The season of spring has long been associated with growth and renewal. As the days finally start getting warmer, barren trees come back to life, flowers start to bloom, and animals begin coming out of hibernation to greet the sun. Spring brings a positive energy to everything it touches, including humans. After long, lazy winter days cooped up indoors, the arrival of spring motivates people to take on new projects and reinvent themselves.
Spring is the best time to refresh your wardrobe and give yourself a style update. Purging your closet can be done along with your spring cleaning, and trends during these mild, balmy months are usually less restrictive. If you’re working with a budget, don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to up your fashion game without shelling out big bucks. Here’s how.
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The weather during spring usually veers towards the unpredictable. It could be sunny when you step out in the morning, but it can also start raining in the afternoon.
The trick is to dress dynamically in outfits that can change as quickly as the conditions do. In Europe’s most fashion-forward cities, savvy dressers do this by layering. Layers keep you warm on spring days that might be chillier than usual. They also offer enough flexibility so that you could just lose a layer or two if the temperature starts rising by noon.
Layers are also a great way to repurpose your favorite staples and give yourself new ways to wear them. It’s a fantastic trick for those tentative dressers who don’t want to venture too far out of their comfort zones, too. That plain button-down you wear to work? Try adding a well-fitting sweater or a blazer to it. Your favorite statement tee will look great with a bomber jacket and a pair of selvedge jeans.
Vintage is having a moment in a big way these days. Everything old is new again, partly due to the retro appeal, and partly because it’s simply better for the planet. Not only is shopping secondhand much cheaper than buying new at a fast fashion outlet, it’s also less taxing on the environment and its limited resources.
If you have the time, patience, and sense for it, thrifting can net you some truly breathtaking bargains. Diving into your local Goodwill headfirst can turn up amazing finds that may be years old but still look current and relevant today. Anything that doesn’t fit you perfectly can be taken to a skilled tailor and altered to your measurements—to a point. Go with an optimistic heart but keep your expectations realistic. Don’t limit yourself to the thrift stores in your community, either. Look for private businesses and charity-run places outside of your sphere for the best bargains.
Another great style tip for tentative dressers this spring is to express themselves through shoes and accessories instead. You might be surprised at what a pair of pristine white sneakers can do to a simple tee and jeans combo, or how much more elevated you can look with an investment timepiece on your wrist, even if you’re only wearing a polo shirt and chino shorts.
Start with your socks if you’re really, really hesitant. Personal stylist Dario Smith recommends getting rid of your white socks—yes, all of them. After a certain age, wearing white sockscan look juvenile. White socks also don’t match anything and get visibly dirty easily. Colorful leisure socks are much more forgiving and sophisticated. There are so many colors and styles to choose from, and the best part is that no one needs to know you’re wearing “stylish socks” but you. Socks are also a relatively cheap way to upgrade your day-to-day outfits.
Here’s the difference between buying clothes that are on sale and buying ones on clearance: you may only be getting a good deal from one of them.
There aren’t really any rules or regulations governing sales at your favorite outlets. Retailers can put a red “SALE” tag on anything they want but still sell that item for the original price they intended. On the other hand, clearance items are pieces that the store wants liquidated immediately. They’re usually last-season clothes or older that cost more to keep in the back or are taking up valuable warehouse space.
Clearance sales are the way to go if the idea is to get clothes at rock-bottom prices. You’ll find great pieces being sold at 50% off or less. However, the flip side to this is that clearance items usually can’t be returned, so make sure that anything you grab is a) something you really want and b) something that actually fits, or close enough that a tailor can work his magic on it.
Looking like a million bucks this spring is completely achievable, even with a limited budget. Just know your own body, learn how to shop sensibly, and keep an eye out for where you can make the most savings.
Images by Jakub Koziel for MMSCENE.