Dressing on a Budget

Opening the Doors to Healthier and Stress-Free Living

A Column by Alice Abbott-Moore,
Content Access/Information Delivery Teams, Ekstrom Library

One does not have to spend a lot of money to look decent. I know folks who only shop for labels, while others shop just to cover their bodies. For many people, clothes make the person. For others, clothes have nothing to do with the person. Studies have been conducted about the correlation of type of clothing in relation to success and value systems.

I have seen a lot of snappy dressers and not-so-snappy dressers. We all know people who always look sharp who have exquisite taste in clothing and accessories. And we all know people who do not seem to think too much about their clothing.

Growing up I wore a lot of hand-me-downs, since I am the youngest of five children. I received almost everything that would fit me. I adopted a flexible attitude toward clothing. During my late teens and early twenties, I was influenced by the styles of some of my relatives who shopped at fine stores and by the styles that I saw on Bardstown Road. During this time, clothing was merely different costumes for me, and my hair color and style changed almost weekly. The changes were fun for me and I am glad that I had that experience ... Ah, those were the days ...

As I have grown older, my collection of clothing has narrowed with not much variance and volume. My tastes have settled down and I like a wardrobe that is simpler to maintain. I have some fine pieces and not-so-fine pieces of clothing. Some of the pieces have come from fine shops while I found others in very inexpensive places.

Clothes shopping is not that important to me nor is it one of my favorite things to do. When I walk into a clothing store where I know I have to pay full price, I feel like a cat in a room full of rockers. This is probably due to the fact that I don’t like to spend the money. I am a GOAB—Girl On A Budget. I have to really need something in order to enter a boutique or department store and pay full price. Interestingly enough, I don’t seem to mind shopping as much if there are sale items. Since I am a GOAB, let me share some shopping tips with you.

Nice clothing doesn’t have to come from expensive stores. While I do not recommend buying cheaply made or used shoes, buying less expensive or used clothing will not hurt you. In fact, one can find identical pieces of clothing in less prestigious stores. It all depends where the manufacturer has distributed the items to be sold.

Shopping for clothing in bargain, consignment, department, seconds, and thrift stores can be challenging, fun and rewarding. To me, seeing what neat pieces I can find is like a game. A few years ago when a friend asked me to sing at her wedding, I needed a new outfit. I started to look in thrift stores. At the very first store I found a neat royal blue dress with a matching jacket, dressy enough for the wedding, and a perfect fit. I bought it for $2.95, had it cleaned and pressed for $11.00 and was all set for the wedding. The day of the wedding I went to the church. When the bridesmaids came in they had on the same dress but in a different color—purple. The fabric was the same and even had the same print design. The only differences were that their dresses were tea length (mine was street length), theirs did not come with jackets and they paid a whole lot more.

When shopping in bargain, consignment, department, seconds, and thrift stores:

Louisville has a lot of consignment and discount places. Look in the Yellow Pages and you will find many stores to choose from. By shopping wisely, you can be on a budget and still look good.