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How to Upgrade Your Wardrobe Without Spending Too Much Money

Upgrade Your WardrobeTwenty-sixteen has been the year when I’ve had to learn how to upgrade my wardrobe without spending too much money. To be honest, this has been a bit of a struggle for me because my inner CFO thinks clothing is frivolous. In fact, my inner CFO was the one who sold all of my office attire when I quit my last job in an effort to make an extra buck.

This post has been written by Amanda Abella – writer, speaker, and financial coach. Enjoy!

However, fast forward a couple of years and I found myself in a bit of a predicament. My career as a finance expert started to take off and with that came the opportunity for media appearances and speaking engagements.

Just recently, a friend who works in PR got me an appearance on a local news show and, as she was coaching me on what not to wear, I realized I had absolutely no attire for the occasion because I’d sold everything and hadn’t replaced it. And so began my quest to find good clothing without burning a hole in my wallet.

If you also happen to find yourself in a situation where it’s time to upgrade your wardrobe, here are some lessons I’ve learned on how to do it without spending too much money.

Purchasing quality saves you money in the long run.

Back in college when I didn’t yet really understand my finances, I would go shopping with friends and thought I was getting a good deal because I would buy a bunch of cheap clothes. What I didn’t realize was the clothing was poor-quality and would fall apart within months, causing me to have to buy again. As such, I’ve learned that it’s okay to splurge on quality if you know it’s going to last you.

Take shoes. I recently bought a pair of nude pumps and spent more money than I’d ever spent on a pair of shoes. But you know what? They are the most comfortable heels I’ve ever owned and they match with everything. Additionally, they are so classic that I joke about being buried in them because they’d still look good decades from now.

Buy second hand.

Another way to upgrade your wardrobe without spending too much is to buy second hand. You can either go directly to second hand stores or, if you’re impatient like me, shop from websites like ThredUp.

Thanks to ThredUp, I’ve been able to get good quality blouses that retail at $110 for $20. I’ve also gotten pencil skirts from some of my favorite designers at 75% off retail price. This allows me to look fabulous, shop for quality, and still save money.

Buy pieces you can wear multiple times.

When you upgrade your wardrobe, you’ll want to consider buying pieces that you know you can wear multiple times in different ways.

For example, I made sure to buy some white basic tops in various forms earlier this year. One top in particular is just a simple white blouse that has gotten a crazy amount of wear since I bought it.  I’ve worn it to the office with a skirt, dressed it down with jeans, and I’ve even worn it on dates!

The point is that when you begin to upgrade your wardrobe, make sure to ask yourself whether or not you can see yourself wearing a piece of clothing more than a few times. If the answer is no, put it back on the rack.

Final Thoughts

If you’re anything like me, then the mere thought of spending money on clothing may make you squirm. But the reality is we can’t walk around naked and there are events in our lives that do require the appropriate attire. With that being said, I’m happy to report that you can find good clothing without having to spend too much money.

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My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. OK Derek, I did a double take when you wrote that you bought a pair of nude pumps. Really? I went back to verify who wrote the article and it said you. Then I saw that inside the article it mentioned your PR person wrote it. Whew! Worried about you for a second.

    • Haha. I haven’t bought nude pumps in quite a while – don’t you worry. 😉

  2. I’m frugal (cheap) by nature and don’t buy clothes as much as I probably should. In your opinion, do you believe “the rich” save money by going for quality? I guess I’m trying to figure out if there is a point at which a couple thousand dollar suit is not better than a couple hundred dollar suit.

    • To a certain extent. Let’s talk about jeans for instance. A $10 pair of jeans is probably made of cheap material, poor stitching, and will fall apart within a few months. A $30 pair of jeans is higher quality and will likely last for years, which makes them a better buy on a per month basis. Now, what about a $300 pair of jeans? Will they last 20 years? Ummm, no. The high cost is likely because they’re made by a well-known designer and are marketed heavily, not because they’re high quality.

      My rule of thumb is to typically ignore the absolute cheapest item, but buy one step up from that.

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