How To Update Your Wardrobe For Less

iStock_000019020562SmallShop Your Closet.

Mix and match what you already own. Chances are you’ve got a few pieces tucked away at the back of your closet that could use a little rediscovering.

Shop Seasonally.

If you go swimsuit shopping just as the heat starts to set in, you’ll pay for it, as prices generally hit their peak when you need an item most. End of season sales are the best times to score a deal, meaning winter jackets in the spring and bikinis in the fall. If you can get yourself to think six months in advance, you’ll benefit from a significant price drop.

Don’t Pay Retail.

Between coupons, sales, and clearance, there’s no reason to pay full retail. Take your smartphone with you on your next shopping venture so you can google discounts and search price comparisons in the store. If you can’t find the deal you want, snap a picture of the tag and the item so you can find it later on at the right price point.

Shop the Discount Chains.

It seems that every discount chain from Target to Kohl’s now carries several affordable designer lines. Pair those discount price tags with a coupon or sale to get the most bang for your buck.


If you have an uneasiness when it comes to “used” clothing, know that there are many different tiers of second hand stores. While the Salvation Army and Goodwill may require a bit more digging for quality wardrobe items, other consignment shops, like Second Time Around, have a strict pre-screening process. If the stigma of thrifting gets to you, remember, it’s not “used”, it’s “vintage”.


Clothing swaps are a great way to spend a frugal evening with friends while clearing out your closet and scoring some new finds. To set up a swap, gather a group of friends and have them bring anything they want out of their closet-dresses, t-shirts, shoes, accessories, whatever. Spend the evening trying on eachothers’ discards. Whatever is left unclaimed at the end of the evening gets donated. It’s a win-win-win.

Check out Sample Sales.

If you’re into designer labels, wait for the sample and trunk sales to stock up. When designers need to clear out the previous season’s merchandise and sell clothing that didn’t make the final production cut, they’ll slash prices, making it at least somewhat more affordable for the average consumer.

Go Online.

EBay is a buyers market. With so many sellers and an auction model, items are priced to sell. Just make sure you’re dealing with reputable sellers before you place a bid. If your item has a defect or doesn’t fit quite right, you’ll want to be able to make a return with a professional and timely seller.

In addition to eBay, there are tons of discount online retailers. At the end of each season, they slash the prices on their massive inventory creating, once again, a buyers market.

Beware the Outlets.

Outlet malls can be a great place to snag some serious discounts, but be careful what you pick up. Some pieces are made specifically for the outlet mall, meaning they’re not overstock, they’re just lower quality.

Check the Kids Section.

Children’s clothing is generally much cheaper than the adult equivalent. For basics like t-shirts or socks, see if you can find a better deal in the kid’s section. Note: You’ll have to figure out your child size first.

Choose Wisely.

To save on future clothing costs, pick out timeless, versatile pieces. When you shop for new wardrobe items, think about which things will give you the most use in the long run. Blacks and beiges are always good colors to keep on hand; you can layer and accessorize to add pop and style for various occasions. Machine washables will also be a lot cheaper than dry clean only items over the long haul.

What’s your favorite savings trick when it comes to updating YOUR wardrobe?


How To Update Your Wardrobe For Less — 4 Comments

  1. Love all these tips, Stefanie. I do a clothing swap with a friend and it’s so helpful in keeping fashion spending at bay! I also use discount gift cards quite a bit; I just bought a couple dresses & a scarf from Francesca’s using a discount gift card and a coupon – score. 🙂

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