Raise your internet hand if you’ve been caught saying, “I have nothing to wear.” Don’t be shy. I’m guilty, too. Although I’ve never been big into fashion, I’ve found one thing to be true: you feel your best when you look your best.
I was recently an NBC Page, and while it was a huge honor, we made $12-$14 an hour — pretty small bucks in big cities like New York and LA. I was dying to look as good as I wanted to feel next to Hollywood executives and star-studded talent, but my budget was not on the same page. Luckily, I found a way to get crafty for no money and in no time. Unlike your earthy ex-classmate who just returned from a months-long backpacking trip, you don’t have to go full minimalist. I’m here to tell you that you can revamp your closet without spending a dime, borrowing clothes from your roommate constantly, or purchasing a cute outfit for a night out and returning it the next day (okay maybe I’ve thought about that, too). Here’s how.
1. Revisit Pinterest.
Sit down with a big cup of joe, pop open your laptop, and pull up Pinterest. Create a brand-new board with a creative title that makes your insides light up, or take a trip down memory lane with an older board you’ve already created. Start pinning. You’ll have fresh ideas for outfits, looks, and ensembles that you had never even thought of. After doing this myself, I put together at least 10 pairings of my existing clothes that I had never tried before. Half of the time, all the pieces you need are already in your closet. It’s just about piecing together a new puzzle. Say goodbye to the old and hello to the new.
2. Host a clothing swap.
Surprise! It’s time to purge your closet. Put all the clothes you feel “meh” about or haven’t worn in over a year into a box or bag. Tell 10 of your friends to do the same, then invite them over for wine and snacks. Spread everyone’s clothes across a table or the floor and have a free-for-all. Whatever you get your hands on is yours. I hosted one of my own clothing swaps last year and walked away with a brand new pair of booties, five new work shirts, and a cocktail dress that had never been worn. Socializing and free shit? Amazing. As for all the clothes no one snags? Donate it. Both feel good.
3. Do it yourself.
Cut off the bottom of an old shirt to give it a new crop. Snip some sleeves. Dice up a neckline. Take a razor to an old pair of jeans. Roll up pant legs. Turn a skirt into a shirt, or vice versa. You don’t need a YouTube video to get creative, but it’s always an option. I originally almost gave away one of my favorite striped shirts (that I wear to this day) because of its weird length. Instead, I cropped the bottom and fell in love all over again. Sometimes your “trash” is your own treasure. Yep. I said it.
Say it with me — Un. sub. scribe. Remove your email from that H&M newsletter and stay away from stores. You simply don’t need the temptation of “$5 tees” and “50% off.” Out of sight, out of mind. More space in your inbox and more money in your wallet.
5. Repurpose menswear.
Steal your boyfriend’s button-down or your dad’s old t-shirt. I love tying a knot in the front or wearing it baggy. Put a belt around it or wear it as a dress. Femininity is a mindset. Masculinity is just as hot. I mean, you’ve seen the Blake Lively pantsuit, right? Right. Go slay.
6. Come back to it.
If you momentarily black out and find yourself back in a store, you still have the chance to save yourself. It’s easy to swipe your card and call it a day without thinking twice, especially when that “must-have” item is in your hands. But I’ll let you in on my biggest tip thus far: if you find your dream item, leave the store. If it’s really your dream item, you’ll want it even when you’re not staring it in the face (because clothes have faces now). If it’s not worth making a second trip for, it’s just not worth it, my friend. I can’t think of a time I’ve ever regretted utilizing this method. You know what they say: if you let it go and it comes back to you, it was meant to be. (Yes, yes — I give love advice as well.)
All in all, you don’t have to bust your budget to look bomb. You’re already beautiful as you are. You already have all the tools you need; just dive into your closet and really dig in. What are you waiting for?
Mia Brabham is a creative-writing, video-making, life-lover who currently lives in Los Angeles. She has been creating a variety of YouTube videos on her channel YOURS TRULY, MIA since 2007, and created a 365-day-blog titled A YEAR OF LESSONS in which she wrote a lesson every day for a year. Mia hopes to one day publish her own book, write and produce for film and television, and host her own talk show. Her ultimate goal is to leave a positive impact on the world by sharing her many stories, and sharing others’ stories as well. You can find Mia on Instagram at @yourstrulymia.
Image via Unsplash