Posts Tagged: budget

Clothing Consumer Expectation vs. Market Reality

This post has been brewing in the deep, dark recesses of my brain for ages. I’d like to say all that brewing means it’s now fully fermented, but that is yet to be seen. Nevertheless, I wanted to open a discussion about consumer expectations and market reality because I hear many of the same complaints and questions from readers, clients, friends, and family. And I’m betting many of you do, too, and have opinions and insights to share! Here are the main concerns I hear voiced:

  • It frustrates me that many of the stores I love don’t make or stock my sizes.
  • The stuff is gorgeous, but it’s just too expensive.
  • So many clothing companies use shady labor and production practices.
  • I want to support my local economy, but it can be so hard to find items that are made in my home country, state, or city.
  • I love how cheap this is, but it falls apart after a few wears.

All valid complaints aligned with certain needs, wants, values, and expectations. And yet the current fashion marketplace cannot deliver on all of them. Not with current economic conditions, not for all of us, not all the time, and especially not if you want more than one of those concerns to be addressed simultaneously. I’ve put together the Venn Diagram that floats through my mind when I hear folks registering these concerns in multiples. I’m using my own knowledge and research to back this up, but will also set you up with some links to helpful resources at the end of this post. Now let’s dig in. read more

Originally posted 2013-11-01 06:14:23.

Smart Internet Shopping for Style Lovers

how to shop for clothes online
I brag a lot about my ability to track down virtually any product online, and several years ago I decided to put my prowess to reader-fueled use through the Insomniac Sale Picks series. But I’ve had a few questions about online searching and shopping techniques, so I thought I’d share some of my personal practices so you can try them out for yourself!

Here’s where I look when I’m looking for something online:

  1. eBay – If you missed out on an item when it was first being sold, it is likely to be somewhere on eBay. If you’re looking for something super trendy or runway reminiscent – like burgundy boots or a peplum top – eBay will sell you vintage and used versions for pennies on the dollar. Check vendor feedback and don’t go with anyone less than 100% if you’re super skittish (I go as low as 97% myself). Tips for shopping eBay here.
  2. Amazon – I remember when Amazon sold books, and books only. I’ve bought green tea, cosmetics, and cheese curds (for my gran) from them. And they often have amazing deals on clothing, shoes, and accessories. Check Amazon for any and everything.
  3. Google Shopping – Google Shopping used to be my secret weapon, but it’s changed. Google switched its model to favor paid entries, so many times the service points you to sponsored listings. But not always, and using Google Shopping or just plain Google can help you narrow down an online search. Especially if you’re looking for a specific, named item – like a pair of Timberland Earthkeeper boots – since even related retailers may be offering different prices for the same item. If you’re looking for a category of item, like high-waisted skinny jeans, also search. The shopping tool is limited, but will still introduce a few vendors into the mix that you’d never have thought of on your own.
  4. Etsy: I have nearly endless patience when I’m questing for something, and will pore over 65 pages of search results. Not everyone has that kind of stamina. But Etsy’s vintage offerings are amazing, handmade goods are often reasonably priced, and accessories are unbearably fun.

For those who are skittish about shopping online, here are some general tips: read more

Originally posted 2012-11-20 06:20:36.

Multiples that Make Sense

When does it make sense to invest in multiples of a clothing or fashion item, and when should you hold off?

left | right

When you’re on a strict budget, the very idea of buying several versions of a single item seems laughable. You may imagine Kim Kardashian fondling her collection of Birkin bags and think that multiples are a luxury. And they absolutely are. You need more than one pair of panties and more than one pair of socks, but you needn’t purchase multiple identical pairs and you needn’t purchase them all at once, should finances prohibit.

However, some items can be so difficult to track down that buying them in multiples really does make sense. And might be worth fudging the budget for a month. In my opinion, the short list includes: read more

Originally posted 2012-03-09 06:18:51.