Upgrade Your Style Without Spending a Dime: Wardrobe Refresh Hacks

Let’s face it — we are all struggling financially, and especially college students. The no-spend movement has gained momentum because it is effective.

You can update your look without buying new clothing. It’s not impossible.

Do You Have a Style Rut

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We all know the feeling. We all know that feeling.

Style ruts are as common and frustrating as they are annoying.

This sentiment is often met with “But you have a closet full of clothes!”

We have clothes. It is not a problem. Style these items to create an outfit we feel good in and love is the issue.

The reasons for a style slump vary, but the main reason is usually boredom and feeling as if you have tried every possible combination. This rut can make us uncomfortable with our trusted and beloved items.

What is the usual way to fix this? We go shopping.

We bring a shiny, new item in that will make everything come alive with its freshness.

It’s a good idea for a little while.

We’re back in our closet, wondering what to put on. We’re still in the same situation. Shopping hasn’t helped and our wallets have become lighter.

What else can we do without spending money to fix this?

Tips, Tricks & Hacks to Refresh Your Closet

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Let me clarify something before I go into the tips. To begin, you do not have to know the reason that you are stuck.

We get frustrated when we can’t answer the question “why”. For now, put it aside. That part will be at the end.

Here are some simple tips and hacks to help you bring your closet to life again (and to figure out where your rut is):

  • Accessorizing is the key to a great outfit. Focus on the details when wearing your favorite look. What accessories can you change or add? Add something shiny, colorful or patterned. Change your shoes to a pair that is more colorful or stylized.
  • Have fun with your hairstyle. All of us have a hairstyle that we use almost daily. Try experimenting with accessories and your hairstyle. You could add a ribbon, sleek gel or change your parting.
  • Change up your makeup. We tend to stick with the same makeup style, just like we do our hair. Why not switch to a red lip gloss instead of the usual mauve or nude? Or, why not try a fun makeup trend?
  • Layer up. Layers are the best way to revive an item. Or two. Layer two pieces you love, but are tired of. You could layer a tulle under a silk skirt. Layer two jackets to add dimension.
  • Flip it around. There’s always that piece you love, but never wear due to a small detail on the front. It could be that the neckline of the piece is too deep, too modest or has too many details on the front. This makes it difficult to match with other items. Why not wear it the other way around?

A Fashion Guide to Help You Freshen Up Your Closet

Easy Accessorize – Outfit No. 1

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Let’s begin with something simple.

On my busiest or laziest days, I will probably wear this outfit. My favorite jeans and a simple T-shirt.

In this example I am wearing my favorite cotton white t-shirt. This is my favorite way to wear it because it’s not too fitted or loose. I then wore my medium wash boyfriend denim with a French tuck.

Yes, the outfit on the right is very practical. Inspired? Inspired? Makes me feel like me? No.

You can add some layers and accessories to this look and make it completely different. I added a Silk scarf with different shades of blue and golden, and a bit of red. Since it was still cold, I added an navy jacket. To give myself some shape, I used a black crossbody bag.

You can see that I added just three items to one of my favorite outfits.

Nothing is new, and that’s the best part!

The blazer was from my mother’s closet, the scarf belonged to my grandfather and I have had the bag for years.

Now I love the way I look and feel.

Easy Accessorize – Outfit 2

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Let’s now tackle a more polished outfit.

You know that you look great in these looks. They are your go-tos when you need to quickly put something *nicer* together, but comfortable.

This is what I would say:

I am wearing a boxy, striped T-shirt and a pair loose, pinstripe pants. If you know me, I’m a fan of layering, so I’d probably add a biker jacket for a bit more texture, and finish the look with Converse.

This look is amazing. I’ve worn this look countless times but I don’t wear it as often because I get tired of it.

decided to add some color to bring it to life. To achieve this, I swapped my usual gold earring for a pair large red and gold drop earrings. I chose a Red Purse with an interesting shape to finish off the look.

The same outfit is the same, but adding some color makes it look different. Red is more noticeable when combined with black and white.

Now instead of being lazy, black and white is the perfect backdrop to a statement piecelike a purse.

Play with Your Hair, Medium – Outfit #3

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Matching Sets look great and are easy to wear. It’s hard to wear the same combination over and over again without getting bored.

This is my favorite set out of all the ones I own.

You may recognize this set if you have been following my blog for some time. This is a high-necked green shirt with loose-fitted pants.

For this look, I typically choose between two shoe options: either my Adidas Stan Smiths (as seen here) or a pair off-white booties. I chose the White and Green Stan Smith Adidas for today.

The left look is comfortable. I’d wear it any day.

I only use it when I am in a hurry or uninspired.

To upgrade this outfit I decided to make some spacebuns. To add some fun, I switched my gold earrings to a pair green geometric earrings.

Although the changes were small, they had a dramatic effect on the look.

This attention to detail again gives the appearance of intentionality. Although I am still comfortable in the set, I do not feel as tired of it as I used to.

Think of your favorite set as a blank slate to experiment with. You can add accessories or play around with the hair.

Play with your Makeup Medium – Outfit # 4

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White button-up shirt, jeans and a jacket or coat in black.

This is my version of the combo. I am wearing a loose-fitting, high-waisted pair of jeans with a white buttoned-up shirt. For a little texture, I added a black suede jacket. I finished off with my Nikes in white.

It’s a great look. I wear this or a variation of it a lot. Especially when I go to work.

I need to add more color and pizzazz.

First, I styled a half-ponytail. Then I added a ribbon. After that, I used glittery eyeshade and added blush and highlighter. Last but not least, I changed my mauve lipstick for red.

You can change your look with a new hairstyle and makeup. Hair and makeup are just as important as selecting the right shoes or purse.

Try changing your hair or makeup first if you are tired of the way you look.

Layer It Up, Difficult Outfit #5

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A striped button-up shirt with jeans and boots is another common outfit combination.

When I want to look cool and effortless, I like to wear this.

On the left I am wearing a white and blue striped button-up, tucked into a pair wide-leg black jeans. black Chelsea boots were my choice for shoes. When I want to look effortless, I will put my hair up using a hair clip .

This outfit used to be my favorite. This outfit made me feel effortless, cool and chic. Now I feel uninspired and tired.

How did I alter the outfit to the right? Layering is the art.

In this example, I have unbuttoned the shirt a little and untucked it. Then I put on a denim jacket, and buttoned up the jacket. I pulled the shirt cuffs up over the cuffs on the jacket and popped the collar.

Can you see that one item can affect everything?

This looks so fresh and cool with the little peeks from the shirt underneath the jacket. You could switch the shirt and jacket, especially since we don’t normally button up jackets in this way.

For more information on how to layer with ease, please read this article.

Layer It Up, Difficult Outfit #6

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We all have the same dress.

You know the one: it fits you perfectly, looks great with everything and is 100 percent your style. It’s likely that you have had it for many years.

You feel that you have worn the item too many times and exhausted all combinations. Me, too.

This item can be found in my closet.

If you’ve read my articles for some time, you will probably recognize this. I’m wearing a beautiful black and white floral mid-length dress.

This piece is perfect for any occasion, whether casual or dressy. This time I’m wearing a pair black booties.

How can I revive it after wearing it for the past four or five year? It’s easy! Just layer it with your favorite recent piece.

I like a mix of patterns, so I added a leopard-print dress under the floral one. Then I added a brown crossbody bagto add more of the color palette in leopard print.

The leopard print dress’ mock neck, sleeves and skirt have the perfect length to create a peekaboo effect. Both dresses are neutral in color and have black as a common element.

This is a mix that I think is fun and playful without being too loud. It’s fun and playful, but not too loud.

Try something similar using polka-dots and stripes. You can also layer a large floral print with a smaller floral print.

For more information on mixing patterns, please read this article.

Turn It Around, Difficult Outfit #7

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Let’s now cover the items that *almost* are perfect. These items would be perfect if not for the neckline and front details.

You may be tired of the way your piece looks.

These items are usually V-necked. The V-neck is a great idea, but I don’t think it suits me. V-necks look odd on me because I have a small breast.

Beautiful red knitted v-neck Dress is one example.

It’s comfortable and I wear it this way, with just white sneakers. It can be layered with a sweater or a jacket. It looks better with a buttoned-up shirt, but it has buttons already on the front.

To fix both of these problems I simply turned the around. Now I can work with a higher neckline, and a more clean look in front.

The new high-neck of the dress is ideal for pairing with a stripe button-up shirt. To tie in the stripes I added a suede black coat. To continue the theme of red, I changed the sneakers for red boots.

You can expand your wardrobe by wearing items backwards. This hack is one I use often because I like a deep V in the back.

Many of you may wonder if the buttons at the back are a strange detail, but they add an interesting touch to the design.

Turn It Around, Difficult Outfit #8

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Wrap dresses will be my last example.

They are *ideas* I like, but they don’t always fit me. The V-necked items are the same as the ones I’ve had trouble with: they don’t always wrap properly, and I have to pin the pieces where I want them.

This navy floral wrap dress serves as a great example. It is so beautiful, that I make it the focus of my outfit and tone down the accessories and shoes. It would look great with black booties, and a black bag.

When I wear this dress I am never completely comfortable with the neckline or where the ties stop.

I put it on backward to fix the problem.

I like the way the back is open. It gives the outfit a more sexy vibe. I then decided to go for the color and added red leggings, as well as swapped the black shoes with a pair of red booties. To make the outfit more colorful, I switched out the black purse with a Red purse.

A tiny detail has changed my opinion of this item. It’s the first time I have worn it this way, and I can’t believe I never thought of it before. The creative freedom I felt when wearing it backward was amazing.

Final Thoughts

It can be difficult to break out of a style rut. I get it. It’s something I’ve done countless times.

You may be having a difficult time at school or at work. Your personal style might have changed and you no longer feel connected to your wardrobe.

All of these reasons have happened to me at least once.

I experienced the latest style rut relating to body changes a few months ago.

Before I knew what I was doing, I went shopping to buy new things. They didn’t perform as I had expected. I was frustrated, and I felt a little sad. I didn’t know what was happening. I loved the colors and patterns of my clothes. However, I couldn’t get them to look the way I wanted.

Instead of shopping, I used all the tips and tricks above to get inspired.

Finally, I realized that I felt this way because I have been changing my body and the clothes now fit differently. After figuring out how to make it work, I was relieved.

I could now donate items that I knew didn’t fit me, repurpose clothes where the fabric was beautiful but the fit was not, and create a list of items I would need to buy in the right size.

It’s not necessary to buy new clothes or find out why you are stuck in a rut. It’s important to look at your clothes differently.

If you use these tips to refresh your closet before you get rid of anything or shop for new clothes, you will be able to better understand your own style.

Try it out and let me how it goes.

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