Trend Treadmill

Lately, I have been feeling like the speed of innovation and design of consumer products has not just surpassed my ability to keep up mentally and financially but it has outstretched my attention span. I am becoming numb to the latest trends.

Before I have even had the chance to pick up a new top that caught my eye it is old news and out of style. I’m exhausted from the cycle and my bank account is too.

Besides, in the interest of self-improvement, I don’t want my main hobby to be swinging by the mall every Friday for something new that I will forget about before I have had the chance to wear it.

Some people could care less about looking polished or what they are wearing at all for that matter. No one is looking to them to solve the scars created by fast-fashion. I, on the other hand, have always loved fashion and the self-expression it allows me but it has become a point of sadness in my life as I have come to learn more about the damaging business model practiced by fast-fashion brands. I want to try and bring back into my closet the things that make me feel confident and socially responsible and sustainable.

What do I want from my wardrobe?

I want a small capsule wardrobe comprised of pieces that last, are stylish and have intrinsic value.

Design, quality, craftsmanship, and sophistication.

I have not always been very intentional with my shopping choices and because of this, I have accumulated lots of things that are taking up space in my closet and collecting dust. I am in the process of purging those items that I am not using regularly or do not spark joy in my life and if you would like to learn more about my process for decluttering you can read the blog post here.

Today let’s talk about how I am building my dream wardrobe on a budget.

Identify my investment pieces. These are the anchor points of my closet. Things that I love to wear, really pull an outfit together and hold their value over time. There are other things that I plan to add to my collection but these are the items I will spend the most time curating and money investing in.  

  • Blazer
  • Leather Jacket
  • Jeans
  • Scarf
  • Large work/travel handbag
  • Small Mini Bag
  • Cardholder
  • Signature Jewelry
  • Hat (Summer and Winter)
  • Button-down
  • High-waited skirt

Focus on cost per wear when purchasing investment pieces, not the initial price tag. 

Not to scare you with math but stay with me for a moment.

Let’s say you’re an average American household who spends $1,800 on clothing…. Every year because the items that most of us are buying are intended to wear once or deteriorate in the wash. That is $150 a month on clothes you wear once and then forget about in your closet or get tossed in the landfill.

If you just saved half of that you would have over $12,000 after ten years if it is invested in a fund getting a moderate interest rate. Check out the interest rate here if you want to see the large impact that seeming small savings decisions can have in the long run. 

Most of the people I know are spending more than the average American and could be missing out on a $14,000 or more luxury vacation with some patience, a step closer to financial independence, or college tuition.

If you invest in good quality pieces, they will last longer and you can even sell them after you have finished with the piece to further decrease the cost per wear!

Make sure everything fits perfectly. If you do not feel comfortable wearing something in the store it is extremely unlikely that you will repeatedly choose to wear this item in the future. Some things can be fixed simply like hemline or sleeve length. If you would have to have major parts of the garment altered for it to fit well, I would advise leaving it in the store it is probably not worth the time or money to bother. 

Focus on classics with simple colors and designs. This helps to ensure that you are staying away from the latest trend print that will be old school next month and it also helps your items retain their value if you want to sell them later. For example, I look for jeans in dark blue, gray and white with little to no embellishments or distressing.

If you want to buy designer jeans go for it and it can be cheaper than Zara!

I will be taking a deeper dive into the cost per wear in a future post.

Be true to myself and my style when shopping. Ask yourself is this something I would normally wear or is it just a novelty piece? Does it make me feel more myself or does this belong in someone else’s closet? Do I like it or do I love it? 

Where I like to shop… in a nutshell… online or at the outlet… or the online outlet!

Favorite online discount stores:

The Outnet

Guilt Group

HauteLook/Nordstrom Rack

Rue La La

Neiman Marcus Last Call

Favorite online second-hand stores:


Vestiaire Collective

The Real Real


Check out your local outlet and thrift shops as well! These can be so fun and are a total treasure hunt. Although I do get overwhelmed quickly when walking into the outlet so my preference is usually to shop online. 

Happy Hunting!

Enjoy this post?

 Check out the books below to learn more about the fast fashion industry and creating your own capsule wardrobe.

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