How To Build A Long Term Wardrobe

There comes a phase in everyone's life when super inexpensive clothes from the mall no longer seem to cut it. Sure, it's nice to score $10 skinny jeans. But when they stretch out and fall apart a week later it can leave you pining away for a long lasting wardrobe.

This has happened to me more than I'd like to admit over the past, say, 10 years. I love a bargain, and will hit up the mall for said $10 skinny jeans. And for a few weeks I'll feel like I have the most amazing, fully-stocked wardrobe. Then a month later I inevitably find myself back in the mall to replace all the shirts that didn't hold up in the wash, and the jeans that lost their shape.

And I know I'm not the only one who does this. I think we get used to buying cheaper clothes when we're in high school, and then stick with that trend well into adulthood. Even if we can afford something of higher quality, it doesn't necessarily occur to us to go into "grown up" stores where things tend to be of a bit better quality.

If you're worried about not having the money or the time to build a better a lasting wardrobe, I'm here to squash the myth that it has to be either of those things. In the past few years I've tried to cast aside my habit of buying disposable clothes, and instead have been focusing on building a lasting wardrobe. Here are some key tricks I've picked up along the way.

1. Figure Out What You like

So you've decided enough is enough with the throw-away clothes. Now's the time to start building your awesome, timeless, lasting wardrobe. But what do you even want? If you have a definitive style, then go forth and do your thing. If not, it's going to take a little bit of research. Start collecting images on a vision board, or use Pinterest, so you can start to see what styles you gravitate towards. Once you know, you'll have an easier time tracking down key pieces when you're out shopping.

2. Go For Quality Instead of Quantity

Two pairs of jeans that fit you perfectly are way better than 10 that itch and stretch and fall apart. It may hurt in the moment (well-made jeans can be pricey), but dropping cash for something of quality saves you money in the long run.

3. Invest In Timeless Pieces

Remember when glittery slogan tees were a thing? That was clearly such a fad, and yet we all stocked up like there was no tomorrow. In fact, I bet you have a few shirts in the back of your closet with "Livin' For The Weekend" bejeweled across the front. It just goes to show that some things come into style, only to go out hard and never be seen again.

It's true that it can be tough to recognize what's just a fad, especially since all trends seem to eventually come full circle (yes, slogan tees are back again... just not the bejeweled kind). So when it comes to fads, go ahead and participate, but don't go overboard. Instead, spend your money on clothes that stand the test of time, such as classic sweaters or leather boots.

4. Hit Up Thrift Stores

You don't have to be loaded to start building a lasting wardrobe. If money is an issue, why not try a thrift store? There will be a little more searching involved, but the end result will be well worth it. Just make sure you follow some guidelines for thrift shopping.

5. Stick To A Color Theme

A lasting wardrobe is a cohesive wardrobe — where each piece easily pairs with another. To get this, you're going to want to buy things within the same color family. I personally have a sort of olive green, cranberry, navy blue thing going on. As a bonus, my earth tone obsession makes getting dressed so easy because I know everything I own goes together.

6. Don't Stray Too Far From What You Like

Many people, when talking about building a lasting wardrobe, point out how everyone should own a "crisp white shirt" or a "little black dress." And yet how many people actually wear these things? If these more classic pieces aren't your thing, don't force yourself to get them in the name of a "better wardrobe." You can have all the nice things in the world, but if you're not going to wear them then there's simply no point.

7. Get Yourself A Good Coat

If you live somewhere with cold weather, then you know the importance of a good coat. And since it goes on over top of your outfit, you should rock something that feels like "you" just as much as the rest of your wardrobe. Your coat should obviously keep you warm, but also fit in cohesively with the rest of your wardrobe theme. My coat is (surprise!) navy blue.

Building a lasting wardrobe takes a little bit of time and effort, but the benefits of a quality and cohesive wardrobe are well worth it.

Images: Verne Ho/Unsplash; Pexels (7)