4.  Choose Fashions that Last

I confess, I’ve been guilty of purchasing certain items that had a very short closet life. I learned the hard way that they call certain pieces — like your little black dress — “classics” for a reason. Classics stay classy for a long time. Invest in good fad-proof clothing instead of putting money down on those new zebra print pants with polka dot pockets. Here are some wardrobe staples to consider: dark wash jeans, solid color cardigans, fun ballet flats, slim black pants, and a chic trench coat or peacoat.

5. Shop off Season

If you would like a new winter wardrobe, wait until the end-of-winter sale to stock up on new sweaters. That’s when you’ll find the best deals both in-store and online. Outlet malls are especially good places for end-of-season sales. If I need seasonal clothes, I try to shop ahead for the next year. For example, I shop for swimsuits when summer ends, store my purchase in my closet, and bring it out the following year.

6. Shop Online Clearance

The great thing about shopping online is that you can shop whenever you have free time and don’t have to worry about traffic, parking, or crowds. To top it off, they deliver to your door and, in many cases, the shipping is free.

I generally only order online if I’m comfortable with the brand and know my size at that store. If you just guess your size, there is a risk that the item won’t fit. So find out if there is a store location nearby where you can return the piece if necessary. Shipping returns back to the company may be pricey; so if there is no store nearby and you are unsure of your size, you may want to reconsider ordering.

7. Give Stores Your Basic Contact Info

Note, I did not say give them your social security number! Basic information is all they should need. If they have a free membership card that gives you points for your purchases, registering with your phone number is helpful, especially if you don’t want your wallet overflowing with cards. Give them your address and email address for coupons. Consider creating a special email account specifically for coupons. Check this shopping email account (or your coupon drawer) before you head to the mall; you might find some valuable coupons.

8. Hunt for a Good Thrift Store and/or Consignment Shop

Three dollars for a T-shirt! You can’t get much better than that. And, on top of the already low prices, some thrift stores even have sale days or give student/military/senior discounts. Helpful hint: Thrift store shopping requires a lot of patience. It takes time to look through the racks and find quality merchandise. You might have to try several stores before you find one that you like.

9. Sell and Swap Your Stuff

You can earn money by selling your unwanted clothes (and often shoes and purses) at a consignment shop. Trading your old clothes is another way to get the most out of them. Gather up a group of girlfriends and host a clothes/accessories swap.

So, in answer to the question: yes. Christians should be fashionable — as long as they go about it in a balanced way. Use these practical tips on your next shopping trip and make shopping fun again.

Felicia Alvarez is a twenty-something author who is passionate about reaching her generation for Christ. She graduated summa cum laude from Liberty University and is currently working on her second book which addresses the intersection of worldview and Christian relationships. Her mentor, Pam Farrel, says, “Felicia is a talented new voice bringing wisdom to her generation.” Connect with Felicia on her blog or on Facebook, she would love to hear from you!

Publication date: June 5, 2012