5 Tips to Build a Quality Wardrobe on a Millennial's Budget

Now that you are out of school and in the real world trying to get a handle on this adulting thing, you’ve probably decided that you want to up your wardrobe game.  You are putting the days of  Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe behind you!  You are ready to move on to Banana Republic, The Loft, J. Crew, Macy’s, and Nordstrom.


But when you get to these stores, you think, “Do I really want to pay $49 for a sweater?”  And slowly but surely, you lose the motivation to buy more quality items.  Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe served you in the past, why not now?


The prices at the stores where we shopped in college and grad school have much more accessible pricing.  Or do they?  Let me ask you, how long is the lifespan of a $13 top from Forever 21?  Maybe it will last 3-5 spins in the washing machine.


And don’t get me wrong.  I love Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe.  I still shop there and I’m 28.  They do have quality items.  But those items have a higher price tag.


So today in this blog post, I’m sharing my 5 tips build a quality wardrobe on your current budget.  But before I get into the steps, there is a very important task that you must do!


Create a shopping list!  You will spend so much less money in the long run if you know the exact items (or type of items) you need to buy before you walk into a store or browse online.  I like to create a list of essential items that I need in my wardrobe that work perfectly with my style.


I’ve actually written a blueprint for how to do this in my wardrobe guide.  It’s called 7 Steps to a Fabulous Wardrobe You Actually Love and you can get it sent straight to your inbox.


Remember, shopping list first, then you can follow these 5 tips.

5 Tips to Build a Quality Wardrobe on a Millennial's Budget

Create a budget for clothes

The first thing that I like to do before I think about updating my wardrobe is to create a budget for it.  As a millennial, it’s really important to start understanding your finances.  I like to use Personal Capital to keep track of my expenses and net worth.  I love that word.  Net worth.  It sounds so grown up!


Anyway, I typically use between 5-10% of my take home income to use as a monthly budget for shopping and specifically building my wardrobe.  And if I don’t use the full amount of my wardrobe budget for the month, I roll it over to the next month or add it to my savings.


Shop on extreme sales days

One of my favorite sales is the Banana Republic Factory Outlet Friends and Family Sale.  Savings on savings on savings!  So you can still shop at your new “more adult” stores.  The downside of shopping the sales is that with the low price tags you can convince yourself to buy things you don’t actually need.  That is why you have the shopping list I mentioned above.  You only buy the things on the list!

5 Tips to Build a Quality Wardrobe on a Millennial's Budget


Shop at discount stores

One of my favorite places to shop is TJ Maxx.  And they have really upgraded the design of their stores.  Everything (at least at my local TJ Maxx store) is organized thoughtfully and intentionally so you are just searching through all of the racks.


There are many other discount stores you can check out like DSW, Marshall’s, Ross, and Loehmann’s.  And most of these stores get new items every week!


Learn to buy quality at inexpensive shops

Like I mentioned before, I still occasionally shop at Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe.  But I’ve learned what to buy there.  I mostly like to buy items with quality fabrics and items that are typically solid colors.  I’ve been loving neutrals and pastels like blush, tan, pale blue, and of course white and black.


I also shop at ASOS, Boohoo, Top Shop, River Island, Urban Outfitters, and Target.


Use flash sale sites 

Flash sale sites are amazing.  I’m currently only using Hautelook and I love it!  It’s almost like an online version of TJ Maxx.  But every morning, they have new flash sales that only last a couple of days.


I got my favorite statement necklace that I’m sure you’ve seen me wear in almost every picture from Hautelook at an amazing price!  If you are interested in joining, feel free to use my referral link here.  When you refer people, and they buy something, you'll get $20 to spend!  Perfect!  But again, this could be very dangerous and tempting.  That is why I’m stressing the shopping list!  Only buy the stuff on your list!!!


So these are my tips.  You can definitely shop for quality clothes on a millennial’s budget if you follow these tips.  Want to continue the conversation, you are invited to join my Facebook group for professional millennial women who are interested in curating a wardrobe they love!