If clothes were free, we would all have a walk-in closet full of everything we could ever want. That, unfortunately, is not reality.
On the other hand, too many people use money as a barrier to improve their style. There are obviously a few dream items that cost a fortune and may forever remain just out of reach. But there are a lot of other ways to upgrade your wardrobe without breaking the bank.
Really, all you need is a little creativity and a little bit of know-how. If you want to make some quick changes as this new decade gets underway, here are three great ways to help anyone affordably revamp their closet:
1. Casual or Classy Versatility
The more versatile your clothing items, the fewer of them you will need. It’s that simple. So, as you prioritize new pieces to buy, think about how often you’ll be able to wear them. Specifically, think about whether they can help you dress up or dress down depending on the occasion.
This is one reason dark wash jeans — without significant wear or distress — should be a staple of any wardrobe. Wear them casually with a T-shirt, pair them with a sweater when you go out to a nice restaurant, or have them serve as attire for near-formal events (think a conference cocktail reception) with a sharp blazer and white button-up shirt. A navy blazer works similarly, as will a cardigan and quality, black leather shoes.
2. Year-Round Wear
Beyond considering how formal or casual something can be, think about when in the calendar you will wear it. Shorts can be great. So can parkas. But as soon as you hand over your debit card to make that purchase, you’re guaranteeing you will only be getting a return on that investment a few months out of the year.
By contrast, mid-weight items can be worn virtually year-round. A light jacket that’s ideal for spring or summer, for example, can also be worn in the winter over a hoodie. The same goes for some thin jeans that are comfortable enough to wear at a summer cookout, but which can also work on Thanksgiving with a sweater.
This doesn’t mean you can’t buy a thick sweater or new swimsuit. You will eventually want a bit of everything. But try to start with items that won’t sit in closet storage for most of the year.
3. Confidence and Comfort
Beyond anything else, you want to create a wardrobe full of clothing you feel good wearing. We all have a few statement pieces or zany items that we’re a little iffy about. We wore that one floral hat to a theme party or tried that super-tight dress for Sarah’s destination wedding. But these aren’t things that inspire confidence every day. They only work in a certain mood.
Instead, don’t buy anything unless you love it. You should be able to look at yourself in the mirror and think, “Wow, I look great!” Don’t just buy a bomber jacket because it’s trendy and then feel awkward every time you think about putting it on. A clothing item needs to feel like you to you. In other words, you want to be comfortable with what you’re wearing.
And don’t forget about the items (most people) won’t see. If you start dressing your outfit with some cute, fashionable undergarments — maybe even some lingerie — it will make you feel better about anything you wear. Strangers may not know what you have on. But it will definitely “show” in the form of confidence when you strut about.
From jeans and leather jackets to cowboy boots and boat shoes, many of the most popular and fashion-forward items started from humble beginnings.
You don’t need high-end designer labels that say Louboutin or Louis Vuitton to show off your personality and style. Instead, shop smart, prioritize versatility, look for year-round items, and prioritize confidence and comfort in everything you buy.
Taking this advice will have you well on your way to overhauling your closet this year. Indeed, there’s no need to fall for the hype and overpriced trends. You really can look like a million bucks without going into debt.