How to Spend Less by Dressing Smarter This Winter

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Winter is barreling in again, and right now many of you probably have your eye on a new coat or a new pair of boots. Unfortunately, while the allure of a new wardrobe is certainly tempting, you’ve got more important things to spend your money on – like groceries and your heating bill.

Luckily, you don’t need to be rich to give yourself a few new looks for the winter.  You just need to be a little creative. For instance, here are a few easy ways you can save money by dressing smarter this season.

Get More from Less by Going Neutral

Versatility is the key to dressing for winter on a budget. Your closet should function as an interchangeable clothing system, where different articles of clothing can be layered and exchanged to create different outfits. In the end, you’ll be able to more work with fewer clothes.

The best way to create this kind of mix-and-match wardrobe is to purchase a few go-to garments in neutral shades like brown, navy, grey and tan. These hues are fashionable, warm and look great together in all sorts of combinations. For instance, you might combine a grey knit sweater with a pencil skirt for a day at the office then dress it down with some jeans for coffee with your friends and then layer it over a cocktail dress to keep you warm on your night out on the town.

Dress Up a Cheap Coat with New Buttons

Before you haul off and buy a new coat this season, consider giving your current garment a face lift by stitching on some new buttons. Replacing the plain black buttons on your pea coat to brass fasteners can completely change the look of the garment for about $15 and 15 minutes of your time.

If you absolutely need a new coat, then we strongly recommend that you stick with a budget model from your local department store or warehouse. There’s no point in spending $500 for a designer coat when a $100 garment will keep you just as warm and look essentially identical. Again, you can always give your new “Blue Light special” an upgrade by stitching on new buttons or baubles.

Cut Up Your Old Gowns

Shiny fabrics happen to be chic right now. That’s good news for you, and bad news for those old bridesmaids gowns, pageant gowns and other formal stylish dresses you’ve got hanging in your closet.

Rather than spend a ton of money on a new evening dress, grab some scissors and a sewing kit and get to work on those old dresses in your closet. Take the hemline up to your knee and sever one or both of the shoulder straps and you’ve got a brand new maxi dress that you can wear for almost any occasion. Of course, if you don’t feel comfortable doing the work yourself, you can always take the dress to a tailor and have them make the alterations for you.

Start a Scarf Swap

Scarves are a great way to stay warm throughout the cold weather. They also provide you with a number of different ways to dress up your outerwear. If you’ve got a closet full of scarves that you haven’t worn in a while, consider arranging a swap meet with your friends. Tell everyone to put all of their unused scarves on a table, and then take your time picking and choosing a few new garments for your wardrobe. It’s a cheap and easy way to get yourself some new accessories when your budget is tight.

Don’t let the winter winds lead you astray from your budget this season. Use these tips to help you make that old closet feel new again. With just a little creativity and a smidgen of hard work, you’ll be able to look like a million bucks for only a few dollars.

Kris Williams is a mother, a fashion junkie and a featured contributor at StyleCynics. When she’s not salivating over new dual-purpose dresses, she enjoys assistant-coaching her daughter’s dance class and playing with her French bulldog, Tank.


  1. These are great ideas. Love the idea of a scarf swap!

  2. So cute one thing I would not consider myself is stylish.

  3. I’ve had my coat for almost 10 yrs its starting to shred I’m thinking its past replacing buttons or a zipper

  4. These tips can be used year round. I have a daughter who is very creative this way, I have seen her make dresses out of shirts and vice-versa

  5. I like changing the buttons the best! I love vintage clothing and often add a thing or two to it. I just love clothes!

  6. These are great tips. Isn’t it amazing how you can dress up something just by changing something small (like buttons)

  7. I just want to say that this post is amazing. Practical advice with visuals and so much helpful information.

  8. Good information and great post. I like the website, and am sure to keep returning.

  9. These are some great tips. For those who could use some more specific advice, tips and information about great article thanks for posting.

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