4 Ways To Change Up Your Wardrobe When You Can't Afford New Seasonal Pieces

by Katie Mather

Fashion trends are seasonal, but chances are, your disposable income isn't.

That means staying up-to-date on what is and isn't fashionable can easily become an expensive upkeep. You've probably realized that replacing your wardrobe every season isn't realistic or practical, which means staying on-trend has a budgetary limit.

But sticking to a budget doesn't mean you have to be unfashionable.

You can balance between the needs of the ever-changing fashion world and your own available income to create a stylish and chic wardrobe that is multifunctional and flattering.

You just have to identify some core rules of building a versatile wardrobe.

Collect some basics

A good wardrobe needs staple pieces. These are the items of clothing that form the basis for many of your outfits that you'll be wearing on a regular basis and washing often. Staples should be neutral colors, well-fitting and comfortable.

Start by building a checklist of what you need for your wardrobe, and then look into stores like Target and Forever 21 to collect.

These should include basics like tank tops, short and long sleeve t-shirts and button-downs.

The internet has a treasure trove of staples in available multiple colors. A set of tank tops in beige, white, black and pink, for example, can help diversify your outfits and help in matching items of clothing.

Basics also include shoes, which means one pair of work shoes (something professional and ideally black), one pair of tennis shoes, one pair of sandals and one pair of nice dress shoes.

Hit up outlet stores.

Although basics are crucial to a wardrobe, they're not the fun part. Getting clothing that's more up-to-date and fashionable can come with a hefty price tag, but a good way to alleviate that is to make use of outlet stores.

These stores can be great tools for your wardrobe, as the items in them are usually just barely out-of-date and are typically sold at deeply discounted prices.

It's important when outlet shopping to be aware that not every purchase is a steal. Make sure to evaluate the clothing to ensure there are no tears or stains on it, and be sure to try it on, as outlet stores often sell products as final sale and don't accept returns.

If utilized correctly, an outlet store can give you access to more unique pieces for your collection without charging full retail price and breaking the bank.

Make use of what's available to you, but be sure to double-check the deals and research online before you buy.

Go thrift shopping.

Although it can be tedious to find clothing in thrift stores, they can often be home to hidden treasures.

Older clothes tend to be more well-made than newer clothes, and as people rummage through their closets and get rid of what they're no longer interested in, they can often shed some very fashionable vintage clothing.

Designer clothing can often make its way into a thrift store for less than $10, and the great variety of items from a huge number of brands means you're guaranteed more variety than a standard shop, and you're likely to find something one-of-a-kind that can stand out in your wardrobe.

Thrift shopping effectively is all about patience.

As your rummage through clothing, keep an open mind about how a piece can fit into your wardrobe. Be sure to try anything on before purchase. Just because it's cheap doesn't mean it's automatically a good purchase.

Rethink your outfits.

The best way to build a wardrobe is to learn how to evaluate your current one.

What clothing options do you have? What matches with what? Are there season-specific pieces in your wardrobe that aren't usable at other times of the year?

Every top and bottom you own will be a potential outfit combination, so think strategically about color matching and outfit creation.

Neutral colors can mix well with each other or can be accented by a pop of color. Layering can add dimension to your outfits, particularly in the cooler months, and accessories can serve as statement pieces that keep your outfits fresh and creative.

Staying fashionable on a budget can be a challenge, but if you keep in mind basic concepts such as color matching and working off of neutrals, your outfits can stay chic and in fashion for multiple seasons to come without needing to replace pieces regularly.