Three Ways to Update Your Wardrobe Without Shopping

Sustainable style means doing more with what you already own and hitting the pause button shopping.

What marketing and retailers want us to think is that shopping is the answer to great style. Turns out that is not the case. It is possible to update your wardrobe and style without shopping.

 What you have is usually enough and sometimes more than enough.

Even better news – You don’t need to lose weight, throw away all your clothes or spend big money on a designer wardrobe. While putting together an outfit for the day can be the most difficult part, there are ways to make it easy and creative. Not knowing where to start – shoes, shirt, color, etc. can be overwhelming. Assuming for now that you have clothes that fit you and you have clothes in your closet, here are three ways to update your wardrobe.

Three ways to update your wardrobe without shopping:

1. Stop asking “does it match?” and use color theory! My clients probably want to put a sock in my mouth about this topic but I can’t emphasize it enough. The concept of matching is subjective. A better to question to ask is, “Does it coordinate?” or “Does it pair?” To answer the questions, you use color theory. There are two principles for color theory: analogous color pairing and complementary color pairing. Complementary colors are those opposite each other on the color wheel and analogous colors are those next to each other on the color wheel. Complementary and analogous colors are a way to take your color pairings from mundane to above average. If you have a lot of color in your closet, use color theory as your passport to explore! Create new looks simply by using complementary or analogous color pairings (or both when wearing prints!).

2. Change the shoes! Shoes are a great way to change the formality of an outfit and also take your outfits from season to season. Close-toed shoes like heels, flats and boots are all fall/winter appropriate in darker colors. For spring/summer sandals, peep toe heels, espadrilles and wedge sandals work to signify a seasonal change. Sandals with lighter colors and bright patterns are appropriate for spring/summer. For fall/winter consider black, dark gray, navy, including formal textures such as suede. By changing out your footwear with the same garments from season so season, you can effortlessly transition seasonally without breaking the bank or requiring a second closet.

3. “Demote” your clothes. Demoting is a concept I read about in a style book. Demoting is the concept that you take clothes you wear for one situation and demote them to a more casual situation or part of your wardrobe. What do you do – before going shopping and finding the thing you think you need, consider this – can you demote something to fill that gap? You may find that you have a number of “worn” items from your nicer clothes that will work well for your casual style. Then that means you really need to shop for items in your professional/career style.

If you have a clothing item that you love to wear but it’s not as nice as it used to be, consider wearing it in your casual/personal time so you can continue to enjoy it. Don’t think that because you can’t wear it the same way you used to that it’s no longer of value to you.

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