Red Paisley Dress || How Much Do You Pay For Clothes?

How much do you pay for clothes?  Is this something we can all talk about without judgement? I was chatting with one of my sisters a few weeks ago about what we wore and where we shopped in high school.  We laughed about Wet Seal “pleather” pants and my plaid 5.7.9. skirts.  I also told her how I still remember this one shirt that my good friend bought for back to school from Guess that cost $72.  I remember thinking it was such an exorbitant amount of money… so much so that I can recall exactly what it looked like and how much it cost 15 years later.  My sister responded that she still wouldn’t pay $72 for a shirt, which kind of surprised me. Not because it isn’t a lot of money, but because she has a great job, drives a nice car, and isn’t frugal about much.  Clothing, though, is one of those things for her. I’m convinced that everyone has things they don’t mind spending on and the things that they will always be frugal about, no matter how much money they make or how great their disposable income. For me, I will always spend a little more for healthy, organic food (my dad’s jaw would drop if he knew how much I pay per pound for Organic Step 4 chicken from Whole Foods), but I despise paying for parking!  I love staying at boutique hotels when we travel, but I would never pay for a first class seat on a plane and hate paying baggage fees. It feels like such a waste of money, right?!  So how much do I pay for clothes?

I’m all over the map.  Last week I styled a two day photo shoot (third and final day happening today!).  On the first day I wore a long black t-shirt dress from Target that I adore. When someone complimented it I was so excited to say that it’s from Target and such an affordable price. The next day I wore another favorite dress, this time from Apiece Apart.  It was definitely something that I thought about a lot before buying. I can wear it throughout my pregnancy because it’s so voluminous and I can also breastfeed in it because of the three buttons in the front at the top.  It’s also super lightweight which means I will get tons of use out of it during a Texas summer and the print is such that if it ends up with a ketchup smudge from my favorite three year old dirty fingers, all is not lost.  Plus, the founders and designers are actually from Texas and I love knowing that I’m supporting a small, local-ish brand.  Yet, it’s a totally different price point and I felt like I had to justify it almost apologetically every time someone asked where it was from. Weird, right? So I’m curious, what do you pay for clothes? Do you only shop low or high? Or a mix? More for a special occasion? It’s funny because I actually hate shelling out money for special occasions but will splurge for something that I know I can wear and feel great in every day for years to come. (Speaking of smaller designers, this necklace is from my friend Natalie, a mama who makes jewelry out of her home in San Diego and I just adore every piece.)

This particular look falls somewhere in the middle as far as price point goes. It’s mostly from Madewell with these boots that I have from this Coach campaign that we did almost four years ago.

So… how much do you pay for clothes?

Photography by Katie Jameson

Dress, Madewell || Hat, Madewell (Similar + Similar) || Necklace, Natalie Borton || Jean Jacket, Madewell (Similar) || Boots, Coach (Similar)

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  1. Katie Johnson

    04/24/2017

    Ha! I’ve got clothing on my mind this week, so perfect timing. Honestly, I struggle with clothing costs. I’m finding that no matter what price point I purchase the quality just isn’t there anymore. And maybe it’s because I do live on a budget, and like you, I spend quite a bit on quality food/health items, which is fine by me, I can’t necessarily justify spending big dollars on clothing too.

    I do find I will spend more on fall/winter wardrobe than I will for spring/summer. That Texas heat kills everything in my experience.
    Also, I do not consider shoes in the clothing category. Those I can justify spending on or I just find more shoes that I like rather than clothing.

    If you ever want to do a local post on where to shop in Austin, personally, I would love it. i really do need to make some purchases and am trying to do more boutique shopping.

    Love this post!

    • Jen Pinkston

      04/25/2017

      I love the idea of a where to shop in Austin post! We’ll look at the calendar and see where we can sneak it in 🙂 It’s been so interesting to hear so many people say that they too prioritize healthier groceries. It makes me so happy! I feel like in some circles our grocery budget sounds exorbitant but I never regret quality food!

  2. clothing is something i spend a little more on for pieces that (1) fit me perfectly and (2) go with the rest of my wardrobe. i keep my closet down to about 40 pieces (excluding running gear) so each one requires a bit of a vetting process before i click ‘purchase’. most everything’s from madewell, though 😉 it’s just so easy to stick with one brand when it all fits right and goes together!

    • Jen Pinkston

      04/25/2017

      I’m so into the capsule wardrobe idea. It’s not something that I have made a point to stick to but will probably go back to in a loose way after the babe comes. (Although I’m probably doing it now without even realizing it since I don’t have a ton of pregnancy clothes.) It definitely makes getting dressed in the morning easier and was probably what originally got me to be more conscious about how I shopped.

  3. I think I had those same Wet Seal pleather pants! In red! Those were the days 🙂 I’m with you on splurging for good food and it’s always one of the biggest parts of our budget. I never used to spend much on clothing, but after learning more about labor practices and enviro issues from some clothing production I do now spend a little more on individual pieces that I feel good about. I just buy fewer pieces now to not break the bank. You look glowy and gorgeous, and I love that tassel necklace!

    • Jen Pinkston

      04/25/2017

      Couldn’t agree more. I’m definitely a ‘fewer better’ person when it comes to shopping. I’ve also been playing around with a Rent the Runway subscription because of how much more environmentally friendly it seems. Can you imagine if everyone was just renting their clothes in 10 years?!

  4. Jen…you put the P in pregnancy for Pretty xx

  5. Margaret

    04/24/2017

    Love this conversation! My main rule is only buy something if I LOVE it, no matter the price. I’m more on the frugal end…zara, target but will splurge on a few great things that are seasonless and very well made.

    • Jen Pinkston

      04/25/2017

      Agreed! I think it’s all about the balance. I imagine that even people with six figure annual wardrobe budgets still have Target hanging in their closets too!

  6. Christie

    04/24/2017

    I tend to focus more on the shape/fit/fabric/quality of an item rather than how much it costs. Unfortunately all of those boxes are usually ticked at a higher price point!

    I’ll also spend more money on items that need to be hard wearing (like jackets and shoes/boots).

    I live in Australia so the brands I shop at tend to be local to this country; Gorman, Country Road, Seed Heritage, Life With Bird and so on. Sometimes I’ll still buy internationally (jeans from Madewell, loafers from Everlane) for quality items.

    • Jen Pinkston

      04/25/2017

      We were in Australia a few years ago and there are so many beautiful local brands! I definitely feel like as I get older, I pay so much more attention to fabric and construction. Some cheapy fabrics make my skin crawl!

  7. Oh, I’m really curious to read the responses to this. I think lately I’ve had the urge to clear out my closet and buy clothes that will last longer and less “fast fashion”. A dress less than $100 feels like a score – I generally will spend between $138 (I feel like this is the magic dress cost at Madewell/Anthropologie) and maybe up to $158 if its a dress I really like. I also like to think of it as a full outfit 🙂

    • Jen Pinkston

      04/25/2017

      I agree. If I love it and need it and I feel like I will wear it a ton and for years to come, I can almost always justify it under $175. Once you get into the $200s it’s a harder sell!

  8. So gorgeous, Jen!! I love how you styled the necklace and you are absolutely radiant with that bump! As far as spending goes, I’ve started to get more comfortable spending more on clothing and just buying less overall. For example, I almost always invest in denim because quality denim lasts forever, as well as other timeless pieces that will work even as my style evolves inevitably over time. Also, I definitely am always willing to pay up for better food! But never for parking, haha.

    • Jen Pinkston

      04/25/2017

      Totally agree about the denim. With the exception of a pair of Old Navy cropped jeans that I found years ago, cheap denim is almost never good and jeans feel worthwhile of the investment!

  9. Great topic! I tend to splurge on clothes because I don’t shop very often (maybe twice a year, tops). I wear clothes until they die a hard death so I can justify spending more because quality is extremely important to me (although just because it’s expensive doesn’t mean it’s quality!) I still wear a pair of cropped denim pants (we called them capri pants back in the day lol) that I bought in 2003!

    I often get clothing store gift cards for my birthday and Christmas so I tend to go once in the spring and once in the winter and just shop to my heart’s content. I love fashion and I’m fascinated with trends but I have my own style (whimsical romance in public & cabin cozy at home, plus business casual at work) & once I found what worked for my body & the way I move I rarely deviate from that, so fast fashion trends don’t really mean much to me.