Update Your Wardrobe Without Breaking the Bank

When seasonal sales are in full-swing, it’s often tempting to reach for your wallet and go on a shopping spree. Although it may give you a temporary dopamine rush, that trip to the mall or virtual splurge can take a toll on your bank account. Consider these simple ways to refresh your wardrobe on a dime.

Marie Kondo Your Closet

Sometimes it’s best to start with a wardrobe purge. Many have taken decluttering inspiration from Marie Kondo’s “KonMari” organizing method after the immense success of her book and Netflix series. With the ultimate goal of only keeping things that “spark joy,” the process can roughly be described with these steps:

  1. Set aside dedicated time to examine ALL of your possessions category-by-category.
  2. Determine if each item makes you truly happy.
  3. Say goodbye to the items that don’t make you happy by thanking them for their service. 

This method can be especially effective when you’re cleaning out your closet. Not only does it allow you to see the total breakdown of clothing items you already have, but it helps you eliminate everything that you aren’t excited to wear.

Host a Clothing Swap Party

Swap parties are a fun and inexpensive way to get rid of your unwanted items, pick up some new pieces and catch up with your friends. Invite a small group of guests, asking each attendee to bring their unwanted, gently worn clothes and a snack or drink to share. When each person arrives, have them lay out their items so they can be on display for your other guests. Then ask everyone to pick out a few of your other guests’ pieces to take home. If you’re friends with someone who’s sewing-savvy, ask them to bring their sewing machine for quick alterations. Anything that goes unclaimed by the end of the night can easily be donated to charity. 

If social gatherings are restricted in your area due to COVID-19 precautions, try going virtual! Take turns showing off pieces that you’d like to exchange on a Zoom or Google Hangouts call. Be sure to swap addresses and contact info for safe, socially distant drop-offs. 

Buy and Sell Secondhand

Did your closet purge reveal any hidden treasures that you no longer wear? Try selling your gently-worn items through a consignment or resale shop to make some extra cash. Additionally, if you’re in dire need of something new, consider shopping “like-new” instead of brand-new. Buying an item second hand isn’t only good for your wallet: purchasing pre-owned clothing reduces waste and helps make your wardrobe more unique.

In addition to the local consignment and resale stores in your area, check out these major chains and online resellers:

  • Buffalo Exchange: Specializing in men’s and women’s clothing, Buffalo Exchange buys and sells current trends, one-of-a-kind pieces, vintage items and everyday staples in excellent condition. In addition to their brick and mortar locations throughout the US, Buffalo Exchange offers a free Sell by Mail program. If they’re unable to purchase anything, they’ll either ship back your items for a fee or donate them to charity.
  • Clothes Mentor: This quickly-growing women’s resale chain offers like-new designer clothing. If you prefer to browse from home, check out your nearest location’s virtual store and opt for free in-store pickup.
  • Menswear Market: This online store focuses on higher end men’s clothing, shoes and accessories, making it a great place to shop for gently used designer pieces and business wear.
  • Once Upon a Child: This children’s resale chain is the largest one in North America. They buy and sell gently used children’s clothing, shoes, toys, furniture and baby gear. 
  • Plato’s Closet: With at least one store in each US state, Plato’s Closet is the ultimate teen and young adult clothing reseller. While they have fairly high standards when it comes to purchasing unwanted items, this allows them to sell top-notch pieces at up to 70% off original prices.
  • Poshmark: This online platform brings the worlds of social media and resale together. Create your own virtual closet for shoppers to peruse, or shop from the closets of other “Poshers.” 
  • ThredUp: This all-online thrift store buys and sells women’s and children’s clothing and accessories. You’re not limited to pre-worn with ThredUp – try searching their “new with tags” selections.

Repair Your Clothing

Don’t give up on your favorite items when soles are worn or lining is torn. Consider bringing them in to your local repair shop for an estimate. Oftentimes, mending your most-loved pieces is more affordable than buying a brand new replacement.

Focus on Clothing Basics

The clothes you invest in shouldn’t only last through multiple washes and wears. Your clothing should make it through multiple style seasons, too. Dark wash jeans, classic blazers, basic t-shirts and button-down dress shirts can be worn year after year, as they are very unlikely to go out of style.

Say No to Dry Cleaning

You might have scored a great deal on that new pair of slacks, but if it’s dry clean only, you may end up spending an additional $5 to $10 every time they need to be washed. Invest in lower-maintenance pieces and consider using less expensive at-home dry cleaning kits in between trips to the cleaners.

Bringing new life to your wardrobe and looking your best doesn’t mean shelling out cash. By shopping strategically, being thoughtful about your clothes, and approaching your closet creatively, you can save money while still looking your best.