how to update your wardrobe on a budget

5 Tips To Keep Your Style Fresh Without Breaking The Bank

When a woman says ‘I have nothing to wear,’ what she really means is, ‘There’s nothing here for who I’m supposed to be today.’ – Caitlin Moran


It’s an age-old question, ‘what am I going to wear today?’ We’ve all stood in front of our often overcrowded closets and proclaimed that we have absolutely nothing to wear. While clearly not a true statement, as evidenced by the fact that so few of us leave the house in our birthday suits, I think Ms. Moran has nailed the sentiment in our frustration. Having nothing to wear is stylistic code for ‘I can’t make my outsides match my insides.’

Getting dressed every day is as much an expression of how we feel as the words we choose to utter. And while our words are rarely in short supply, our available outfit choices can easily render us sartorially inarticulate.

What’s a girl to do when she doesn’t have Carrie Bradshaw’s Barney’s budget to bolster her stale style options? What do you do when your clothes can no longer tell your story?

women's clothing


You can shake things up and watch a new you emerge! As we move into a new season, I’d like to challenge you to try these five tips keep your style fresh. Change is good. I promise!

Style Tip One – Go to a Clothing Swap

This is one of my favorite stay fresh style tools because it kills two birds with one stone. Clothing swaps are a great (and free) way to freshen up your wardrobe with new-to-you items that can help plug the holes in your style choices.

If you’re not familiar with swaps, here’s how they work. A group of friends (and friends of friends) come together (not too close) and bring clothes that they no longer wear/want. Everyone displays their wares and each friend gets to shop the closet of her fellow swappers. Socially-distanced of course!

The saying goes, one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure and clothing swaps are great for clearing the clutter in your own closet while scoring new loot. I’ve never seen a swap where a single person went home empty-handed. And usually, there’s wine!


Style Tip Two – Try Clothing Rentals

Online rental sites have popped up in recent years and saved many a wardrobe from the doldrums of the same old, same old. For a monthly fee, sites like Gwynnie Bee and Rent The Runway allow members to borrow clothes for everyday outfits or special occasions. If you love a piece, you can buy it or you can wear something once and send it right back. These sites are a wonderful way to add fresh choices to your wardrobe without the commitment or expense of buying clothes outright.

Rent The Runway is currently offering $100 off the 8-item plan. Happy New Year!



They’re also great for those times when you’re in between sizes and don’t want to spend your hard-earned cash on pieces you won’t be able to wear when you return to your regular size. By renting, you get to stay stylish and hold on to your cash.

Get a 30-day free trial at Gwynnie Bee and see how you like it!

Style Tip Three – Visit Consignment and Second-Hand Shops

Remember when the Salvation Army was the only game in town when it came to scoring inexpensive hand-me-downs? Yeah, me neither but nowadays there are more ‘vintage’ and second-hand shops than you can shake a stick at. And that includes online marketplaces like ThredUp, Poshmark and The RealReal.

It used to be that the clothes one could find at the Goodwill or at local garage sales were old, musty, and generally undesirable but not any more. With the ultra fast pace of fashion and the amount of people quickly turning over their loot from previous seasons, you can find some amazing deals on- and offline.

Just be sure you can try before you buy, ask the seller lots of questions, and check the return policy for both online and brick and mortar businesses. You don’t want to get stuck with items that looked great to your eye but don’t pass the mirror test.

update your style with accessories

Trunk Club

Style Tip Four – Accentuate with Accessories

I’ve always thought of accessories as the exclamation point of a woman’s outfit. – Michael Kors

Sometimes all you need to express or expand your style is a great piece of jewelry or some fantastic footwear. Statement jewelry and statement shoes can easily take the most casual outfit from whatever to wow in a matter of moments. So the next time you’re throwing on your go-to jeans and a t-shirt, try sliding on a sleek pair of pumps and an armful of bracelets in contrasting colors to add a little oomph.
Keep your style fresh by updating your accessories.


[click_to_tweet tweet=”‘Accessories are the exclamation point of a woman’s outfit.’ – Michael Kors #style #fashion” quote=”‘Accessories are the exclamation point of a woman’s outfit.’ – Michael Kors”]

Style your bracelet stack like a pro with Monica Vinader fine jewelry!

Online retailers like Bauble Bar and ShoeDazzle are great places to shop for trendy, inexpensive accessories.

If you’re up for adding some fine jewelry to your collection without paying full price, check out Jewelry Affairs and use CODE 10FRIENDS for 10% off your first order. It’s a great way to splurge on a budget. For splurging with no budget considerations, try one of my favorite fine jewelry designers, Monica Vinader.

Steve Madden iridescent snakeskin pumps FTW!

Style Tip Five – Take a Beauty Break

Changing your look can be as easy as changing the contents of your beauty bag. Most women find a beauty style they like and stick with it. There’s a lot of value in knowing what looks good on you and going with that, but there’s something to be said for trying new makeup in fresh colors and delicious textures.

When was the last time you bought lipstick in a shade that made you a little uncomfortable? Have you swapped out your tried-and-true brown eyeliner pencil for this season’s dazzling plums, blues or greens?

On a bad day there is always lipstick

Reaching for a new lip color or finish can instantly update your look, brighten your outlook, and change your attitude. Try it! A few brands to try Bite Beauty, Pat McGrath, and Julep.

[clickToTweet tweet=”On a bad day there’s always lipstick! #styletips” quote=”On a bad day, there’s always lipstick!”]


Any one of these tips can help you make sure your outsides always match your insides and you can go a step further by sharing these tips with your friends! That way you can be perfectly matched in pairs or groups. #SquadGoals

Stay saucy, my Lovely!



  1. I needed to read this! And I'm laughing at that quote about bad days and lipstick. Whenever I feel lousy, I wear red lipstick. I say, when in doubt, wear red.

  2. This is a post for a very particular girl I know…. and it isn't me. HAHAHA. I will be sure to be passing this on! Haha. She has more shirts then one could possibly need and yet…. She wears the same ones. =P Which are very cute but she still has stuff with tags!!! lol

  3. I LOVE that quote! That is SO true – I say so many times that I have nothing to wear but it's true, I just don't have anything to wear that is who I am supposed to that day. Love it! And I also agree – accessories are exclamation points of our outfits!

  4. I love consignment. I am able to hop on some of the trends that I know are fun, but that I'm not willing to pay top dollar for. I also get to expand the versatility of my stable pieces.

  5. I'm going to check out the contest. It sounds like it's got some great prizes. 🙂

  6. I think I will go to tip number 3. We have plenty of "Ukau-Ukay" stores here where 2nd hand clothes are sold. Most of the items looks new and worn only once.

  7. I have no idea where my first comment went! I was saying that I love to get pieces or accessories from thrift stores to change up my existing outfits.

  8. I have a very limited wardrobe and I only buy new clothes once in a year or every two years.

  9. It is a great time of year to shake things up in the wardrobe department. I love the cooler weather, you have so many more options to chose from. I looked into renting my daughters prom dress but unfortunately there we not any local places that had this service.

  10. I am going to share that quote with my husband. 😉 I´m glad to say he likes my having a "fresh" style. 🙂

  11. Aha! I think I needed this kind of thing. Revamp my closet and let go of the things I don't waer anymore…

    I am not a fashion person, but with my line of work (Wedding Photographer), i need to look decent on events.. LOL

    Thank you for sharing tips! I'll be back for more!

  12. I'm going to forward this to my girlfriend. She's all about fashion and style.

  13. As a guy, I don't get the importance women put on their clothes. I've never once looked at my closet and thought there was nothing to wear. Yes, my clothes is an extension of my personality but I wear my personality with pride at all times. To say there's nothing there would be to say I don't like who I am and that's a much bigger problem.

  14. I've heard of clothing rentals but haven't tried them yet. More afraid of getting something I'd like and it looks horrible then having to wait for something new again.

    1. You get more than one item at a time and there's bound to be something you like and can wear while you wait for new arrivals. Good luck!

  15. I'm too poor to keep up with style. I say JAMMIES FTW!! Seriously. I have like five billion tshirts, a handful of long sleeve shirts and one pair of jeans to my name 😛 I never leave the house. Can you tell? xD

  16. When I say I have nothing to wear, its actual true lol. I guess I need to get some more clothes. These are some really great tips!

    1. Yes Bonnie! Life is too short not to have your style game in gear!

  17. I've never thought about a clothing swap but that could open up a whole new level of WOW. I'm all about accessorizing and hitting up the consignment shopping. Thank you for the great tips! Love this!

  18. Love these tips! I've been tempted by clothing rental places, realllly interesting tip – thanks!

  19. Haha! You addressed a topic that I loathe so much, what to wear everyday. It is a problem. Luckily I have blogs and tips like yours to help with my struggles. I've heard of clothes swaps before, but never thought of participating. I might consider it if it's more common that I thought they were. I really like going to thrift stores, too. There are always surprises and treasures to find for minimal prices.

  20. I love these tips – a clothing swap is a great idea – and if you've got friends of all different sizes, there's always handbags, accessories & jewelry to swap too!! Thrifting is a passion – a total thrill of the hunt, never knowing if you're going to score a Chanel Dress for $9.99 (my best find even though it was 4 sizes too small, it sold for big bucks on ebay!) Wonderful post!

  21. I'm always scouring the thrift stores, as well as Salvation Army and Goodwill for good finds. My best finds so far includes a like new ABS Allen Schwartz wedding dress (valued at $400) for $15, Betsey Johnson cocktail dress for $10, Black Halo dress for $3, and a Rachel Pally maxi dress for $3.

  22. I've done a clothing swap for my kids, but never myself. I'm sure I'd get better results than just buying some new jewelry & scarves.

  23. Great tips. Totally agree when I say I have nothing to wear , its usually because I don't see anything how I want to express myself or feel that day.

  24. Great post! Love the shoes and the Clothing Swap is something my oldest daughter do often. Thanks for sharing!!

  25. Great advice! After a five year housewife slump, I'm trying to get in the habbit of getting dressed, doing my hair and accessorizing every day, even if I don't have anywhere to be because it boosts my mood and self esteem!

    1. Getting dressed every day is such a huge part of feeling great about yourself. Keep it up!

  26. Love this post! I've always wanted to participate in a clothing swap, not too many people in my area would appease this idea but I like it. I've also checked out consignment shops in my area searching for vintage jewelry because I love mixing antique with modern. Wonderful tips!

  27. Great tips! I have heard about clothing swap (and wanted to add it to my post about keeping style fresh 😀 ) but I have never tried it.

  28. I've been invited to so many clothing swaps and haven't gone yet, something always comes up, it's like the universe is saying keep the clothes lol

  29. Those are some great tips. I would love to try a clothing swap.

    Michelle F.

  30. My daughter totally swears by those clothing swaps. She has found some incredible things that way!

    1. They are amazing and it's amazing how you can sometimes fit the clothes of people with completely different body types.

  31. This is how I feel most days when I look into my closet! I tend to wear a lot of black, so it is a challenge to find different items I like.

  32. Such Great Ideas Never Thought To Go To A Clothing Swap What A New Idea!

    1. Yeah, it's a good one. I hadn't thought about it that way until I found that quote. Spot on!

  33. I have heard of clothing swaps but I've never been to one before. Maybe I will go next time.

  34. I never thought I dress as I feel, that my clothes are an extension of how I feel but looking back now I realize you are right. I'm usually pretty happy with my closet but will keep in mind all your tips once I feel my clothes no longer fulfill my needs 🙂

  35. I needed this post! I am the kind of person to buy a new favorite shirt and wear it to death!

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