Quick Fashion Tip: Spend to Your Weakness

Quick Fashion Tip: Spend to Your Weakness

There are a few shopping rules that I swear by:

1.  Calculate the cost-per-wear.

2.  If you know good clothing when you see it, you can find it anywhere.

3.  Spend to your weakness.

I’d like to unpack that last (brilliant) piece of advice, because it’s the most recently acquired and least well-known of my trio.  The idea is that you plan on spending more money on your weak spots.  Allocate a little extra in your clothing budget for whatever part of your body is hard to fit, or that you’re self-conscious about.

I’m tall, and my arms are so long that my junior high nickname was Neanderthal Woman.  (I can’t make this stuff up.)   Tall pants are pretty easy to come by these days, but tall shirts are hard to find and rarely on sale.  But I really like it when my long sleeves make it all the way to my wrists, so I plan on spending a little extra to buy “tall” tops.  (If you need any, I recommend Banana Republic and Gap.)

And since I have long feet to match my long legs, shoe shopping can be a nightmare.  I’m jealous of you women who can run into DSW, grab a pair of heels off the sale rack, and go.  I am not one of you.  Thank goodness for zappos.com!  They carry thousands of styles in every conceivable style and width and deliver them to your door overnight.  Since I can’t usually find shoes that fit in the store, let alone on the sale rack, I plan on spending a little more on shoes than some of you do.  (The upside is that since shoe shopping is so difficult, I’m never tempted to blow my clothing budget on cute shoes!)

Sometimes I’ll get lucky–I’ll find some sale tees that run long in the arms, or find size 12 boots at Target.com (!!).  But generally, I’ve given myself permission to spend more money in the areas that give me trouble.

Do you spend to your weakness?  What do you give yourself permission to spend a little extra on?

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  1. I have recently learned that splurging on quality shoes is worth it. They last longer, they are more comfortable, and I end up spending less $$$ in the long run because I’m not buying 5 pairs of cheap shoes that end up getting donated instead of 1 pair of quality shoes that will last for years.

    My other splurge would be cashmere sweaters – so far I’ve only gotten the cheap-o ones they sell at Kohl’s at Christmas, but I love the way they feel (so soft) and I love the way I feel in them. I think it’s worth it, especially if you take care of them.

    • Good grief – I wrote this comment and it never showed up (the website was acting strange), so I came back later in the day and wrote the comment that you see below. And now I come back to see what other’s have said and I see that I look like a comment hog! 😉 Sorry about that!

  2. I’ve only recently come around to the idea of spending more on shoes. I realized that if I buy one or two pairs of quality shoes that will last for years, are comfortable and I can wear on a regualar basis, I’m actually saving money. Instead of spending money on five pairs of shoes that will end up in the donation box because they hurt or they are falling apart, I can spend more money up front and rest in knowing that it’s money well spent.

    Another clothing area where I don’t mind splurging is in the undergarment department. I do wait until my favorite store has a sale before I shop, but I’ve found that a few well-made pieces will last a long time and there’s nothing like quality support {ahem} to give you an instant boost. No pun intended. I actually stand straighter when I’m wearing a bra that makes me feel good. My mother goes through cheap undergarments on a regular basis because the prices at speciality stores make her gag, but I guarentee that I’ve saved money by buying fewer quality items and taking care of them.

    • Elise says:

      I’m right there with your mother. I know I should just spend the money and get it over with, especially as a nursing mother, but one item costs more than I spend on food in a month! Ugh!

    • Anne says:

      Yes, and yes. For me, shoe shopping and bra shopping have a major thing in common: I HATE shopping for both of them, so I want whatever I buy to fit well and last for a long time 🙂

  3. Heather says:

    Let’s just say that I’m practically Joan Holloway’s little sister. As soon as I’m done nursing and my size stabilizes I’ll be pouring a lot of money into proper-fitting undergarments. Nursing tanks paired with shrugs are keeping me sane and pretty right now! I recommend Glamour Mom, and they carry a line for busty-for-your-frame women.

  4. Joi says:

    I’m working on truly organizing my closet and clothes-buying system. For a long time I’ve had a $10-rule, not buying any clothing/accessory over $10.00, with almost no exception. I end up waiting for the very best sales, going to wholesalers, etc. I’ve gotten some great deals on some great stuff, but I sometimes I feel like I just have a big pile of unorganized stuff that I have to make work. I’ve never heard the tip on spending to your weakness, but it makes much sense! I think good bras are something worth splurging on- if you can’t find them on sale. 🙂

    PS: my six-feet-tall aunt’s nickname in high school was Amazon. And I have a good friend who’s almost that tall and wears a 12 shoe. I thought I had it bad enough in a size 10. She shopped Payless a lot, and online, too.

  5. Karianna @ Caffeinated Catholic Mama says:

    I am so happy to meet/ hear about other size 12 shoe wearing ladies!! (Drag Queens also understand the pain as well of finding ladies shoes above size 10, from what I’ve heard! Pun not intended.)

    I will spend $$ on shoes and undergarments, although I am quicker to buy shoes rather than bras and I am in dire need of a few more bras. DD2 weaned about 3 months ago and I have ONE non-nursing bra that I’ve probably worn past it’s usefulness.

    They are just so expensive!

    I was called Wolfie in school. Long, Hairy arms and Long Legs. I blame the Neandertal line in my Dad’s German genes. LOL!

  6. Hannah says:

    That is GENIUS!

    My main issue is that I am short, and that even for my height I have short legs. So sometimes even “Short” or “petite pants” are too long, and sometimes “petite” pants just aren’t cute. So I decided that it’s best to just find pants that fit me well in the other areas and pay to have them hemmed. It’s worth it to save myself hours of searching and tons of frustration.


  7. Oh, I can totally identify with this. I allow myself to spend extra on shoes and tops. I’m very tall and I have big, wide feet…and it’s hard to find tops with a proper arm length..and shoes, well, I wear Teva sandals most of the time, because I can’t find anything cute that fits!!! Oh, and tops? Lots of t-shirts or short-sleeved blouses 🙂 🙂 I will probably start making clothes for myself again!!! Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather 🙂

    • Anne says:

      You and me both, Heather! I love summers–sandals are so much more forgiving when it comes to getting the fit right! And I have tons of 3/4 sleeve blouses–it never occurred to me that that was a really smart way to get the sleeve length right!

  8. Alicia Jaybird says:

    I live by this rule across my budget, but haven’t known how to put it into words. I anticipate spending more in areas that I know I’ll end up splurging on anyway- groceries (I buy too many fancy treats- gourmet olive oil, wild-caught salmon, yum!), gas for weekend road trips, and the very occasional clothing purchase. Then I save on things I care less about, where lower quality or just less spending is fine and dandy. I will have to adapt this advice specifically for my clothing purchases- blouses are fairly easy, but work pants and skirts usually need a little tailoring that I’m often too cheap to deal with.

  9. Anne says:

    Alicia, I love the way you’re spending to your weakness (or maybe, more like indifference) across all areas of your budget! We do this at my house, too, now that you mention it. My husband and I are really not “car people” so our cars are old and not too pretty. But we love to travel, and not spending that money on our cars lets us pad our vacation budget.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  11. Sara says:

    I happened across this post today and have to agree – I, too, have to buy tall shirts. The first time I tried one on I thought, “This is how shirts are supposed to fit!” I shop Banana Republic, GAP, Eddie Bauer, and J Crew. Tall winter coats from J Crew are amazing (and last forever!). I’ve found a shoe brand that I love and can buy confidently online–love my (size 11.5) Frye shoes and boots, but it does make me gasp a bit when I buy them – buying quality only hurts once, right?

      • Sara says:

        Actually, I can wear an 11 in Fryes! They run a little big, and the 11 fits me perfectly. I love their heels and sandals, too. For me, it’s just nice to know that this brand fits me, so I can order online with confidence.

  12. Casey says:

    You might try Long Tall Sally. Most of their clothes are intended for women over 6 feet tall, and they also carry shoes in sizes over 10. They have a few stores in more northerly cities. They are a British company that bought out Tall Girl (if you ever shopped at Tall Girl).

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