Watch any fashion makeover and you'll find that what you wear underneath certain garments is just as important as the clothes themselves. An ill-fitting bra can turn even the chicest sheath into a fashion fail, and panty lines will instantly detract from form-fitting pants.
Quality lingerie can be pricey but is ultimately worth the investment. And like most things, intimates often go on sale and can be found at a great discount if you know where and when to look. Here are several tips on finding lingerie for less, as well as ways to extend their shelf life.
1. Get Fitted
Before you even think about buying a new bra, get fitted. Retailers like Macy's and Nordstrom offer bra fittings, along with lingerie specialty stores like Victoria's Secret. You may assume that by now, you know what size fits you best, but you might be surprised what you can learn from a professional. Check out Good Housekeeping's article on what to expect.
2. Shop Online
Once you've been properly fitted, ordering online will be easier than ever and allow you to take advantage of great deals. For example, I can use the size and style reference card provided to me by a Victoria's Secret salesperson and take advantage of their online coupons from FreeShipping.org without sacrificing fit.
3. Quantity Counts
In addition to taking proper care of your undergarments, owning multiple bras will keep each one from wearing out too soon. Be sure your boudoir includes the basics, like a nude or skin-tone bra to wear under white garments. For other must-haves, consult this list from The Budget Fashionista.
4. Know Your Brands
You can find great deals on bras from discount retailers like TJMaxx and Ross, but you need to know your brands before you buy. A cheap bra will fall apart quickly, so avoid purchasing just any type for budget's sake. Wacoal, Maidenform, Calvin Klein and Vanity Fair are all top quality and can typically be found at these stores for reasonable prices.
5. Buy Multipurpose
Though it's important to own multiple bras, it's also helpful to own a bra that can adapt to numerous styles. Most brands offer a bra with adjustable straps which you can use with racerback, strapless, and one shoulder styles, like the Butterfly Convertible Multi-Function Bra by Dominique.
6. Take Care
As with most things, taking proper care of bras will increase their longevity. Hand wash delicate garments in cold water with gentle detergents. Alternatively, place bras in a mesh bag and wash on the delicate cycle to prevent any snagging. Always hang dry and take a queue from lingerie stores for storage: Place bras in rows within in your dresser drawer.
7. Consider Additions
Buying one bra for every style of outfit you own will get pricey fast. Accessories like bra clips, petals and extenders represent an inexpensive way to adapt existing lingerie to the style you want to wear. Nordstrom offers cute, heart-shaped clips for just $8, but you can also find them at Bed Bath & Beyond.
Kendal Perez is a frugal fashionista and bargain shopper who helps fellow shopaholics find hassle-free ways to save money. As the marketing coordinator for Kinoli Inc., she has the resources to be an extreme couponer but prefers a less complicated approach to staying in-budget. Kendal has been quoted in such media outlets as CNN Money, TIME Moneyland, FOX, ABC, NPR and Kiplinger Personal Finance. For savings tips and more information, visit HassleFreeSavings.com.