Making the Most of Your Clothing Cash

By Pam Phillippe

Shopping for clothes can be fun, but it can also be a bewildering experience. There are dozens of different decisions to make.

Think of your closet as a suitcase perfectly packed for adventure – light yet prepared for anything, filled only with clothes that make you look and feel great. To make sure your wardrobe works, follow these steps:

Step 1: Assess…Do your clothes match your life? Think about what you do, where you go, where you work, and what activities you like to do. Do you need more dressy clothes, or more sporty clothes?

Step 2: Critique … Take all your clothes out of your closet and try each piece on. Recycle the clothes that no longer fit your body or your life.

Step 3: Renew…Now, what’s missing? Make a list of what you need and include notes to remind yourself of the details (top must go with blue pants and green skirt).

Step 4: Take Stock…of the items in your closet that you plan to keep. Your new purchases should go with, and add to, what you already have. If you’re buying an item to go specifically with something you already have, take it with you when you shop. That way you’ll be sure it’s right. Also bring the kind of shoes you’ll be wearing. It’s hard to judge a prom dress while wearing your favorite sneakers.

You can learn to “dress for less”, but “dressing for less” requires time and thought. In the 4-H Clothing Selection project, you learn to make the most of the clothing that you have. You will also prevent careless and unplanned, impulsive buying.

To complete a Clothing Selection Project you should choose one level of the Clothing Selection curriculum series, Clothing Decisions. Discovering Choice, for ages 11 – 13, will help you practice the basics of clothing selection as you think about size, color, sources and the “hows” of smart shopping.

Managing Choices will lead you through the details of smart shopping including advertising, wants verses needs, the true value of a clothing item and dealing with undesirable purchases. Managing Choices is designed for members 14 to 18 years old. Check with your 4-H office for project book availability.

Members who wish to participate in the Clothing Selection divisions in a County Fashion Revue or the State 4-H Congress Fashion Revue should work with their county 4-H staff to complete requirements.

Other activities in the Clothing Selection project include:

Keeping Your Clothing Looking Great

Embellishing Purchased Clothing

Repurposing Thrift-store Clothing

Sources:
Hackler, Nadine., Stretching Your Clothing Dollar and 4-H Clothing Selection. University of Florida, IFAS.
Dedic, Bette J., Fashion Magic: Wardrobe Planning. University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture.
Clothing Decisions: Managing Choice. 4-H Cooperative Curriculum System.  www.n4hccs.org

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