“Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.”
~Henry David Thoreau
I have a confession to make: I’ve never bought clothes at a thrift store.
I have browsed the selection to see what sorts of “treasures” I could find but came out empty-handed each time. Even though I firmly believe in living a minimalist and simple lifestyle, I diverge from the frugality gurus when it comes to clothing and fashion.
The experts want us to believe that secondhand stores are the best option for fashion on a budget. It is true that used clothes will cover our bodies just as well as a brand new pair of designer jeans, and for a lot less money, but should cost always be the only consideration?
“Who cares about the clothes I wear? What matters is what’s on the inside.”
Philosophically, the content of our character is the only thing that matters. Our clothes, the cars we drive or the house in which we live don’t define who we are as a person, yet in today’s society, appearances do matter. How we dress influences our ability to attract a mate, find a great career or meet new people. Ninety-three percent of how you are perceived during the first seven seconds of meeting a person is based on appearance. Are you sending the right signals?
Clothes are more than just functional pieces of fabric meant to cover our jiggly bits. They are an outward reflection of how we perceive ourselves on the inside. Shy people wear plain clothes so they won’t stand out in a crowd. People who are insecure about their weight wear clothes to hide the extra pounds. Punks wear clothes that represent their frustration with the mainstream. Our personal identity is directly expressed through the clothes we wear, so while our clothes may not define who we are as a person, we do communicate who we are through our style of dress.
And clothes aren’t just about style or creating an image. Have you ever noticed how good you feel after a haircut? Your confidence is lifted and you feel better about how you look. Instead of feeling insecure or uncomfortable about your appearance, you feel sexy and strong. Clothing has the same power. A stylish outfit can boost your self-esteem and make you feel bold. You may even find yourself asking out that cute girl you’ve been checking out for the last couple of weeks.
All this isn’t to say that we need a closet full of designer clothes. Having a few key articles of quality clothing is far superior to owning a bunch of Stuff you don’t wear. A wardrobe that you can mix and match to create different outfits is better than a different outfit for each occasion. It is about getting the best value for your money, which means buying clothes that you will wear often and regularly.
Frugality is never about the money. It is about finding the best value. A carefully picked wardrobe can do wonders to improve your self-esteem and open doors to new opportunities in your career and love-life. Money spent on quality clothing in timeless styles that will raise your self-esteem is money well-spent, at any price.