Share a Wardrobe: Strange Ways to Save Money

Clothing is expensive.

When you’re buying clothes for two adults and a couple of kids, it becomes even more so. Enter the idea of sharing a wardrobe. Or at least parts of a wardrobe. While things like underwear should never be shared, it may be possible to share shirts and pants. How? Elastic and unisex clothing.

Keep in mind that this idea is not for your “nice” clothing that you wear to work or parties. Unless you’re in a same-sex relationship it’s just not possible to share a suit or a dress. (But if you are and you and your partner are the same size, it may be possible and worth a thought.) This idea is for your weekend, lounge-around-the-house or work-in-the-yard wear.

Things like t-shirts are often made for either gender. If you and your partner both wear a size large t-shirt, you can share it. Not only is this a money-saver for everyday shopping, when it comes to buying souvenirs from trips or concerts, you can buy one instead of two. The shirt may be a little big or small on one of you, but it probably won’t be enough to notice. You can greatly reduce the number of shirts you have cluttering up the house if you buy fewer and just share them.

The same holds true for elastic-waist pants like sweat pants or sweat shorts/basketball shorts. A large or medium in these may be sized the same for either gender, or just slightly different. If you and your partner are close in size you may be able to share these types of pants. Again, they may be a little big or small, but if you’re just wearing them around the house, no one will see or care. Rather than buying two pairs of pants for her and two for him, just buy two and you each get to alternate which ones you wear. Obviously if one of you is very petite and the other one is 6’10”, this isn’t going to work. However, if you are only a few sizes apart, you may be able to get enough t-shirts, sweatpants, and sweatshirts to make your weekend wardrobe sharable.

You can also share wardrobes amongst kids. How many times have you bought each kid his or her own shirts or shorts and maybe you didn’t need to? If your kids are close in size, they can share things like t-shirts and elastic-waist pants. If they are the same gender, they may even be able to share other clothing items, as well, reducing the number of items you need to buy. Again, instead of buying two outfits for each kid, just buy two outfits and let them alternate. It may mean some squabbling in the beginning, but they’ll get used to it.

Obviously you need enough of each item so that all kids and adults are clothed at all times. But you may not need to buy several shirts and pants for each person just so everybody can have their own wardrobe. You may only need to buy enough so that there is a pool of clothing available. The great thing about unisex and elastic waist clothing is that it can grow or shrink with you to some extent. As kids grow, elastic items may fit longer than will button fly pants. As adults gain or lose weight, elastic waists can compensate a bit better than other types of clothing.

Wardrobe sharing can be a great way to save money on an everyday basis, but it can really help if you are financially strapped. It essentially cuts your clothing budget in half. Rather than buying multiples of things, you can buy just one or two. That’s a big deal when every penny counts.

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4 Responses to Share a Wardrobe: Strange Ways to Save Money

  1. Diane says:

    Strange would be the operative word here… I’m all in favor of saving money, when possible.

    My sons are 5 years apart, so the younger one “shared” some of his older brother’s clothes once they fit him, but they did not wear them at the same time. Later my sister’s sons shared the same clothes.

    Now that they’re grown & still living at home they do sometimes share shirts, or dress shoes. This causes the occasional argument if it happens without permission, since each has his own clothing.

    But I draw the line at sharing clothes with my partner~ THAT would be STRANGE~! We’re not at all the same size, and I happen to be a woman, not a man. He’d look pretty odd, even if he could squeeze into my camisole tops! And his elastic waist shorts & sweats would fall off me! This is definitely a no-go!

    I’d love to hear if anyone actually does this, with anything more than an occasional t-shirt!

  2. Melanie says:

    Um, I’m all for saving $$… even on clothes. But I prefer to do so by buying our clothing at thrift stores. I can’t even remember the last time I bought something “new” (except for some socks and underwear). We are never at a loss for clothes, even with 6 people in our family. And even thrift store shopping is rare. Most of time we subsist on clothing that people (from our church, etc…) give us in grab bags or stuff like that. The only difficult clothing item for us has been jeans for our growing boys (ages 10 & 11). They are rarer to come across used, because most boys destroy them before they grow out of them. But even still, I was able to find some at a nicer thrift store… they cost me about $3-4 a pair. And yes, my boys share their clothing, but they still need several outfits, so I really can’t only get 1/2 as many outfits. Even their play clothes get taken on trips, etc… and I don’t want to have to laundry every single day! haha My hubby & I probably could share clothes, but quite frankly, I don’t want either one of us to look “slobbish” even if we are just hangin’ around the house. So we’ll just keep on the look-out for freebie/low cost/thrift clothing. But thanks for the idea anyhow! You are very creative!

  3. Gail says:

    The last time I ‘shared’ clothes, I said never again. Back many years ago between pregnancies, as was the custom of our area and church, I loaned my maternity tops to another lady. Mind you most of my things were homemade, didn’t cost a lot but all I could afford. I received my clothes back, and on my very favorite and BEST top were paint spots all over it! I can’t imagine borrowing clothes from someone and then using them as painting clothes. Since I’m usually bigger/taller than most women I don’t borrow clothes, nor do I get hand me downs. Although one lady that I talked to about the fact I didn’t have much in the way of winter clothes for church offered me some hand me downs. I couldn’t believe the trash that was in the bag (and I’m not particularly fussy) since my stated need was for Sunday go to church items! Everything in the bag was not in good enough shape for even the thrift store due to spots, stains, excess wear, etc.

    I guess all I’m saying is borrowing or sharing is fine in certain circumstances but be sure whoever you are sharing with will treat your clothes in an appropriate manner.

    I do borrow hubbies T-shirts at times since I found a bunch of like new ones for 25 cents a piece at a yard sale, I figure he has plenty to lend.

  4. NDMBA says:

    Sharing elastic-waist sweat pants with my SO sounds really…. romantic? No thanks. Our t shirts get mixed up sometimes but we figure it out pretty quick and I don’t think it means we have any fewer of them. Why not just buy fewer clothes in general? I feel like there isn’t enough need for specialized clothes that can also be shared between genders or ages for this to be significant.

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