The fact is, no matter how strategically you shop, or how meticulously you curate your closet, you will, inevitably, have phases in your life that leave you yearning to refresh your wardrobe. Whether it be a general love of fashion (for some, the urge to dive deep into each and every trend is real), tiredness from wearing the same outfits on repeat, a life change inspiring you to shake things up, or a desire to re-create the style of your favorite main character, we know the situation well: You want to significantly transform your wardrobe without blowing the bank.
It’s true—refreshing your ensemble can be a daunting and seemingly expensive task. Shopping is fun, after all, and it’s a little too easy to get carried away, throwing item after item into your online shopping cart. The good news is, with a little shopping-savvy and practical fashion know-how, it is possible to breathe new life into your wardrobe on a budget. Here are some of our best tips.
1. Start with a wardrobe purge
Believe it or not, the first step in freshening up your wardrobe doesn’t actually involve adding a single thing. Instead, the first thing you should do is purge your closet and dresser drawers of everything that no longer brings you joy. If you’re unsure as to whether or not a piece “sparks joy,” then ask yourself these questions: Is it too big or too small? Does it no longer fit your taste? Do you feel less-than-great-wearing it? If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, then add the piece to your donation pile.
By getting rid of these filler items that you no longer love, you will give your closet and dresser some much-needed room to breathe. This means you’ll have a better visual of the pieces you actually do love which may even inspire you to try new outfit combinations. Put it this way: No one ever walked away from a closet cleanout without feeling refreshed.
2. Create a budget
This may sound obvious, but when refreshing your wardrobe on a budget, it’s important that you actually have a budget to work with. While many of us probably have a vague idea as to how much we should (or shouldn’t) be spending on clothing, shoes, and accessories, there are probably also many of us who do not actually have a physical budget to keep us accountable. Take your income and expenses into consideration and decide how much money per pay period you can realistically put towards revamping your wardrobe before you make any purchases.
3. Replace a few key pieces
Before you make grand plans to donate and replace every single item in your closet, take a step back and form a strategy. The key to making a punch to your wardrobe without going overboard on spending is refreshing key pieces that can be styled a number of ways. For example, do you love jeans but find your current pairs are worn and out of style? Invest in a few new, quality pairs that you can style with any number of tops. Shoes are another great category to take inventory of. Do you have a hundred different pairs but don’t truly love or wear that many of them? Pare back and pick up a handful of versatile styles you’ll wear time and time again. Some of our personal timeless favorites include white sneakers and loafers.
While closet essentials will vary from person to person, these are some of our readers’ favorite fashion items.
4. Embrace a capsule wardrobe
If there is one thing we love at The Everygirl, it’s a capsule wardrobe. If you’re feeling an urge to “start fresh” but don’t want to spend your life savings, then a capsule wardrobe is just the ticket. Invest in a handful of classic, quality pieces that can be mixed and matched to create countless outfits. You might be surprised by how much the beautiful simplicity of this styling approach reinvigorates your joy for getting dressed in the morning. Our spring capsule wardrobe is a great place to start if you’re new to the strategy.
5. Try your hand at thrifting
Before you write this tip off, throw away the mental image you have of dusty consignment shops packed full of stained garments and bursting clothing racks. While this described thrift setting is paradise for those who love fashion treasure hunting, we understand it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. If you fall into the latter group, consider giving online thrifting a try. Sites like Poshmark, ThredUp, and Depop make it easy to find on-trend items at a fraction of their original price.
On that note, you might also consider selling some of the pieces you no longer love to restock your new-clothing budget. For tips on selling your clothes online, check out this article.
6. Be mindful of your purchases
Don’t allow spur-of-the-moment purchases on things you only kind of like eat up your clothing budget. Instead, only spend money on items you really love. If you do most of your shopping online (which, these days, who doesn’t?), consider adding items to your shopping cart and waiting at least 48 hours before purchasing. Sometimes, if you give yourself some breathing room between initial sighting and final purchase, you realize you don’t love or “need” an item as much as you initially thought.
By cutting back on mindless spending, you afford yourself some budget flexibility for spending more on pieces you really, truly love and will wear again and again.
7. Shop sales when you can
It goes without saying that sales are a great way to save on new clothing pieces. Whether you have your eye on something in particular, or have a wardrobe category you’re looking to refresh, keep your eyes peeled around holidays and during seasonal transitions. Most retailers hold sales at the end of each season as well as leading up to and during holidays. Signing up for email newsletters is also an easy way to stay informed on sales.
8. Keep your goals in mind
As mentioned before, there are any number of factors that can be driving your urge to hit “refresh” on your style. Figure out what that reason may be and use it as a guide as you purge and restock. While it’s easy to get sucked into wanting to try every trend, aesthetic, and outfit formula there is, be realistic and consider what your goals are.
For example, if you’ve recently been promoted at work and want to dress for your new role, then focus on what kind of image and vibe you’re hoping to create and work from there. Someone looking to add more professionalism to their wardrobe may consider investing in a versatile blazer, an office-ready dress, and a pair of go-to day heels; if you’re someone who used to work in an office but now work from home, you may consider swapping out your power suits for clothing that’s better suited for days spent over Zoom. Figure out what you really need, then go from there.