I'm actually spending more since these clothes are not really for the long haul, they break or fade easily after just a few washes.

    Now I realize that buying clothes is like an investment, that it's okay to spend a bit more on a good quality blouse or dress that will last a few years than buying cheap clothes that you'll need to replace in a few months' time. :)

  6. This post motivated me! I feel like you are talking to me personally! :) hehe. I'm a working mom and form time to time I am tempted to buy fashionable work clothes especially when I oogle at fashion spreads in magazines or I check out online stores. But whenever I have this urge to spend I always think of what I have in my closet that I rarely wear because I have gained a lot of weight after giving birth!haha So yeah, I have to keep in mind that FIT IS FASHIONABLE!

    And just stock up on basics, white and black never fails!

  7. Wow, this is something I REALLY need to learn. Great post, Martha! Thanks! :)

  8. I am so happy that somehow I have managed to follow these tips. I like how you call it the art of dedma, sosyal pa rin pakinggan, hehehe.. I learned how to do this too, because sometimes my sister would tell me that I wear the same clothes over and over again, I just don't care anymore because my priority right now is the needs of my son. :) Plus, if I want to wear some new clothes, I just shop from my sisters closets. Luckily, I have three sisters and those clothes that won't fit them anymore would still fit me because I don't gain much weight. :) Am I frugal or what? hihihi

  9. Pau: :D Or the Art of Kebs

    Issa: Thanks for sharing! :D Good for you, you're now a master of frugal fashion-perfect because you already have a son! :D

    Krissy: You're welcome, Krissy. :) Thanks for reading :)

    Ravene: Hi Ravene! Welcome back to my blog. :D Fit is Fashionable is the tip that really hit me, that's why I'm doing boxing now. Gotta lose weight! :D

    Anne_22: That's also another thing, invest in sturdier clothes for better savings! Thanks for sharing. :)

    Fati Recede: Welcome! Yes, that's also one of my styles-I invest in accessories to dress up plain outfits :)

    Rizza: Oh you're dang right-when you just start paying for everything you need in your life, you just become wiser with money haha! :D

    Maria Eileen Caballero: Hi there and welcome to my blog! Thanks for sharing. agree with your choices- they're easier to mix and match with other clothes too! :)

  10. Hi!I've been a silent follower of your blog for a few months now and I just had to comment on this particular article. This really hit me and I could super relate to your story. I regret buying clothes na I didn't really need or not comfortable wearing.

    I cannot really say na I'm more frugal now but to help curb my spending, I try to avoid malls na lang and I leave my debit/credit card at home:P

  11. on my list, before buying clothes..

    1. basic colors - i love plains, easy to match with anything, skirt, pants and shorts

    2. minimal designs - so i can use it in any occasions

    3. material used - i want comfortability

    4. the price =) (should be budget friendly)

    basta carry mo dalhin kahit mumurahin kiber hehehe =)

  12. Love this post. I actually lived by #1. That's also one of the advise I got from reading a book called "Bubby in your bduget" which is written by a very witty author. :) It makes perfect sense, and since then I barely bought bright/loud colored clothes. Plus, it's a great way to establish my "signature" style :)


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