There's nothing worse than looking into your closet and feeling like you have nothing to wear. Well, actually, there are some worse things, But the point is, it's extremely frustrating to feel like the clothes you own don't add up to a complete, stylish wardrobe. This is especially true if you're on a tight budget and can’t afford to buy all new everything.
But, don't give up on your clothing collection just yet. If you're feeling uninspired by what you own, there are a few ways you can enhance your wardrobe without having to spend a small fortune. It just takes a little creativity. Read on to learn how you can upgrade your wardrobe on a budget.
Find the Best Sales
When you don't have a lot of extra income to spare on new duds, sales can be your best friend (as long as you don't go crazy). If you only shop the sale rack, you'll get a lot more bang for your buck. Here's the thing, though: If you know the most optimal time to shop for on-sale clothing, you can get even more than you bargained for.
The week following Christmas is the best time of year to buy almost anything (if you don’t mind battling through stores full of other shoppers). It's also a good idea to buy clothes when they're out of season: Shop for summer clothing when it goes on sale in the fall, buy winter coats at the beginning of the year after most people have already purchased them, and pick up winter clothing when spring rolls around.
Buy Basics First
When you're on a tight budget, you may not be able to buy everything you want, but that doesn't mean you can't buy anything at all. It's all about prioritizing. Take an inventory of your closet, and write down any items that could fill in some wardrobe gaps. Maybe you're in need of a few more work blouses or a couple of casual pairs of jeans.
Then, choose the two pieces of clothing that you need most—maybe it's one pair of dark wash skinny jeans and one top for the office. Shop for those before you buy anything else on your list, and remember: Enhancing your wardrobe with high-quality and versatile garments will go a lot further than picking up trendy duds that will be out of style in a couple of months.
Don't Scoff at Secondhand Stuff
Some of the most stylish women look to thrift, secondhand, and consignment stores for new clothing because they're great places to find awesome deals. Search these stores for statement-making items, like funky handbags or a colorful jacket that would cost a lot if you bought them new.
One of the major perks of secondhand shopping? You'll find one-of-a-kind garments that no one else has.
Know What to Splurge On...
Even if you're on a budget, there are certain items that are worth paying a bit more for to make sure you're getting something well-made and long-lasting. Splurge on things like nice handbags, shoes and boots, and suits, for instance. Paying more now will mean spending less in the long run, since quality items will last years longer than cheaply made ones.
...And What to Skimp On
That said, there are some things that don't require a huge splurge. Costume jewelry can add a lot of flair to an outfit for only a little money, and it isn't necessary to spend your whole paycheck on basic tees and other casual clothing items.
Look to stores like H&M and Target, which often partner with designers to offer stylish clothing at a lower price than you'd find in boutiques.
Stock Up on Accessories
Accessories are key when upgrading your wardrobe because they can make a huge difference in your look, but they often cost less than actual clothing items. Take a simple tee-and-jeans outfit: Add a trendy hat or a statement necklace, and your ensemble will look remarkably more stylish.
Another way to instantly jazz up an outfit? Great shoes. Splurge on boots, heels, or flats in interesting colors or with funky embellishments that make you look and feel great.
Raid Your Friends' Closets
Two words: clothing swap. Your friends are almost definitely in the same boat as you when it comes to wanting to enhance their current wardrobe. Clothing swaps are an ideal way for all of you to get new items without spending a cent.
Turn it into a party, and have everyone bring a bag full of clothing they no longer want to wear (it just has to be clean and in good condition). Break open a bottle of wine, put on some music or Netflix, sit in a circle, and start swapping. If all of you end up with just one thing you didn't have before, it's a success.
One final note: Remember that enhancing the clothing you have may help you make a difference without spending a ton of money. Sometimes bringing something to a tailor or adding a DIY embellishment can make a piece of clothing feel like new.