One of my FAVORITE things in life is fashion. I love different ways people can wear the same shirt and the feeling of freshly purchased clothing making it's first debut! But there is one thing I don't like about fashion: in the words of CoCo Chanel herself, "Fashion was made to go out of fashion." Which means not only is it can be mucho expensive, but the return on your investment only lasts a season.
So, how is a fashionista to balance her love for fresh looks and the latest trends with the realities of a limited wallet? With the rule of 70/30.
What is the rule of 70/30?
The rule of 70/30 states: for men and women alike, 70% of your wardrobe should be classic and 30% should be trending.
That means timeless, understated, easy-to-pair, flattering pieces that you can easily mix and match and even wear multiple times a week without others knowing. These pieces are usually solid colors or a delicate stripe or polka-dot. Or they can be textured fabrics like corduroy or velvet and they are by and large one color fabrics and they are NOT heavily branded - if they're branded at all.
Why you should live and die (fashionably speaking) by 70/30:
This approach saves you time and money by getting you through multiple life stages and weekly events with the same wardrobe! Let's face it: between work clothes, going out clothes, weekend clothes, workout clothes, there's a lot to keep up with! 70/30 ensures that no matter what you're doing, or where you're going you can feel confident and put together. 70/30 also ensures that you don't have to throw out your entire wardrobe every two years with changing trends.
How you put 70/30 into practice:
Assess:Take some time to asses your wardrobe - what is your current % classic and % trending?
Determine:Once you've assessed your wardrobe determine your style! Are you a classic beauty, or urban chic? Is your style bohemian or preppy, euro?
Strategize: Based upon your style here's how you should divide your 70/30:
1. Euro: You're going to want to allocate your 30% to jackets and shoes and your 70% to jeans, tanks and Ts. An angular leather jacket will be a GREAT compliment to those dessert boots you've been eyeing! As far as your T's, tanks and jeans get them from Forever 21, Zara and TJ Maxx and no one will know the difference.
2. Hipster: I love me a hipster but unless you're working retail or at a café it can be hard to make this wardrobe extend into every area of your life. BUT have no fear the rule of 30-70 still applies. 30% (your trending budget) can go a long way at thrift stores and vintage shops for those 80’s cut-offs you just can’t pass up. And while Urban Outfitters is great - your sole purpose in shopping there should either be to head STRAIGHT to the clearance section, or, to case the joint for pieces and outfits that you want to replicate at Salvation Army or Goodwill. The 70% or your classic budget should be spent on shoes, base layers like skinny jeans or solid dresses/skirts/tops for layering.
3. Artsy: You may think that NOTHING you can wear is classic because you have a flair for mixing and matching and nothing can define you - and while your style is unique and wonderful you can still benefit from a revolving group of old standards. Of course you'll have some pieces that set you apart from the rest but the 30% of your budget should be dedicated to accessories and vintage pieces and/or priceless finds while 70% is dedicated to solids/tweeds/simple paterns that mix and match easily.
4. Preppy: For you the challenge is less to be classic and more to be reasonable where you buy these classic pieces from and to remember that wearing adult sized versions of what you wore on your first day to kindergarten just shows a lack of creativity! So truly devote 30% of your budget to trending pieces, perhaps a multi-colored tweed or take a break from your boat shoes and splurge on something other than Sperrys. If you're looking for inspiration J.Crew is famous for Preppy with a lemon twist.
5. Athletic: One of my BIGGEST rules in fashion is do NOT leave the house in yoga pants. A sleek athletic look has structure, form fitting pieces with mostly solid colors. Some in bright oranges or greens are fine but let's relegate that to the 30%. Tight fitting cardigans, sporty sneakers and shorts or jackets can totally create a sleek classic athletic look without always looking like you came from the gym.
Take Action: Based upon your ratio in your own closet, you'll need to do 3 things:
- It will be easier (and more frugal) to start by purging your wardrobe of a myriad of outdated "trending" items ie taking your Zebra stripped leggings, and arsenal of hot pink sweaters to Goodwill.
- You need to allocate (that's right!) a percentage of your income to getting new clothes! How fun :) We suggest 5% of your monthly budget.
- Every month buy clothes with 70/30 in mind. You won't change your wardrobe overnight but knowing what you need to balance your wardrobe will help you through the retail quagmire and keep you looking good.
How do you get the most fashionable dollar for your frugal cents?