5 Ways to Maximize Your Wardrobe Without Spending Money

June 08, 2011 1:58 AM

by Lena CorwinHow many dresses do you own? Most women I know have closets stuffed full of dresses (and belts, and purses, and shoes, and blouses…), some with the price tags still attached because they haven’t even been worn yet.

As Elizabeth Cline writes on the Etsy Blog, clothing prices have plummeted in the age of fast fashion, and yet everyone is spending more than ever on clothes. In 1950, Americans spent $7.82 billion on clothing. Last year, that number hit $375 billion.

Thanks to foreign production and incredibly low costs, we’ve become obsessed with buying more pieces while worrying less about lasting quality and stylishness. Etsy’s going to examine the impact of all this in the coming months. For now, here are some tips on getting the most out of what you already own.

1. Mix & Match
Your closet is a great place to shop. Take an afternoon and go through everything you own – you might find some pieces you’ve forgotten about. Try putting together different belts, skirts, shirts and leggings, and you could discover a whole new wardrobe you didn’t even know you had. Chiccastyle has good tips on this one. You can also use Polyvore.com to upload photos of your clothing and accessories and create mix & match layouts.

2. Swap Out
Clothing swaps are a great excuse to get together with friends and grab new stuff without spending a dime! It’s a safe bet you’ve got some new or nearly new clothing in your closet that didn’t really work for you. Don’t get rid of it. Pass it on.

3. Find Your Winning Pieces
What are the items in your wardrobe you spent a little more on, or the ones that always make you feel amazing when you wear them? Painfully Hip suggests identifying those special items and always having them to hand. Mix stuff you’re not so sure about with the pieces you love and you might find a great new combination.

4. Cuff Yourself
A blazer doesn’t have to stay at work – try cuffing the sleeves for a more casual look with jeans. The same advice applies if you’ve got a pair of jeans that have gotten too short: cuff them up and wear them with flats for a relaxed style. Visit the Classy Woman blog for more great tips.

5. Check The ‘Net
There are tons of great sites that can inspire you to try new things. Three that jump to mind are The Sartorialist, Tommy Ton’s Jak and Jil Blog, What Katie Wore and Fashion Toast (whose clothing rack is the feature image for this post), but the web is positively stuffed with brilliant fashion ideas. Find something new on a site and see if you can make it your own with what you’ve already got!

What sites do you visit for inspiration? Let us know in the comments below.

(The illustration featured in this post is by Lena Corwin, as featured in the Etsy Blog post, “The History of a Cheap Dress“)


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