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3 Ways to Upcycle Your Wardrobe on the Cheap

Published May 25, 2015

 

Jeans, shorts, tops and dresses are a fun way to express your personality, but they can get become a burden on your wallet if you aren’t careful. It’s even harder to cut down on clothing costs if you aren’t savvy with a sewing machine or even a pair of scissors.

 

With some creative thinking, you can upcycle your existing threads in a frugal and economical way. Upcycling clothes not only saves money, it also helps conserve materials and therefore the environment. Read on for a few simple ways to save money and materials.

 

1. Host a Clothing Swap

 

You swapped clothes with your college roommate on the daily, why not exchange skinny jeans as a responsible adult now? Let your friends know you’re hosting a clothing swap party. There’s no need to get fancy; notify 3­5 of your most trendsetting friends via email, directing them to purge their closet of any outfits that are no longer their taste (or size).

 

Have everyone gather at your place, clothing in tow. Then have fun spending a free afternoon trying on new things, then swap as needed. You can trade jewelry and shoes, too. Just make sure exchanges are fair.

 

2. Take Up Thrift Shopping

 

There’s a misconception that thrift stores are only for those on a super tight budget. Even if your bank account has change to spare, shopping at discount retail stores will save you money for future shopping sprees, frivolous or otherwise. If you are in the need for a new pair of slacks, for example, a thrift store is bound to have multiple colors and labels available to choose from for a fraction of the usual, high price shops. If you are new to thrift stores (or “consignment” stores), schedule in a bit more time to scour the racks.

 

If you usual take 90 minutes to find the perfect pair of pants at a typical clothing store, you will probably need an additional half hour to account for finding the perfect fit. Bring the shoes you will most likely wear so you can get the length right, so you don’t have to pay for a costly alteration.

 

3. Look Up Your Local Garage Sales

 

Remember those long summer days that began with your mother insisting you join her for early morning garage sale excursions? While they might have seemed like torture as a child, those days are worth revisiting. If you are new to garage and yard sale shopping, you might want to start out by just following local signs posted around the neighborhood. Head in early so you can get the best selection. Make friendly small talk with the owner; not only will they be more likely to cut you a good deal, they’ll work with you to see if they have anything in particular that fits your fashion sense. Once you have gotten the hang of haggling and understanding which neighborhoods have the best clothing options, you can branch out to looking up ads and planning out your route.

 

Getting a great deal on clothes doesn’t have to be a headache. With a little time and patience, you’ll be looking trendy and timeless, at a fraction of the cost. And, even more important, you’ll be helping to conserve resources, keeping our world green.

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