How to Refresh Your Wardrobe on a Budget

Written by: Caitlin Bennett



Time to read 5 min

Have you ever craved a wardrobe refresh? Sometimes, our clothes and accessories just don’t feel like us anymore. Or, we need new outfits for a major life transition. The thing is, our dreams for a fresh new look don’t always match our means. So, let’s dive into some easy ways you can transform your style and update your wardrobe on a budget.

Many people think that they need a complete wardrobe overhaul to refresh their look. Before you start Marie Kondo’ing your entire wardrobe, remember that you don’t need to start again from scratch.

Over time, you may have found many of your foundational wardrobe pieces and simply need to find new ways to wear them. Refreshing your wardrobe is about identifying these items and then filling in the gaps.

When you invest in simple updates, such as a new style of handbags or accessories, you can start putting together outfits in new and creative ways. Just think about it, the entire English language is made from only 26 letters. So, a wardrobe refresh isn’t about acquiring lots of new items, it’s just about purchasing the right items and getting creative.

Wardrobe Essential Bags

When should you refresh your wardrobe?

People update their wardrobe when they are going through a life transition. The start of a new season might make you realise that you don’t have clothing that’s suited to the weather. You could be moving or travelling to a new climate. You might be starting a new job with a new dress code. You could be having a child or your body shape might have changed.

Our personal style and tastes can also just change naturally over time. When this happens, our clothing can stop feeling like an accurate reflection of who we are. Sometimes, we can feel like we’re stuck in a rut and want to spark some external changes to boost our confidence.

If that’s where you’re at, then it might be time to refresh your wardrobe.

A woman wearing a full length white cotton dress and black boots

Start by identifying the wardrobe items you love and then reduce the clutter.

You don’t have to start by throwing out everything that you already own. When you want to change up your style, a positive place to start is by identifying the items in your wardrobe you love. What items do you go to again and again when you’re in a rush? Which pieces make you feel confident every time you wear them? What makes you feel the most comfortable? What is perfectly suited to your lifestyle and the things you love to do? What accessories are meaningful to you and always make you feel great?

Once you have identified these items, start thinking about selling, donating, or giving away items that will no longer serve you. See if there are any items that you could mend or alter to start wearing them on high rotation again. Platforms like Depop make it very easy to sell any second-hand clothes that you don’t want to wear anymore (and top up your budget for a new item you might need), and donating is a good way to give a garment a second chance of life with someone who needs it.

Through this process, you should start feeling better about the items you already own and begin imagining new ways to wear them.

Reorganise your wardrobe so you can see the majority of your items

When it’s time to put everything back in your wardrobe after your clean-out, take the opportunity to reorganise it. For example, you might want to group tops, bottoms, dresses, and shoes.

Put long items in areas with lots of hanging room so that you make the most of the space in your wardrobe. You can also put any items that you know you won’t wear that season into storage. For example, you can store away your bulky winter knits to make extra space in your wardrobe in summer.

This process helps you remove visual clutter and makes it easier for you to put new outfits together every day.

Define your personal style

Everyone’s wardrobe looks different. The way we dress is a reflection of our personality, tastes, preferences, lifestyle, and climate. So, rather than trying to mimic someone else’s style, start developing a clear image in your mind of how you want to present yourself.

Think about what items you need to feel confident and organised daily. This is your starting point for what types of clothing and accessories you need to invest in next. You can also look on platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, or TikTok to get ideas about styling. There are lots of different styles that you can explore, such as bold, eccentric, minimalistic, and classic Parisian .

But always use these for inspiration and ideas on how to build different outfits that suit you, rather than putting pressure on yourself to emulate someone else’s look. Your style should feel like an inspiring framework and never restrictive.

Make sure you have all of your wardrobe staples

Then you can start deciding on the core items you need in your wardrobe. These items should be your most versatile pieces. Think jeans, smart shoes, a day-to-night dress, a coat, white t-shirts, a smart button-down shirt, and staple handbags .

They’re easy to build outfits from and complement other items in your wardrobe. Neutrals are a smart investment because they are easy to mix and match. However, you can always expand your horizons with a foundational colour palette that suits your complexion .

Warm colours tend to go with warm-toned skin, and cool colours enhance cool-toned skin. If your skin is more neutral, you can play with colours on both sides of the spectrum.

Consider the items that you need based on your job, lifestyle, and the weather. Once you have the right foundations in place, you can create an outfit for any occasion. 

Fill in the gaps in your wardrobe and create new from old!

Once you have identified the gaps in your wardrobe, you can mix old pieces with new ones to style different looks. You’ll be amazed by how much new accessories can transform your look.

A simple scarf tied to your handbag can add a pop of colour that you have never tried before. A new jacket or coat can see you experimenting with an urban or country look in an instant.

A crossbody bag can refresh your look from the gym to brunch, and a mini-shoulder bag can elevate your outfits for dinner dates. A sharp laptop bag can also make tailored pants and a t-shirt look ready for the office. Having a great pair of flats, heels, and sandals will also mean you have the right footwear to wear with just about any dress.

Handbags, shoes, and accessories are a great wardrobe investment because they can help you tweak your style personality in an instant, and you don’t have to spend lots of money on them. They help you build on your existing outfits and touch on the trends that speak to you, without making you overhaul your entire wardrobe in the process.

Getting Dressed Should Feel Fun

When your wardrobe is set up for success, you can feel organised, confident, and ready for the day, every day. If you’re in need of a little wardrobe pick me up, remember to make the most of the items you already own and love, invest in staples that suit your lifestyle, and make your existing outfits work harder with a versatile collection of handbags and accessories.

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