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3 Ways to Update Your Wardrobe Without Spending Money

fashion upcycling, upcycled fashion, eco-fashion design
3 Ways to Update Your Wardrobe Without Spending Money

Seriously, where did the summer go? For us to be in a what feels like a time warp of days that all mesh together thanks to the ongoing pandemic, the summer still managed to fly by much too quickly! My teen and I were just listing safe activities we can do to make this summer fun, and now here I am buying school supplies already! But at least there is one thing I won't be spending any money on this fall and that's clothes! And don't think I've succumb to "quarantine attire" of pajamas all day. Nope. I plan to keep it fly and stylish but not spend a dime. I'll share my techniques below.

  1. Fashion Swap Party. By far this is the most lively way to update your wardrobe for fall without spending any money!

fashion upcycling, upcyled fashion, how to update your wardrobe and spend no money
Fashion Swap Party

How to get it done:

A. Go through your closet, drawers, storage, and that stash of clothes you keep under your bed. Pull out every piece that is of high quality and in great shape but for whatever reasons, it just doesn't get put into circulation. Maybe it doesn't fit. Maybe it NEVER fit. Maybe it's super specific to an occasion like a brides maid's gown would be. Or maybe you just don't like it much but it's too nice to donate. Those gems are what coin the phrase: "One (wo)man's trash is another (wo)man's treasure!"

B. Invite friends over who have done the same process pulling out their unwanted gems, particularly those friends who are stylish and have pieces in their closet that you've been vying for a while. You may get lucky and score one!

C. Assign each category of clothing a value. ie: Coats=5, pants=2, dresses=3, etc. Write this value on a tag and pin to the garment. Tally up the value of clothing each person has brought to the swap onto a receipt. ie: 2 dresses and a coat=3+3+5=11.

D. Each friend can"shop" up to the value of their swap.

KEY: Since we are in a pandemic, I do suggest having this swap party outdoors in a backyard or your driveway instead of indoors to be safe. Roll out a few clothing racks or folding tables and a standing mirror then you're good to go! You'll have a bunch of new-to-you pieces for your wardrobe with zero dollars spent!


2. Upcycle. Upcycling fashion is my specialty. After all I've run my own line of handbags 10 years upcycling leather garments and coats into fashion-forward handbags, belts, home decor and other accessories. But you may be wondering, "what is UPCYCLING?" Well, upcycling comes from the term "recycling" but instead of taking something old and finding new uses for it, you're taking that old thing and making it better than was originally by UP-dating it in a clever, styling way.

In my own wardrobe, I am quick to upcycle my clothes into something more stylish and fab when I'm tired of it as it is. Check out this sequin denim jacket upcycle I did. I am hoping that you too will keep your old clothes out of the landfills and upcycle them as well. Did you know that the average American throws away 60 lbs of clothes each year! Yup, fashion is the 2nd greatest pollutant on the planet, second only to oil, sadly.

Furthermore, fashion upcycling is the most fun way to create a wardrobe that is original and truly expressive of your personal style.

fashion upcycling, upcycled fashion, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion
Fashion Upcycling

How to get it done:

A. No sewing skills are necessary but for more permanent updates knowing how to sew does come in handy. Feel free to hand sew if you don't have a sewing machine. If you don't know how to hand sew either, fabric glue does wonders but of course, it isn't permanent so keep that in mind.

B. Decide what garment could use an update and what updates you'd like it to have. Would your sweater sleeves look better as leg warmers? Maybe your white jeans would look better tie-dyed purple! Could your jean dress use 2 soft knit side pockets? Would your maxi dress look better as a jumper?

C. Decide on the updates and get them done. Some updates, such as changing the color of a garment, will require no sewing at all; just fabric dye. Other updates that require no sewing are: adding studs/spikes/buttons, ironing on emblems/patches, hand-painting art onto your clothes, cutting off a part...just go crazy!

But if you can sew, you're only limited by your imagination!


3. Organize your closet. Yes, it's a chore but the results are EPIC in creating a whole new wardrobe with the clothes you already own.

fashion upcycling, upcycled fashion, update your wardrobe and spend no money
Closet Organization

How to get it done:

A. Clean out your closet Marie Kondo-style. Get rid of all clothes that do not "bring you joy." B. Make new, unexpected pairings with your faves, creating a minimalist collection of clothing you'll feel and look your best in daily. Nothing is better than reaching into your closet and being confident that you're pulling out something that you look great in and makes you feel you best. So often we fall into the habit of wearing a thing the same way with the same pairings. Narrowing your wardrobe down and making new pairings will surprise you! You'll wonder why you never thought of these pairings before!


Imagine how dope your wardrobe would be if you employed all 3 techniques listed above: have a fashion swap party to bring in new-to-you faves, upcycle the fashion in your closet that could use an update (like I did by turning my maxi dress into a romper), and then organize your closet keeping only your best and favorite clothes! You'd seriously have a brand new wardrobe without spending any money. How stylish, smart and wealthy you are!

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