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Budgeting For Your Closet With Kim France

Haley Paskalides  |  April 5, 2024

Kim France says we can ditch the rules around organizing our closets, and get on a new kind of clothing budget.

Do you know not only how much of your money you spend on the clothes in your closet but also how much of your time you waste staring into the abyss of your wardrobe? 

One study says that over the course of her life a woman will spend a full year in front of her closet from age 16 to 60 deciding what to wear. And this doesn’t include all of the other time we’re supposed to spend making our closets more manageable and our wardrobes more streamlined.  Here are a few helpful rules that come to mind: if you haven’t worn it in a year you should get rid of it. If you add something to your closet, you should make sure you’re eliminating something else. And capsule wardrobes are better. So which of these are really true??

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Thankfully, Kim France is here to help, former editor of the Conde Nast fashion magazine Lucky. Her Substack, Girls of a Certain Age, is a series for women over 40 with tips on how to navigate this alternately weird and liberating stage of life. 

LISTEN: The Psychology Behind Our Shopping Habits

Kim France advises everyone to “listen to your internal radar” when deciding whether to buy a piece of clothing or not. “I think we get into a lot of trouble with those lists, about what a woman over 40, a woman over 50 shouldn’t wear, because anything pretty much can be made to look appropriate,” France says. “So, I think it’s staying close to your radar, and if you don’t have good internal radar, have a really blunt friend come over so they can help you with that.”

France also says we can all feel good about what would otherwise be known as a “shopping failure” by donating our higher-end pieces to places like Housing Works where she says, they really know how to price designer pieces to benefit their organization the most. While she loves to buy consignment, she’s not a fan of reselling her clothes to places like ThredUp or the RealReal because she says the pennies on the dollar that she gets back aren’t worth it to her. 

France also explains how she’s changed her fashion mindset as her body has changed, why she doesn’t like the ‘if you haven’t worn it in one year give it away’ rule, and the designers and styles that she’s been gravitating towards lately. 


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All advisory services offered through Financial Engines Advisors L.L.C. (FEA), a federally registered investment advisor. Results are not guaranteed. AM1969416

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