How much should you spend on clothes?


How much do you spend on clothes? And more importantly, how much can you afford to spend on clothes? We all wish we had unlimited shopping funds, but savvy shoppers and financial experts agree on one thing: there’s nothing fashionable about being neck-deep in debt.

The good news is that you can get good bargains and even splurge on that high quality leather bag that you know will last forever. You just need to set a good clothing budget. We help you do the math.

The first step, of course, is your annual income net of all taxes and other deductions by your company. That’s your take home pay.

The second step is to divide the amount by 10. This is your ceiling or maximum fashion budget the whole year. This mean you will spend roughly 10% of your income on clothes, shoes, and accessories. Feels good to look at that number, right?
But hold that thought. Since this is the maximum budget, you have to plot your expenses carefully. Do you live in a country where there are clear hot and cold (or even snowy) seasons? Then divide that figure into two, so you have roughly 50% for spring/summer and 50% for fall/winter. Ignore this budget if you live where the weather is more or less constant (lucky you!)

So you know how much you have per season. What are your big ticket items? A new coat or suit, or high quality leather handbag, or a nice piece of statement jewelry—it all depends on you. Just think of the foundation of your wardrobe: pieces you will use again and again and will probably be incorporated in several looks. This is ‘investment dressing’ and you need to allot your money accordingly.

Subtract the estimated cost of the big ticket items from your total clothing budget. How much is left? Now set a budget for the mid-priced items, things you’ll find along the year that will help you expand your wardrobe options and update it according to the trends of the year. Also include things like a classic white shirt, which is not that expensive but needs to be replaced regularly because of wear and tear.

And the last item to consider is the small-ticket, ‘maintenance’ wardrobe: underwear, accessories, and practical things like gym clothes.

Now that’s your budget! Write it down in a small notebook, and then document (over the year) all your wardrobe expenses. Treat it like a shopping journal. See where you tended to overspend, or give yourself . a pat on the back for the time you walked away from a dress you knew you couldn’t afford.

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