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How to Update Your Look Without Blowing Your Budget

Most adults slowly build a wardrobe that better suits their lifestyle than the grungy, casual clothes they donned throughout high school and even college. Piece by piece, they create their image, one that is appropriate to the life they lead, including the industry they work in, the import of their position, and the extracurricular activities they participate in. Even so, trends are ever-changing, and the style of clothing you wore a few years ago when you graduated college or started a new job may no longer be suitable for your needs or your professional position. Perhaps you’ve been promoted or you’ve entered a completely different industry. Maybe you’ve taken up sports and the exercise wear in your closet doesn’t meet the demands of your current workout regimen. Even your casual clothes may be worn or outdated, or you might have gained or lost weight over the years. In any case, you could be looking to update your wardrobe. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got an endless supply of cash on hand to cover the expense. So here are just a few ways to update your look when you’re working on a tight budget.

The place to start is by replacing the wardrobe essentials that act as the basis for most of your outfits, including an LBD, a suit (jacket, slacks, and skirt), a neutral dress shirt, a fitted blazer, a classic trench, and some simple, black pumps and flats. These items can be used in myriad combinations to with nearly any additional pieces you might pair them with in order to create complete outfits. Since they’ll form the base of any new wardrobe, you may want to splurge a bit to ensure that the pieces you pick are durable, that they fit you like a glove, and that the style is timeless (so they don’t look outdated in just a few years). Keep in mind that you can spend a little less on starter pieces that don’t fit perfectly and then take them to a local alterations shop – the end result will be clothing that looks like it was made for you. The point is, if you’re going to splurge on anything it should be the fundamental pieces that are going to last you the longest, and choosing the right ones can mean that you won’t have to pay to replace them any time soon.

Next you’ll need some filler pieces, and this is where you can save a lot of money on updating your wardrobe. The remainder of your closet will fill up with dresses, blouses, slacks or jeans, and an assortment of jackets and cardigans that can act as finishing pieces, as well as workout clothes and casual weekend wear. And there are several ways to save. For one thing, you could look into lightly used second-hand clothing. Stores like Buffalo Exchange only take items that are in fantastic condition, and they often have brand new overstock pieces, as well. With a good tailor on your side, these garments can be made to fit you perfectly. You might also try discount stores like Ross, Marshall’s, and T.J. Maxx, which sell deeply discounted name-brand apparel.

The thing to remember is that most pieces don’t have to be expensive in order to work. For example, you should never spend a lot on casual garments like t-shirts and jeans that you may replace annually or even seasonally because of the wear and tear they go through. Instead, reserve your splurges for the pieces that are going to last and provide you with the most versatility. With your leftover funds you can pine after a few special pieces like Louis Vuitton handbags and Manolo Blahnik heels (found at sample sales or outlet stores, of course).

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