Creating A New Wardrobe For The New Year Without Breaking The Bank

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The new year is a perfect opportunity to leave your old self in the past and emerge as a brand-new person. Whether that means resolving to take charge of your health or finances, or even changing up your personal style, it’s all about embracing the best version of yourself and moving forward in a positive way.

If your style has seemed a bit drab lately and you’re thinking about freshening up your look in 2021, you may feel like a brand-new wardrobe is out of reach from a financial perspective. The good news, though? You completely reinvent yourself without spending a fortune. From taking advantage of t-shirt wholesale prices to learning the art of transforming an outfit from day to night, there are several steps you can take to create a new wardrobe for the new year without breaking the bank. Keep reading to learn more!

Understand Your Income and Expenses

Before you start shopping for a new wardrobe, you need to know how much you can afford to spend, right? But if you are someone who loves clothes, giving yourself a small budget to spend on apparel can feel … well, depressing.

Instead of focusing on how much you can (or can’t) afford to spend, focus on your income and expenses to come up with sort of a reverse budget. Figure out how much money you have coming in each month, then tally up your fixed expenses—things like rent, groceries, prescription medications, etc. Ultimately, these fixed expenses should take up no more than 50 percent of your income. Next, dedicate about 20 percent of your income to savings. You could put it all in a long-term savings account, like a 401k, or split it up to meet your long-term and short-term savings goals. It’s entirely up to you.

Once you’ve accounted for fixed expenses and savings, you should have about 30 percent of your monthly income left over. This money can then be used for lifestyle expenses—going out to eat, gym memberships, and, of course, your new wardrobe.

Take Stock of What You Already Have

When you have your heart set on creating a new wardrobe, the clothes you already have hanging in your closet are the furthest thing from your mind. You shouldn’t rule them out, though! Even if you have several garments you plan on never wearing again, you probably have at least a few items you can keep and incorporate into your new look.

Check your closet and dresser drawers for wardrobe staples like well-fitting jeans, dress pants, and tops. Though you may be trying to reinvent your entire look, you can never go wrong keeping a few classic pieces in neutral colors like black or white. There’s no need to buy everything brand new if you already have some garments in good shape and will work with your new look. Developing a smart wardrobe system that utilizes both old and new pieces saves you money and allows you to create a look that’s all your own.

Save on the Basics, but Know When to Splurge

What’s the difference between a $20 t-shirt and a $1 t-shirt? In most cases, $19. There is simply no reason to overspend on wardrobe basics like t-shirts and hoodies when there are easy ways to get them at a fraction of their retail price.

Shop online for wholesale crewneck sweatshirts, t-shirts, leggings, and other basic garments. You’ll spend way less on each piece, this way, and have more money left over for more “special” pieces.

Knowing when to splurge is just as important as knowing when—and how—to save. Things like shoes and jeans are always worth investing a bit more money in. Why? Their cheaper counterparts tend to wear out quickly, which means they need to be replaced faster and cost more in the long run.

There’s also nothing wrong with splurging on a few statement pieces like a gorgeous top or a stunning jacket. When you use the money you saved on basics to buy those special garments, it all balances out, and you can build a stylish wardrobe without spending a fortune.

Consider Renting Instead of Buying

If you love keeping up with the latest trends and don’t have a ton of money to spend each season, consider renting wardrobe items instead of buying them. With services like Rent the Runway Unlimited, you can gain access to thousands of garments from leading designers for a flat monthly rate. These services allow you to choose pieces that suit your style and, if you find something you love, you can keep it for an additional fee.

Some sites let you rent apparel on an as-needed basis, too. Rather than spending a fortune on a fancy cocktail dress you are likely to only wear once, you can rent one. When you do, you’ll be the most stylish person at the party without breaking the bank. For the cost of purchasing a single dress, you can even rent several different styles for multiple events. Talk about a great way to look like a million bucks without having to spend it!

Sell What You Don’t Love

When money is tight and you’re dying to buy some new clothes, consider turning the garments already hanging in your wardrobe into cash. It’s easy to sell clothes online using the Facebook Marketplace or apps like Poshmark or Mercari, and, when you do, you’ll have extra money to spend on pieces you do love.


Building a new wardrobe for the new year doesn’t have to cost a fortune. While it certainly is easy to overspend when shopping for clothes, there are all sorts of things you can do to create a wardrobe that satisfies your inner fashionista without breaking the bank. With the advice above, you can define your personal style and be the best-dressed person in town even if you are working with a limited budget.

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Potentash Founder. A creative writer and editor at Potentash. Passionate about telling African stories. Find me at [email protected]