5 Tips for Building a Fabulous Wardrobe on a Tight Budget

by Alexa Mason · 1 comment

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with clothing for most of my life. In my younger years, I used to love clothes. I’d buy whatever struck my fancy, regardless of the cost.

As I got older, I started wearing jeans, t-shirts, and boots. I never shopped for new clothes, and had no desire to. The thought of spending my hard-earned money on new clothes was repulsive. Then I got a job as an insurance agent and had to start dressing more professionally. At first, leaving my comfy jeans and t-shirts was awkward — but after a while, I began to gain a sense of confidence from wearing nicer clothes.

From that moment on, I realized something: wearing the right type of clothing can positively impact your life. When you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good, it shows. Your confidence increases, and other people start to look at you in a different light.

Even though I’ve now realized how impactful the right type of clothing can be to your confidence and career, I still avoid spending a lot of money on it.

Instead, I’ve found several ways to have an amazing wardrobe without breaking the bank:

How to Build Your Wardrobe on a Budget

1. Start with what you have

When your closet is jam packed full of junk you haven’t worn in months or years, it’s hard to find the good stuff. Start by going through your closet and getting rid of the clothes you haven’t worn in a while.

After that, you’ll be left with the clothes you actually wear and enjoy. You can use these as the “bones” of your new wardrobe.

2. Sell your old clothes

While you’re cleaning out your closet, make a pile of all the clothes you no longer want. If they’re in good condition, you can sell them online, using the proceeds to fund your new wardrobe.

3. Find mix-and-match pieces

Since you’ve now got several good pieces with which to build your wardrobe, sit down and figure out what pieces you need to complete your outfits. For instance, maybe you’re left with several pairs of pants and a plethora of shirts. Is there a vest you could layer over top of your basics to complete your look?

For a mix-and-match wardrobe, choose tops and bottoms in neutral colors, then use pieces like sweaters, shoes, scarves, and vests to make your outfit more fun or sophisticated.

4. Shop on online consignment sites

Thrift stores have long gotten attention from the frugal crowd, but now online consignment shops are popping up. Sites like ThredUp and LikeTwice carry nice, high-quality used clothing for a fraction of the price of buying new. Instead of weeding through a bunch of junk like you do at thrift shops, you can search with confidence on these sites.

ThredUp has actually become my go-to source for nice clothing. I’ve slowly been building my wardrobe by spending $10-$20 at a time.

5. Choose quality pieces

As a frugal-minded person, it’s tempting to cut corners and go for the cheapest item available. Unfortunately, this isn’t always a smart move.

You don’t have to spend a fortune to find quality clothing; buying secondhand will allow you to go for quality on a budget. Pick quality clothing, even if it costs you a couple extra dollars. These clothes will hold up much longer and wear much better.

Creating a wardrobe full of clothes that make you feel good should be looked at as an investment in yourself. Luckily, with some smart shopping and careful planning, this investment doesn’t need to cost you a fortune.

Where do you shop for clothes? Have you tried online consignment stores?

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  • Lisa says:

    Using proceeds from when you sell off your old clothes as a way to fund your new wardrobe is a great idea! I really need to implement this soon!

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