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Everyday Cheapskate: 6 Easy Ways to Upgrade Your Wardrobe Without Spending a Dime

Mary Hunt on

Could your wardrobe use a long overdue boost? Maybe you're eyeing a career move, aiming to project a more polished image at work or simply looking to raise the bar when it comes to school drop-offs and PTA meetings.

Perhaps you're diving back into the dating scene or could just use a little pick-me-up. Sure, some might shrug off the ideas that follow, and that's OK; not every piece here fits every puzzle. Yet, like it or not, the ways we present ourselves to the world influences how the world treats us.

We can debate fairness, preach about inner beauty or claim immunity to superficial judgments, but reality often has its own script, advises Daisy Luther, author of the website The Frugalite. The good news? You don't need a shopping spree to refine your style. In fact, you can elevate your look using what's already hanging in your closet.

What follows are timely tips Daisy offers to help us present a polished appearance to the world using the clothing we already have.

No. 1: Get rid of things that does not look good on you.

You don't need to hang onto every piece of clothing you've accumulated over the years. In today's world of social media and TV showcases, overflowing closets might seem like the pinnacle of prosperity. But let's be real here -- less clutter means more clarity and peace of mind. Embrace the truth that most of us wear only 20% of the clothes we own. Everything else is clutter, taking up space. Sell, donate, do whatever it takes to move things out. Can't bring yourself to completely part with them? Stash them away for "someday." (If you do this, remove them from your day-to-day wardrobe so you aren't tempted to wear them.)

No. 2: Mend your clothing.

Got some clothes in need of a little TLC? Let's talk maintenance because, let's face it, neglected garments just scream sloppy. From droopy hems to loose threads, unraveled seams and missing buttons, these are all fixable faux pas that can transform your look from disheveled to dapper in a snap.

A frugal habit of our friend Daisy is to toss things that require mending in a basket beside where she sits to watch television. The basket contains a thorough sewing kit. "Whenever I sit down to watch television," says Daisy, "I pick up something that needs fixing and do my mending while watching some Netflix."

No. 3: Iron or steam your clothing.

When it comes to making your existing clothes presentable, there's nothing quite like a good, old-fashioned press to take them up a notch. Here are a couple of budget-friendly tricks that can breathe new life into your wardrobe:

-- Hang your desired outfit in the bathroom while you take a hot shower. The steam works wonders in relaxing wrinkles.

-- Toss the garment into the dryer along with a damp washcloth. Just make sure to use a cloth from the same color family to avoid any contrasting lint mishaps on your ensemble.


No. 4: Maintain your shoes.

Footwear are the unsung heroes of any outfit. Nothing kills a look faster than scuffed, dirty or worn-out footwear, shouting neglect. The good news? It's often an easy fix. Sometimes, all your shoes need is a good scrub or polish to regain their charm.

If you're dealing with high-quality shoes showing signs of wear and tear, it might be worth a trip to a local shoe repair. While I wouldn't splurge on repairs for cheaper shoes that can easily be replaced, I'd gladly invest in restoring those pricey gems from days gone by.

No. 5: Create outfits from what you have.

Now that your clothes are looking sharp, well-kept and crease-free, it's time to curate some stylish and sophisticated outfits. As a frequent traveler, Daisy swears by the versatility of a capsule wardrobe, ensuring everything mixes and matches seamlessly.

Spread out your everyday bottoms on the bed, and keep your tops neatly hung in the closet. Next, pair each bottom with various tops to find winning combinations. Don't hesitate to try them on for a firsthand look. You might consider organizing your outfits by hanging them together for quick and easy dressing. Keeping a wardrobe notebook handy can also help track your favorite combinations.

If you're seeking some fashion inspiration, hop onto Pinterest and explore the type of outfit you have in mind. You'll discover a plethora of ideas to spark your creativity and help you assemble stunning looks from your existing wardrobe.

No. 6: Use a lint roller.

For the love of all things lovely and stylish, use a lint roller before you leave the house! It's a quick step that takes just a few seconds but helps you to look crisp and clean. This isn't just important if you have pets. All of us encounter various fuzzies that can so easily attach themselves to clothing. It's not a good look and something that is so easily rectified.

Clothing is not optional, but spending a lot of money on it is. Upgrading the clothing you have is an efficient way to carry out what mothers everywhere have advised for decades. When you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, you do good!


Mary invites you to visit her at, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at, "Ask Mary." This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

Copyright 2024 Creators Syndicate Inc.




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