RRR Wardrobe Reconstruction: How to Shift Your Mindset, Reuse Your Old Pieces, and Follow Trends Without Breaking the Bank

RRR Wardrobe Reconstruction: How to Shift Your Mindset, Reuse Your Old Pieces, and Follow Trends Without Breaking the Bank

For a couple of  years, I made one big trip at the beginning of the year to get the majority of toiletry items we would need over the next twelve months. I had heard an organizational author claim this would save you money because you would have to make fewer trips to the store. I may have made a few less trips, but there were always things at the end of the year we hadn’t used, so it didn’t actually end up saving us money.

I could have guessed this, since a big part of my degree focused on just-in-time inventory, but I wanted to test it out for myself on a housekeeping level.

There were also a lot of years I didn’t even think about the possibility of reworking or reconstructing something I already had. I would just go out and buy something in its place. This isn’t always a bad thing, but I want to make a conscious choice about what I was buying as opposed to buying because “it’s just what you do.”

My year of no shopping forced me to get creative when it comes to my closet, and now (most times) I try to repurpose something before it heads out the door, whether it’s clothing, decor, or something else.

Simply asking yourself if there’s another way you can use an item that’s headed out the door (or hanging unworn in the closet) is a great way to follow trends on a small budget!

Here are a few of my secrets for looking trendy while spending less:

  • For the most part, I purchase trends in accessories, specifically jewelry and belts. They tend to cost less, so it’s not a big deal if they go out of style. When I purchase a trendy piece of clothing, I try to get it in a classic cut or color to prolong its life. Honestly though, unless it’s something super crazy, you’ll be ok. Almost everything fits the cliche, what goes around comes around. Seriously. Even overalls are making a comeback.
  • If you’ve got a friend who is your size, borrow an item for a special occasion or swap clothing you no longer want. I love this dress my friend Kat has. If she ever gets rid of it, it had better end up in my closet! :)
  • Search Google or Pinterest for tutorials on every clothing-related project imaginable. From adding to a piece to completely altering its look, tips and tricks are everywhere. It can be overwhelming, so I have a pinboard that holds everything I might possibly want to create at some point down the road. When I’m feeling crafty I can browse it for inspiration. I Evernote the projects that really stand out to me, so I’ll see them on a regular basis, and if there’s one I need to do, I’ll put it on my calendar. Earning a spot there means it will actually get done and not stay a wishful project that just takes up space in my office closet.
  • If you don’t sew, take pieces to the tailor to get them perfectly fitted to you (this always makes you look expensive!) or have them help you upcycle an old piece. I love the tutorials Merrick, from Merrick’s Art comes up with. Most of her tutorials include sewing, but she sprinkles in no-sew DIY’s, too.

For my reconstruction remix, I used this tutorial from The Everygirl on distressing denim to give my shorts an extra-casual look when they’re cuffed just once. I’ve yet to find the perfect boyfriend jeans, so I’ve Evernoted the article for a later DIY, too.

Greater Than Rubies

Greater Than Rubies

Greater Than Rubies

Greater Than Rubies

This particular remix was inspired by Redress. They host monthly challenges to inspire sustainable fashion and encourage people to ‘redress’ items rather than throw them away. Their goal is to call attention to the impact our clothing choices have on the environment. Just the tiny bit I’ve peeked into the subject has made it clear that limiting purchases and disposal even slightly can have incredible effects. Beyond that, it’s a great place to look for outfit inspiration!

What’s your greatest wardrobe makeover story or favorite way to look great for less? Share your tips and tricks with us in the comments below! 

Remix Rewear Restyle I Greater Than Rubies

Coming up:
May 26: Refresh: A new way to wear an old favorite

June’s looks will be announced next week.
Cast your vote for the upcoming looks here. Most popular will win!

If you’re new, we’re excited you’re here! Remix Rewear Restyle is a weekly challenge to shop your closet and show us how you style a certain piece. Don’t worry about being right or wrong. There aren’t any rules except to include a piece that fits the challenge. So go shop that closet and link up your reconstructed look below!

PS Don’t forget to share your greatest wardrobe makeover story or favorite way to look great for less in the comments below! 

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10 Comments

  • Maricel @ My Closet Catalogue May 19, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    You’re killing me, Caitlin! I got nothing for you this week. I’m a wretched DIY-er and fuggedabboutit with me and a sewing machine. I actually wanted to teach myself to sew at one point, but that it the purview of my MIL and I don’t want to get into that right now. So I shall once again abstain from linking up, but I do want to say kudos to today’s outfit; I can so see myself sporting that look once summer hits in good ol’ SoCal.

    • Caitlin Author May 19, 2014 at 4:38 PM

      Ah well, be sure to vote for next month’s looks- there’s a decade one in there for you and Selah! ;) Hope you have a fantastic week, Maricel!

  • Iris May 19, 2014 at 10:14 PM

    I love this chic casual look! Post pregnancy I bought a pair of pastel pink capris and pastel blue capris on clearance from Target that had some stretch to them. I realized last year that they didn’t fit my petite frame right (they were kind of flared at the bottom -ugh- but I loved the stretch and the way they fit my post baby belly), so I had my wonderful MIL sew them into skinny capris. Maybe I should’ve made them into cutoff shorts instead. I’m kinda thinking about distressing some jeggings I got for $1 clearance at Plato’s Closet. I mean, they were only $1!

    • Caitlin Author May 20, 2014 at 7:52 AM

      Thanks, Iris. Turning them into slim capris was brilliant! It’s so handy to have someone who can sew to help you out if you don’t. Keep me posted if you distress the jeggings- I’d love to see how they turn out.

  • Selah May 20, 2014 at 9:31 AM

    I love the voting page! Great idea!

    • Caitlin Author May 21, 2014 at 7:28 AM

      Thanks, Selah! I thought it would be more fun that way :)

  • Amy G May 21, 2014 at 6:50 AM

    I like your simple update to a piece you already owned. And thank you for saying that buying a trendy piece once in a while because you really like it is ok/not the end of the world. Sometimes it seems like we feel guilty if we consider trying a trend because it may not last long in our closet, but if we really like it, we can make it work for longer! I think that kind of goes with the idea of having some fun pieces so that you don’t get bored having a closet full of basics that work but don’t get you excited.
    It’s really interesting to see everyone’s different takes on this challenge!

    • Caitlin Author May 22, 2014 at 6:16 PM

      It is totally ok! Like you said, it’s all in the balance. All basics is boring, and all trends is impractical. A mix of both is a good way to feel excited about your closet. And I totally agree! I’m always so inspired by everyone’s looks!

  • Carly May 22, 2014 at 5:43 PM

    I don’t think I have anything of my own to share this time (although I have made myself a couple of maxi skirts using a super simple tutorial), but I am going to try making some denim cut-off shorts for my daughter using a pair of Goodwill jeans I got her. She doesn’t like jeans, but saw another girl in denim shorts with a raw edge and decided she wants a pair. :) Thanks for the inspiration and I love your look. Some classic and timeless.

    • Caitlin Author May 22, 2014 at 6:24 PM

      So fun! I hope she likes them. I’ve made a pair myself, and wear them all the time for casual events during the summer.

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