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Clothing; Fashion, Frumpy, or Frugal?

I guess it's pretty obvious that if you try and keep up with fashion, you will go broke. My goal is to try and keep up the illusion of keeping up with fashion.

For instance- there are some colors that are just considered dated. I try not to wear those colors. A lot of times it isn't so much the color, but the fabric that it has been applied to that makes it look so dated.

When a popular color from the past appears again, it is usually with trendy clothing. If it regains popularity, it will soon appear on the more classic pieces.

It is pretty easy to develop your sense of what is outdated. Just go into a thrift store and look around. Most of the clothes will be outdated. Take note of the colors, fabric, styles, and lines of the clothing.


Look at the armholes. That's a dead give away. Older clothes have very little allowance in the armhole. Today's clothing is more relaxed, and while armhole sizes have been decreasing, they are still larger than in most of the clothing you find in thrift stores.

There are good buys in Thrift Stores, but it takes a good eye to separate that which is fashionable and of value from items that are hopelessly outdated. Clothing with classic lines can last for years without going out of style.

If you always shop seasonal sales, you may be able to find new clothing just as cheap in retail stores. In February and March you will find Sweaters at give-away prices. Sweaters are a great staple in your wardrobe. Since they are a separate they can be worn in many ways. Try and keep them in neutral colors, and you will find many uses for them, either dressy or casual.

If you want to save money on clothing, you need to develop your own personal style, and stick with it. No matter how fashionable an item of clothing , unless it looks good on you, you will look frumpy.

It takes a bit of time in the beginning, but saves time and money in the long run. Everyone is different. Learn which lines flatter your figure and the shape of your face, and what colors are flattering to you skin tone.

Learn which styles of necklines flatter you (such as a jewel neck, v-shaped, rounded, square, cowl, etc). Look at yourself in the mirror applying the squint test. Step back and squint at yourself in a mirror to get an overall general impression of yourself. Are you full of curves, straight lines, or both? If you have a round face, you will not look good in clothing with bold straight lines. If your face is angular, avoid clothing and accessories with rounded lines.

Apply this to your accessories also. Don't carry a rounded handbag if you have an angular frame. If you are straight lined or angular, don't buy a pouch type purse.

There are many kinds of patterned designs. Some are rounded, some are very geometric and full of straight lines. Everyone talks about color- but wearing clothes that are in harmony with your body type is just as important.

Once you know your style, another advantage is that you can shop online with confidence- often saving you time and money.

If you do your homework, you can avoid costly buying mistakes. Your wardrobe will go together better, and you will find that you need few clothes.

About The Author: Nikki Willhite, mother of 3 and an interior design graduate, has been writing and publishing articles on the topic of frugal living for over a decade. Visit her at - where you will find hundreds of frugal living tips and articles. Frugal Happy Families- more than just money! Article first published at


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March 15, 20060 found this helpful

Another way to develop your sense of fashion is to windowshop in the more expensive department stores and boutiques. That way you can see what is being sold out there and how it differs from last year's. Now that there is so much on the internet, you can get some idea from there, too.

To my mind, most standard things are much more fitted than previously, for example. Now, that doesn't actually suit me, so I am happy to get "older" versions of things that are more flattering.

The point is to develop your own individual style and modify it according to the fashions to keep up to date. You can often do that with accessories. Or by putting a favorite in the back of the closet until it is fashionable again. The rule of thumb is a year avantgarde, a year trendy and a year fashionable.

Colors also switch from year to year. Find the ones that flatter you and stick to them no matter the fashion. I never like to wear the same colors as everyone else, anyway.

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