How to Refresh Your Wardrobe on a Budget

We’ve all had wardrobe purchases that, sooner or later, we’ve lived to regret. Designer shoes we splurged on, hoping they would be more comfortable after getting worn in. A patterned scarf you couldn’t walk away from, even though it doesn’t match anything else you own. Or maybe it was a party dress that no longer goes with your sense of style. Sooner or later, the item makes its way to the back of your closet or the bottom drawer of your dresser. You cast it away in favour of whatever caught your eye during your latest shopping spree. Sound familiar?

Maximize what you already have

Many feel the need to completely overhaul their wardrobe to keep up with the changing of seasons and fashion trends. However, it’s possible to refresh your closet without starting from zero or leaving your budget in tatters. A sensible starting point is to make the most of what’s currently in your closet. As tempting as it may be to get one of everything, base your outfits off what you already own. Try switching around your usual combinations of tops and bottoms or brightening them up with a colourful accent piece.

Get to know your inner fashion diva

Feeling like you can never get your look just right to reflect your true style? Try this simple exercise: think of 3 words that best describe your sense of fashion. Classic? Hip? Bohemian? Chic? Capturing the essence of your personal style will help you avoid the pit trap of the latest fashion trends. After all, why dress to match the covers of the hottest fashion magazines if it’s not what you enjoy wearing? Identifying what you really like will prevent you from buying clothes that would just take up closet space.

Practicality always wins

Besides shopping to match your personal style, be conscious of how you’re spending your clothing budget. What portion of your funds is going towards essential items versus those you like but don’t actually need? Putting together outfits based on the activity you’ll be wearing them for can help you stay organized and efficient. Are you planning on spending most of the summer hanging out at the beach? Do you need to upgrade your formal outfits for an office job? Or do you looking to freshen up your party attire? Whatever you’ll be doing, make sure you shop for what you’ll really wear. You might like the way it looks, but it won’t matter if it’s permanently hanging in your closet.

One person’s junk is another’s treasure

Don’t underestimate the potential of thrift stores and other second-hand clothing stores. Though more unpredictable than shopping at major clothing stores, they offer the advantage of finding more unique or stylish pieces. Whether it’s colourful scarves, flashy skirts or basic active wear, you can luck out on some pretty sweet savings. This is especially true if you can get your hands on the “factory seconds” of high-end brands. Deals like these make thrift stores particularly alluring, as these items would be sold elsewhere for at least triple the price. Clothing swaps are another creative source for getting rid of things you never wear—or making space for new finds.

Investments vs. cheap buys

Lastly, think about which purchases are worth paying more for. Higher-use items like shoes get a lot of wear and tear, so it’s worth buying a few good-quality pairs. Likewise, identify items for which you’re willing to sacrifice quality for savings; this will vary from person to person. Whether it’s handbags or summer dresses, this will allow you to spend a little more on your favourite items.


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