Buy quality clothing to get FI

Buy quality clothing to be frugal for financial independence
My go-to cool weather outfit on the farm. Fleece shirt with 1/4 zip and fleece pants.

What goes into choosing a shirt in the morning?

I own about 50 shirts but I only regularly wear about 20 of them. So 30 just sit in my closet. They are all in good shape, close to new condition. But they all have something not quite right with them. So I wear my favorite shirts and the rest just hang there. It took me quite awhile for me to figure out that I have a long torso relative to my arm length. This means when I buy shirts I have to pay attention that they are long enough, or they just come untucked when I wear them. I also figured out that when I wear T-shirts I like the ones that are loose fitting. I am a large but different brands make larges at different sizes. So some fit a bit tighter than others. Those tight ones stay in the drawer because when I pick out a shirt I choose the ones that feel good. Now I buy XL depending on the brand.

I like high quality socks

I grew up in the era where white tube socks were cheap and everyone wore them. Later I migrated to darker poly-cotton socks and found a brand that was pretty good. But then I found Lorpen socks. Lorpen makes a bunch of different types with different materials like merino wool and coolmax, and they are not cheap. They have reinforced areas and feel solid. They also make socks that are anti-odor that are great for travel or camping. When I put them on I can’t go back to the thin cotton-poly socks. Lorpen socks last a long time. Now my other socks just sit in the back of the drawer.

Who cares about what shirts or socks Mr. Wheat wears?

Good question. My point is not to convince you to buy long shirts or Lorpen socks. My point is that it’s worth figuring out what works for you, and then putting some thought and effort into a wardrobe that you like to wear. Just because a piece of clothing is a good deal, doesn’t mean it works for you.

5 Strategies for getting value for your $ in clothing:

1. Spend some time shopping, from your favorite couch: Amazon has become the 800 pound gorilla of commerce for a reason. You can search a product and sort for the highest reviews. It’s like surveying a hundred people who have tested your product. I rarely buy a product with less than 4 star rating. And I actually read some of the ratings, it’s worth your time. You don’t have to buy from Amazon, I actually buy a fair amount of clothes from Sierra Trading Post.

2. Try it out: I will buy three different types of socks and try them out. If I like them after a week or so (and a wash) then I’ll order more. I am paying shipping twice, but in return I am getting a product I have tried and liked.

3. Return it if it isn’t right: If it isn’t right don’t be in denial. I have been guilty of this and have kept products that weren’t right for me. I have gotten much better at ordering from companies that have easy return policies, and when I try it out at home and it doesn’t work, I ship it back. Following strategy #1 greatly reduces returns. I don’t return after a wash though, and I don’t take the tags off until I know it works for me.

4. Look at what you have and ask yourself why you like certain items. I gave examples of why I like certain shirts or socks above. I have a 15 year old Moonstone Gore-tex jacket. Yes 15 years old. I paid alot for it at the time. I like it because it is light weight and really well designed. When I am cold I can snap the powder skirt and increase my temp a few degrees. The pockets have fleece liners. The armpits have well designed pit zips. There are multiple pockets. The hood fits perfectly. I have been looking for a replacement but I can’t find one that has everything I want (that isn’t in a ridiculous color). If I find one that I think is well made I’ll buy it even if it it’s expensive. And if I try it on and it’s not right, I’ll ship it back with the tags still on it.

5. Just because something is a good deal doesn’t mean it’s right for you. See a deal on Slickdeals for a $4.00 dress shirt for work? Fantastic, except if it’s just going to sit in your closet while you keep wearing your favorites. I have been guilty of this more than I’d like to admit.

I would love to go into my closets and drawers and turn in all my lightly used clothing for the cash I spent. Instead it will go to Goodwill. That is, once I accept the Sunk Cost Fallacy. I need to look at all my nice clothes that aren’t quite right a bit longer. Buying clothes to give to Goodwill is not a good strategy to get FI, but at least I’ll be helping someone else get there.

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