Fall is an exciting time of newness. You’re getting fresh, clean notebooks, picking out the perfect backpack, choosing a back-to-school outfit, and just overall refreshing your wardrobe. Because of that excitement, and the fact that stores know that shopping has to occur come August, it is no surprise that falll shopping can be expensive, especially when it comes to clothing.

However, I really want to push back against the idea that we need a whole new wardrobe every fall. Did we really wear out all our jeans? Are we actually going to wear those new clothes often, or end up relying on our favorite t-shirts? Instead, can we be innovative and refresh our wardrobes for a new year without going broke?

Let’s take a look at some ways to do that.

Cut the fat

I have a lot of clothes. So many, actually, that it’s overwhelming and I end up grabbing the same things instead of sorting through my options. By cutting the fat, I’m able to focus on what actually fits, what coloring works for me, what doesn’t have holes in it, et cetera. Every few months I go through and try on things I haven’t worn in awhile and figure out why. Bad purchase? Needs tailored? Out of season? If I just don’t like it, or know I won’t wear it, I cut the fat, bag them up, and donate them to a local shelter. 

Figure out why you’re not wearing what you’re not wearing

Once you’ve cut the obvious fat, you’ll be left with some pieces you love, but you never wear them. Ask yourself, why is that? Is it too short? Is there a way you can lengthen it? Does it just need a good cleaning, maybe by a professional? Or, is there something missing that could help it become a staple of your wardrobe? When I last did my big clean out, I realized I needed a new pair of black pointed flats to wear some cute skirts I got, and when I bought those, boom, now I could wear those skirts. Take some time to think about how you can wear what you already own before just going to buy a whole new wardrobe. It’s a lot easier to buy one new pair of shoes opposed to a dozen new items. 

Swap among friends

If you’ve got some clothes you’ve simply outgrown, things that don’t fit but are still good condition, try doing a swap with your friends. You take their boyfriend jeans they just can’t style, they take your teal heels you never wear anymore, it’s a win-win for everyone.

Clean your shoes & bags

Having a freshly cleaned bag and sparkling new shoes makes every outfit pop, but that doesn’t mean you need to break the bank buying new ones every month. Instead, learn how to clean them so they look as good as new! This could mean giving them a good scrub and a run through the washing machine, or buying leather cleaner. Keep an eye on your accessories throughout the year and routinely clean them to keep them functional for longer. For example, I give my white converse sneakers a good scrub and bleaching every month or so, and they look nice and white all year long.

Trade in your jeans

I’ve only recently had more than one or two pairs of jeans I like at a time, so I become the queen of jean trade-ins through the years. Yes, I recommend buying jeans on sale, but when you do want brand new jeans, take an old pair and trade them in at places like Madewell to get $20 or so off your purchase of new jeans. It’s a great way to be a little thrifty.

Buy multi-purpose items

I prefer to buy staple pieces I can pair with lots of other things. For example, I found this beautiful maroon blouse that looks good with jeans, a particular corduroy skirt I have, and for casual outfits. I also don’t have a ton of shoes but I have pairs that can go with lots of outfits, not just the “perfect” one I bought with them in mind.

If you love it, and it’s on sale, buy multiples

I love buying things I love in multiple colors. It’s an addiction. A shirt that looks great on me? I’ve got it in navy, maroon, white, black, I would buy it in every color imaginable if I they made them. I did the same thing with a skirt when it went on sale — I have it in nine colors. I’m not even kidding. It’s insane, but I love those skirts, they were $9 a piece, and I have no regrets. Don’t splurge if you don’t love them, but don’t be afraid to have staple pieces in multiple colors. It’s an easy way to update your wardrobe on the cheap. Buy a new skirt you know you like in a fresh color for the season.

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member