10 Years Younger stylist shares five wardrobe hacks to save you money

Gemma Sheppard, fashion stylist on 10 Years Younger in 10 days suggests people 'salute' trends rather than buy into them.
Gemma Sheppard, fashion stylist on 10 Years Younger in 10 days suggests people 'salute' trends rather than buy into them. Photo credit: Supplied.

Many of us love the idea of a shopping spree, but those wanting to save money should avoid buying into the latest trends, a celebrity fashion stylist says.

According to the 2019 Statistics New Zealand household expenditure survey, Kiwi households spend an average of $36.70 per week on clothing and shoes - that's over $1900 each year. And for some of us, keeping our wardrobe up-to-date costs a lot more than that.

Gemma Sheppard, resident fashion expert on the TV show 10 years younger in 10 days, told Newshub setting a monthly clothing budget can help, as it means people are less likely to buy something on impulse.

"If you have a budget, you'll give priority to important items... it helps you save money in the long run because you aren’t tempted to pop that feathery but hideously expensive top in your shopping bag," Sheppard said.

As wardrobes can be expensive to maintain, Newshub asked Sheppard to share five ways people can save money on this recurring expense.

1. Focus on you - not latest trends 

According to Sheppard, the biggest fashion mistake people make is buying something just because they've seen it on a celebrity or influencer, without thinking about whether it suits their personal style - or lifestyle.

"Instead of focusing on total trends, you're best to 'salute' trends," Sheppard says.

For example, if 'ditzy floral' is in, don't buy a whole outfit - just buy an accessory.

"Buy a scarf to tie to your bag or around your neck. It will instantly refresh your look and rather than being a slave to the trend, you are giving a nod to it," Sheppard added. 

2. Invest in quality, not quantity  

It's tempting to shop only at fast fashion retailers, or when something is cheap and on-sale. But stocking up on cheaper clothing can ultimately cost more.

"That white T-shirt might seem like a bargain but if you have to replace it after every two washes it will work out expensive," Sheppard said.

3. Check the care label before buying

It's useful to check the care label, as it shows what the item might cost to maintain.

For example, if something is 'dryclean only', it may be worth considering a different fabric, or at least factoring in this cost along with the price.

4. Borrow or rent clothes for special occasions

When invited to a wedding or party, it's tempting to spend money on a new outfit.

Sheppard suggests asking friends if they have something suitable first - or renting something instead.

5. Shop your wardrobe first

Similar to writing a grocery list, before buying clothes Sheppard suggests people do a quick stock-take of their own wardrobe first, so they know what they need to buy.

"[That means] you don’t end up buying anything on a whim that goes with absolutely nothing in the rest of your wardrobe," Sheppard said.

As online shopping is growing at a rapid pace, many websites now offer a greater selection than what's available at retail stores. But as clothing can't be tried on, it's important to check the size measurements first - and how the fit is described.

"Take note of the descriptive words the brands have used when describing the styles... loose, relaxed fit, fitted, A-line [or] boxy," Sheppard suggests. 

For those wanting to save money while also reducing landfill and helping a good cause, shopping at second-hand shops and hospice shops is another option.

Michelle Henderson, retail manager of Hospice Mt Eden, said the shop often has designer brands at reduced prices. For those on a limited budget, there's also a half-price rack.

"[For example] we had a Trelise Cooper jacket that was nearly brand new...it had a beautiful beaded heart, three-quarter sleeves and a pleated sleeve end... it went for $200, Henderson said.

Clothing is a need - it's a cost we can't avoid. Having a budget can help reduce impulse buys, remembering that clothing is something that decreases, rather than increases in value.