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Update your wardrobe this spring without spending a fortune

Spring has sprung and yet again we wrestle with that eternal question “What on earth do I wear”? Somehow our minds go blank when we try to remember what we wore this time last year. And also, spring is quite a difficult time to plan clothes for as the weather is still so variable.

The inevitable conclusion is that we need to buy some new clothes to update our spring wardrobes. But how can we manage to do that without spending a small fortune?

In this article we explore ten ways to save money when planning what to wear this spring. And if you adopt a few of them, you may well find that you end up being able to update your wardrobe without spending any money at all!


1. Take stock of everything you already have

Most of us have clothes tucked away all over the place. And it’s likely that your spring and summer clothes are lurking in a spare room cupboard or in a suitcase under the bed. Perhaps it’s time to do a complete inventory of the clothes you already have before you even think about buying anything new?

So why not set aside a morning or afternoon to go through all your stuff. Get everything out and try things on to see what does and does not fit. Anything that either does not fit or you no longer use can be set aside to get rid of, which we’ll look at later in this article.

With everything that is left, take time to play around with different combinations of items to see if what could work together to create a new look. Sometimes even just accessorising an item – for example with a scarf, belt, or jewellery – could help to transform it into something new and exciting. 

The other advantages of having a major clearout is that you should end up with plenty of space to store the clothes you are keeping and anything new that you may add later. 


2. Dress for how life is now

One of the problems that many people have is that their wardrobe is full of clothes but they have nothing to actually wear! So when sorting out your clothes, be realistic. There is no point filling precious storage space with stuff that “might come in useful” if you never get around to wearing it. The usual culprits are evening or holiday wear – things you buy but have never worn and probably won’t.

There may also be lots of items that you like but can’t fit into. If you are actively trying to lose weight and there is a good chance they will fit then fine, but if they are unlikely to fit any time soon then why hang onto them?

In both the above cases, it may be better to sell the clothes you don’t use and use the money to buy some new items that fit both you and your current lifestyle. Think of the gaps that you need to fill in your day to day items, and find some new clothes that you love and would wear regularly.


3. Make do and mend

The concept of “make do and mend” was well-known to previous generations. But now we tend to treat clothes as much more disposable and throw out an item as soon as it has anything wrong with it. But if there is something you like, and it just needs a little bit of TLC, it’s well worth having a go to see if it can be rescued.

Why not try reviving your sewing skills to become adept at minor repairs and adjustments such as replacing buttons or shortening hems. You may then feel confident enough to progress to elements of restyling such as removing sleeves or adding fastenings or decorations. All of these can revive a much-loved item of clothing.

Sometimes it is worth paying for professional repairs to a treasured item, for example new soles or heels for shoes, zips for boots, or a skirt or trousers completely taking in or letting out. Though this would cost, you would still save money on having to buy a similar item new.


4. Look after your clothes well

If you look after your clothes well, they will look better and last longer. When looking in our wardrobe deciding what to wear, many of us reject items without really thinking about it. But it’s probably because they don’t look as good as they could. If items look dull because they have not been laundered properly, or are crumpled either because they need an iron or have been carelessly stuffed into the wardrobe they are never going to look their best.

So make sure you follow washing instructions on clothes. Try to avoid having clothes that are dry clean only because this is expensive. And what usually happens is the item ends up in a bag in your wardrobe waiting to go to the dry cleaners, and is then completely forgotten about.

Also be careful how you store clothes. It is worth investing in decent padded hangers for items such as dresses, tops and sweaters, so that the shoulders don’t go out of shape whilst hanging in your wardrobe. Items stored in drawers should be either neatly folded or rolled to avoid becoming creased or misshapen.


5. Use online auction sites to buy and sell clothes

If there are items of clothes you need to buy, rather than immediately buy new, take a look at some of the many online auction sites available. You can get some wonderful items and save money in the process.

Some of the most popular ones are:


Rather than browsing randomly through these sites, make a list of items that you actively need and just set up searches for those items. 

It can also be very cost-effective to search for a bundle or job lot of clothes in your searches. Many sellers group several items together to save time and postage. This can be a great way of getting a real bargain, even if you decide not to keep all the items.

And of course, you can sell items on the above sites as well as buying. It’s worth taking time to list all the clothes you decide you don’t want on one or more sites. Hopefully you will make enough money to cover the costs of anything you are buying, and remain quids in.


6. Regularly visit charity shops

On the subject of second hand clothes, another great source are charity shops. Get into the habit of visiting them regularly and you could end up with some fabulous bargains. 

Some charity shops have certain days and times when they put out new stock for display, so it’s worth building up a list of what happens where and when. Also try chatting to the staff to see if they have any kind of notification or reserve system for items you are particularly interested in.

All in all, you could end up with some lovely new clothes at a fraction of the original cost, as well as helping to support a charity.


7. Organise a swap shop

Another great way to refresh your wardrobe without spending a penny is to organise a swap shop with family or friends. If they are also trying to declutter and update their wardrobes, you could arrange a get together and all bring along a few items that you no longer want or need. 

Another variation of this is to set up a lending system amongst a group of friends. So if one of you needs something a bit different for a special occasion, you can borrow it from someone else and vice versa. As long as the item is well looked after and returned clean and fresh, a lending system can open up a whole new world of wardrobe options.


8. Buy out of season

Even though we are looking at spring, another neat trick to keep your wardrobe updated is to shop out of season. Over the next few weeks there are bound to be sales of winter items such as coats, sweaters and boots. Even though you would not wear these straight away, you could get a terrific bargain and, come next winter, your future self will thank you.

If you get into this habit, you can quietly update your wardrobe on a rolling basis a season behind. Look for classic items that are not slaves to current fashion trends. You will soon start to appreciate the advantage of this approach when the seasons change and you have some lovely unworn clothes to enjoy.


9. Save money on the brands you like

Another great way to update your wardrobe is to identify the brands that usually work well for you. Whether it’s the style, the quality or the reliable sizing, you may realise that there are several items of a particular brand in your wardrobe that you often wear and consistently like.

If this is the case, it’s a good idea to sign up for their mailing lists, and also any reward or loyalty schemes that they have. You should then be amongst the first to hear about sales and special offers, which are a great way to save money on clothes that you really like

And if you are making a purchase, also remember to Google voucher sites and money saving apps, as you can sometimes find additional savings on these.


10. Don’t run up debt on credit cards

When updating your wardrobe, it can be very tempting to throw caution to the wind and put a few new items on your credit card. But avoid doing this as it is always more difficult to pay it off again than you think it will be. And once the additional interest begins to mount up, your initial bargain buy will end up being much more expensive than you originally thought.

It’s much better to find alternative sources of updating your wardrobe – such as the examples above – than get into debt over a few pieces of cloth!

We hope that this article has helped you discover new ways that you can update your wardrobe this spring without spending a fortune.

And why not keep your wardrobe up to date and decluttered by operating on a principle of “one in one out” in future? This is based on the simple idea that for everything new you buy, something else has to go. Not only is it a great way of keeping your wardrobe at a manageable level, but it can also help you to save money by making you question whether you do need something new or can just reuse something you already have.

Do check back here soon for more lifestyle, family and financial tips from Loans 2 Go.