I love shopping for clothes. In my past, I frequently clogged up my inbox by signing up for too many mailing lists for that sweet, sweet “10% off your first order” deal. However, in recent years I’ve become quite the minimalist, and I’ve also realized I’d rather spend my paycheck on takeout. So, when it comes down to it, I now buy way fewer clothes than my heart truly desires. Instead, when I get the urge to purchase my 15th pair of boots or am feeling otherwise uninspired in my fashion life, I turn to the the one place with an abundance of free clothes all conveniently in my size: My closet. I push my consumerist tendencies aside and bask in the challenge of making my old clothes feel new again.
So, here are four ways to shop your own closet, whether you’re simply bored with your wardrobe or, like me, are attempting to save money for the prestigious Audrey Can’t Cook and Wants to Eat Out Fund.
Have your friends style you
Now that we’re living in the future, you can go full Cher Horowitz and let an app pick your outfit, but it’s generally more fun to get your friends involved. My friends know my fashion sense and my comfort zone with my style, and also can pinpoint the same three outfits I wear over and over. So, they know how to put together an outfit from my closet that I would never think to pick. Friends provide a fresh eye and can give you a gentle push to try something a little different. I know I’ve made my friends try out styling their clothes in ways that were initially out of their comfort zones, only for them to grow to love it (#humblebrag).
Look for inspiration
I am very guilty of obsessing over fictional TV characters’ fashion sense and trying to shop their style. In college, I purchased an unfathomable amount of leggings inspired by Ilana Wexler. (Here’s the proof.) However, you don’t need to spend your paycheck on ASOS like past me. Simply revisiting your closet and trying to style outfits like your favorite character can help you bring back that top you haven’t worn in a year or make you excited to wear that blazer you’ve had trouble styling.
Don’t have a TV fashion icon? Try scrolling through Instagram. Make sure you save any posts with outfits you like to a collection; that way you can look through your saved posts later and try to recreate the looks.
DIY your old clothes
I am the queen of getting bored with a shirt, cutting it into a crop top, and then getting rid of it two weeks later because I did a horrible job. However, if you have more patience and skill than me (which, to be fair, is a very low bar), you can actually make your old clothes into something wearable.
There are plenty of YouTube videos and Pinterest Boards that can help you change your old long-sleeved tee into an acid wash tank or make ripped clothes into #fashion instead of garbage (which also helps the planet, snaps for recycling).
Reorganize your closet
In my tiny New York City apartment, clothes tend to be shoved to the back of the closet or drawers due to lack of space. So, every couple of months, I rotate clothes and reorganize my wardrobe. Pieces in the back move front and center and make it easier for me to grab in the morning when I’m getting dressed. Changing up the organization of your closet can remind you of clothes you buried under other things or make you more inclined to wear an item you’ve been neglecting.
For 20-somethings on a budget, shopping for new clothes just because you’re bored with what you have isn’t the most advisable. For me, working with what I already have is a fun challenge that helps assuage my urge to shop and reminds me to actually wear the items I’ve already spent money on. So, next time your favorite store has a sale, I urge you to stay strong, close your wallet, and head to your closet.
Originally published on October 2, 2018.