Building a wardrobe on a budget

July 30, 2018

Building  a wardrobe on a budget

Hint: it’s not always about the most affordable shoes and clothes…

Every few years, it’s important to do an audit of your wardrobe. This is because:

  1. You change size and need to cull clothes that don’t fit
  2. Fashion moves on and it’s time to chuck out some of the things at the back of your wardrobe that could be more accurately classed as “memorabilia” than “fashion” and most importantly of all:
  3. Your style will change over time and every now and again it’s great to look at your wardrobe with fresh eyes and make conscious choices that support your new personal statement.

I’ve moved on; my wardrobe hasn’t…


When I turned 40 late last year, I had a good look through all my clothes and I realised that parts of my wardrobe were stuck in a time warp. And not just a style warp; a mutton-dressed-as-lamb warp.
I had babydoll dresses I wore in my 20s stuffed back there. I could probably just about pull it off when I was still a slender 30-something but by the time I hit 40, it just didn’t feel right. Especially after a lovely girl in the supermarket asked me, “Is this your first baby…?”

It made me realise, I’m still just habitually shopping the way I shopped ten or 15 years ago even though a lot of things about my style have moved on. So I had a good hard look at my wardrobe and asked myself, what is my style now?

I also took some cues from a couple of friends who just happen to be professional stylists and know a lot about looking fabulous!

I then hit the shops and I have to say I feel WAY more stylish and way more ME since I updated my wardrobe. And the great news is, it doesn’t have to cost a bomb.

Here are my seven tips for a wardrobe overhaul on a budget


Invest in basics

Make a list of the staples in your wardrobe. What are the shapes and styles you wear all the time and are there some classic, versatile items missing that would really complement what you already have? Make a list and go shopping!

Choose versatile items

Multiply your outfits by choosing items you can mix and match. Instead of five outfits from ten pieces, you might have a dozen outfits using creative combinations and different accessories.

Splurge or save?

You don’t have to break the bank. Particularly when buying trendy items that will come and go quickly, you can pick them up affordably from chain stores and fast fashion brands.

You may wish to splash out more on a classy investment piece that will stay with you for several seasons – like a well tailored blazer.



Supplement with key trends 

If you flick through fashion magazines and dismiss most of what you see as too “out there” or unrealistic for your personal style, that’s ok; nobody really dresses that way in real life.

The key is to choose one or two statements that you really like and combine those with your basics to tailor a look that is on-trend but still you.

That way you can keep your style contemporary without breaking the bank or looking like a fashion victim.

Take notes

Keep track of gaps in your wardrobe when you notice them (I wish I had a classic blazer. I wish I had a pair of nude fishnets).

This will help you shop sensibly and avoid wasting money on impulse-buys because you’re frustrated that you have “nothing to wear”.




Pop that colour!

Most people have a wardrobe full of black, monochrome prints and one or two key colours they like. Transform your entire look by choosing one or two key accessories,
such as a scarf, statement necklace or shoes, in a colour pop that contrasts with your key colours.

Experiment with colours that are opposite on the colour wheel for a high impact look that will bring your wardrobe to life. If you love purple, try a burst of yellow. Into navy? Work an orange colour

Pace yourself

You don’t have to buy AAAALLLL the things all at once. Half the fun is building up your wardrobe over time. Wait til the special pieces you want go on sale. For example, keep an eye on the Shoe Envy Clearance sale for new bargains at the end of each season…

Buy a few new toys now and play with them until you get bored; then buy some more. This game can go on indefinitely!

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