The key to modern fashion is buying less, shopping efficiently, and upgrading your look in the process. When it comes to clothes, many people unfortunately make less-than-optimal purchases. From impulse buys we don’t really need, to “must-have” accessories that are never worn once, most of us could all stand to be a bit more thoughtful while shopping.
If you’ve been feeling like you need to rebuild your wardrobe, you don’t have to do so by breaking the bank. Here are five strategies to switch up your style without spending a ton of money.
1. Be versatile
Instead of buying a dress for every occasion, go with a versatile staple that you can wear in so many different ways. Make it look new each time with a change in heels, a statement necklace, or high-waisted belt. They’ll never know it’s the same garment you wore to the last holiday party if you revamp the look for each outing
2. Don’t try to fit in
This applies in two ways: to the latest fads and to the outgrown attire you swear you’ll fit back into one day. First, you don’t need to buy whatever one else is wearing—you’re guaranteed to get tired of it and never give it the light of day in a few months. Trends fade, personal style stays.
Secondly, if something doesn’t flatter you anymore—or straight up does not fit—then maybe it’s time to let go of those Levi’s jeans you loved so much. But rather than tossing them out or donating them, take them to a second-hand thrift store where you can barter them in exchange for a new vintage find. Maybe you pick up a pair of MVMT’s retro sunglasses instead of replacement denim, or a faux-leather purse that you’ve been needing for months.
3. Minimize your wardrobe
Take that last tip and apply it to things you no longer wear, not just the things that no longer fir. Before you can rebuild your wardrobe, you need to purge it. If stores like Buffalo Exchange won’t accept your well-worn items, them simply donate them to a charity in need.
Be real with yourself and liquidate your closet in true Marie Kondo style. Whatever doesn’t spark joy, let it go. It’s served its purpose. Now, take this same philosophy with you anytime you go shopping for new clothes. Hold it up in the light and ask yourself, “Do I truly love this? Do I absolutely need to have it?”
You might come across a mod corduroy cut-off jacket in a gorgeous maroon color and decide that you absolutely cannot leave the store without it. And we respect that. But beware of those mannequin ensembles displayed in the windows. Those are traps made to catch your attention, not necessarily your heart.
4. Go searching at swap meets
About that corduroy jacket we just mentioned… where do you think you find one-of-a-kind items like that? Spoiler alert: not the mall. If you truly want to establish a new sense of style, then you should go search for original pieces at swap meets, flea markets, thrift stores, and vintage shops.
You can find pieces from every decade to cater to your inner bohemian goddess or your 90s punk star. It feels amazing to discover these hidden treasures—definitely rewarding enough to put in the effort required to hunt them down! It may take extra time, but you do save extra money.
5. Trade with friends
Our last suggestion for the day is to get together with the girls and offer to do some trading, even if temporary. Sometimes you don’t entirely need to rebuild, you just need to switch it up. If you feel like you’ve worn something a little too frequently, lend it to a friend who you think it’d flatter and would care for it. Chances are that they’ll do the same in return—just be careful not to pour coffee on it!
Find your style and own it. Pick up staples that you can re-wear, go searching for statement pieces, and get rid of anything that no longer serves you.