4 Cheap Ways To Freshen Up Your Wardrobe For Fall

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For me, nothing says “fall” quite like lighting a scented candle with a name like “Crisp Morning At The Apple Farm,” putting the Angela Anaconda Halloween song on repeat, and tucking into a package of fall-themed Oreos. Oh, and the fashion. The freaking fashion. The reason we keep trucking through during all of the other the Non-Autumn days of the year. I (like everyone??? obviously?) pretty much live for the season when I can basically wrap myself in layered blankets and call it ~style~. In fact, the clothes are pretty much the only thing I like about fall. (I’ve been pretty open about how much I despise cold weather, and fall = cold is coming. Not good for Mary.) But hey — what if you’re on a tight budget, and simply can’t swing the purchase of another gahd-damn chunky infinity scarf? You might be asking “How can I *possibly* celebrate fall without spending a fortune updating my wardrobe?” Fear not, my fall-loving friends. I’m here to help.

I’m a self-proclaimed clothing hoarder (but not in the sad, wasteful way, I swear), because I seriously just love beautiful clothes more than almost anything else on God’s green earth. But even I have to admit that at a certain point, adding another sweater to my closet is excessive and borderline fucked up. So instead of going ~fall shopping~ this season, I’ve decided to go ~fall re-creating~. I’ve Googled and Pinterest-ed high and low, as well as pored over every glossy page of every fashion magazine that hit my doorstep like it was my damn job. (Can we discuss real quick how fat September Vogue was? I used it as a booster seat in the car today and it raised me a solid four inches.) I’ve now come up with these tips to update your wardrobe and freshen it the heck up for fall without spending more than a few bucks.

1. Expand your belt wardrobe.

I lived many years of my life adamantly against belts. But being entirely anti-belt during my youth is something I wholly and truly regret now, because I’ve realized something: they’re an extremely useful, utilitarian accessory, but they are also hella friggin’ cute. I’ve been known to complain that “Wahhh my jeans are too big!” and then spend a heck-ton of money replacing my jeans (and we all know that good denim doesn’t exactly come cheap) when I could have just been wearing a belt.

I’ve exercised my newfound belt appreciation by wearing them with basically every outfit: jeans, dresses, even pants without belt loops (which is certainly a steep challenge, but one that I accept nonetheless). The good thing about belts is that, while you can certainly splurge and get a nice, high-quality one, the ones that cost between five and ten dollars tend to do the trick and function just fine. When I was first building my belt wardrobe, I bought a bunch of different ones for probably $3 each at H&M, and they all are still in perfect condition despite getting truly constant wear. Alternate title for this post: An Open Letter To Belts: You Have Changed My Fashion Life.

2. Add a bandana or small neck scarf to basically everything.

This trend is everywhere, and while I’m not suggesting that you should live your life by what the man is telling you to do (and by “the man” I basically mean “Instagram fashion accounts”) it is hella cute and one of the cheapest ways to update your wardrobe this fall. Here’s how it works: Step 1 — get a lil scarf. Step 2 — tie that sucker to something. Your neck, your hair, your bag, your belt loops, your wrist. Basically anywhere it fits. It automatically makes you look 10x cooler for some reason, and you can basically buy one for a dollar at a gas station. (Or like, Target, if you want to be fancy.)

3. Try an easy DIY on an old piece.

Try as I might, I’ve never been very talented with my sewing machine. I love the idea of making my own clothes, but more than anything, I prefer to stick to super simple DIY projects on old clothes that are, um, already made. They are usually free, or very cheap to complete, and adding some simple DIY into my life has prevented me from tossing or donating lots of clothing I wasn’t wearing because I finally was able to figure out a way to make it work in my wardrobe. A super easy trend this fall that you can follow for absolutely-friggin’-free is cutting and fraying the end of your jeans. Pick a pair that are slightly too long (maybe the pair that you tend to cuff or wear with heels so they don’t drag in the mud), fold them in half and line up the bottom of each leg together, and cut an inch or so off (depending on your height/how long the jeans were before).

Another favorite easy DIY of mine is cutting the sleeves off of old shirts (especially ones with irreparable sweat stains) and turning them into chic sleeveless tanks. I do this with button-downs, tee shirts, and sometimes even sweaters, which gives them a fun and unexpected twist.

Another super quick one is to crop a few inches off the bottom of a hoodie. A cropped hoodie basically means you can get away with wearing a sweatshirt and having it look like you actually put a solid amount of effort into your outfit, since the cute cropped styles are trendy right now. No one has to know that all you did was take a pair of scissors to a $4 Fruit Of The Loom sweatshirt you bought at Walmart.

4. Practice some serious sock appreciation.

Fun fact about me: I really hate wearing socks. I actually hate them so much that I start wearing sandals once the first slightly-warm day hits in March or April, and wear them straight through usually until late October. I’d seriously rather have cold toes than wear socks most of the time. BUT I do live in Connecticut, so socks are v necessary for a good portion of the year. I’ve made myself appreciate socks by replacing all the boring plain, white ankle socks with cute fun ones that I can wear with boots and dresses or tuck my skinny jeans into. In addition to experimenting with colors or patterns, experiment with lengths. Thigh high socks are fun, and although it sounds sort of risqué, if you wear them with a longer dress, it basically just looks like you’re wearing tights — but you have a cute lil sock-related secret.

This is one of my favorite outfit updates, because socks are so cheap pretty much everywhere, but they are obviously super practical, so buying ones that you love is such a simple way to update your everyday wardrobe.

Mary writes every day for TFD and tweets every day for her own personal fulfillment. Talk to her about money and life at mary@thefinancialdiet.com!

Image via Unsplash

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