Join our community of Solution Seekers!

Fashion Basics

A Guide to Buying Wardrobe Essentials

When to save and when to spend.

By Claire Sulmers
High heels on a scaleEllen Silverman

Gym Clothes

Save or spend? Spend.
Experts say: The great thing about gym clothes: Even if you choose to buy the best (instead of sweating in a ratty old T-shirt), you won't necessarily burn a hole in your wallet. You can find quality gym clothes at reasonable prices, and the pieces will most likely last for years to come. "Invest in something functional," advises Brumbaugh. Be sure that the outfit feels flattering. "When you look good in your workout clothes," says Brumbaugh, "you're more inclined to work out." But don't overdo it: A great pair of pants and a couple of tops will do the trick.

Trendy Items

Save or spend? Save.
Experts say: With all the discount retailers out there, you can avoid overspending on fashions that will feel passé after one season. These stores offer trendy items at fair prices, says Los Angeles-based celebrity stylist and designer Phillip Bloch. But remember: Some trends, like nautical-inspired clothing and tunics, will come around again and again, so go ahead and splurge on an item you feel has staying power.

Read More About:Wardrobe Basics

Related Content

Clothes hanging on a rack

Your Fashion Questions, Answered

Real Simple Fashion Director Victoria Sanchez-Lincoln tackles some of the questions we got when we put out this call on Facebook: If you could ask anything about style, what would it be?

What do you think about this article? Share your own solutions and ideas

View Earlier Comments

Quick Tip

Clear nail polish

To avoid lost buttons, dab clear nail polish on the threads of the buttons to prevent them from fraying and loosening. Get more tips.