How to Renew Your Wardrobe on a Budget

When you’re on a tight budget, clothing may be pretty far down on your essential list, but not because you don’t need it. Money can only stretch so far. But there are ways to renew your wardrobe on a limited budget. We show you how.

Photo: Kei Scampa

Before You Go Shopping

Go through your closets and look for forgotten items that are still acceptable. Take out items you know you won’t wear again and hold a clothes-swapping wine evening with a group of friends. You are guaranteed to end up with heaps of new used clothing. Now make a list of the items you need to buy.

Shopping quarterly instead of monthly keeps a rein on excessive spending. Give yourself a budget, draw it out in cash and stick to it. Use your list and don’t deviate from it.

The best time to shop is on weeknights. Most people are active at weekends, making it harder to keep your head straight as you maneuver through the traffic. There are also more sale items out.

Making the Most of Promotions and Cast-Offs

While merchant emails can be annoying, they’re a great way to hear about clearance sales. You’ll get good quality at a low price and look fantastic. Coupons are another way to score some new clothes.

By the same token, if you have access to Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, you will be made aware of special offers that non-followers miss out on.

Thrift shops often receive brand new or seldom-worn clothing that the givers decided wasn’t right for them. Garage sales might score you an item or two.

Think of how you can turn your old clothing into cash. If they look new and have no blemishes or stains, some shops will pay for those items.

Tips When Shopping

Walk right past the center and front of the store where all the latest and most expensive attire can be found. Start at the back and look for clearance or sales racks first. Work your way to the front of the shop, still avoiding the new arrivals.

Surprisingly, women can find some awesome stuff in the men’s and children’s sections. If you go for boys’ extra-large sizes and men’s small, you are sure to find some things that work with your wardrobe.

Discount stores will have clothing with lots of major brands that are just out of season. Some items are sold in bulk at discount stores, and you can get enough tees and long pants to mark them off your list.

Stay away from trends. While buying from clearance sales will have you wearing last year’s fashions, make sure these are classic and don’t fade over time. But if you go with ultra-trendy items, they will simply look foolish by the time you start donning them.

Mixing and Matching

The items on your list need to mix and match with the stuff in your closet. Anything you spend your cash on should be able to be teamed up with a minimum of three items in your existing wardrobe. If not, resist the urge to take it, unless it is a dress. However, the item may fit in with several of your new purchases, and then it’s a steal. For example, pants in a neutral color should match up with several new tops.

Requirements for work clothing are more difficult than casual clothing. Search for a good suit that can be teamed with several blouses for different looks. Basics in neutral colors are a win. Take good care of your clothing and it will last for years.

It is possible to look good and not appear outdated if you make the right choices and your new picks fit in seamlessly with the clothing in your wardrobe.