Cost of living crisis – How to make your wardrobe last longer

Consumers are undoubtedly feeling the financial pinch. With the prices of everything from groceries and petrol to mortgages and energy bills rising over recent months, many people are having to find ways to save money. Unsurprisingly, this is affecting the way we shop - including the clothes we buy.

According to the latest Deloitte Consumer Tracker, spending on clothing and footwear was down 14% year-on-year between July and September, with more people searching for promotions when they shop.

The good news is, there are ways to spend less on clothing without compromising on style. To help you, we’ve put together our top tips for repairing and upcycling garments, as well as shopping hacks that could make your budget stretch further.

Get creative – and look for inspiration online

For the price of some basic supplies, whether it’s a needle and thread or a pot of dye, you can restore old, worn out or damaged clothes to their former glory or transform them to create a brand new look.

Social media is awash with ideas to breathe new life into tired garments that would otherwise go unused. On TikTok alone, there are more than 700 million views for the hashtag #clothinghacks. From adding hidden waistbands to trousers that are too big to introducing a pop of colour to your favourite trainers using a simple dyeing technique, you’ll find videos showcasing a whole range of pointers. You might be surprised by how easily you can make the old seem new.

And if you want to upcycle old clothes to create truly unique items, why not get stuck into some painting or tie-dyeing? For example, you can create impressive designs using acrylic paint mixed with fabric softener. If you’re feeling brave, simply freestyle your artwork. Alternatively, you can use stencils to achieve the look you’re going for. Either way, you’ll end up with a garment that’s personal to you. This is also a great technique for covering up stubborn stains that just won’t disappear no matter how many times you wash them.

If your sewing skills aren’t quite up to scratch, now could be the time to work on them. Knowing how to do basic repairs, from re-attaching buttons to applying patches, can help you to extend the life of your wardrobe favourites. There are plenty of tutorials online, and once you’ve practised a few times, these DIY tasks often take just a few minutes. They might save you a lot of money too!

Be a savvy shopper

Being nifty when it comes to repairs and upcycling is one thing, but it also pays to be thrifty when purchasing new items. You certainly won’t be alone in your bargain hunting. The Deloitte Consumer Tracker revealed that 40% of consumers who had experienced an increase in their living costs were looking for ways to cut their spending on clothes and shoes.

One obvious way to save money is to look out for clearance items, and keep your eyes peeled for vouchers and discount codes. Beyond this, it pays to look out for versatile garments that you can get maximum wear out of. Jeans are a great example of this. These trousers can be styled up with heels, a smart top and a blazer for a business meeting or night out, or they can be paired with a jumper or t-shirt for a more casual look. Chinos offer similar flexibility. Wear them with a sweater and trainers for a relaxed ensemble or combine with leather brogues and a shirt for the dapper gent style.

On a similar theme, you can make your wardrobe stretch further by purchasing some inexpensive accessories. Think scarves, belts, bracelets and necklaces. You can overhaul the look of your outfits with these simple additions, giving you more options when you’re deciding what to wear.

Ever heard of ‘swishing’? If not, now’s the time to get clued up. Swishing simply means swapping clothes, accessories or shoes with other people. Whether it’s your family, friends, neighbours or anyone else, this gives you the chance to exchange old items you no longer want for other clothes that you’ll get lots of wear out of. More and more people are switching onto the benefits of this trend, which allows you to combine glamour with frugality and environmental protection. What’s not to like? You could even plan your own swishing party, giving you the chance to refresh your wardrobe for free. Plus, this is a great excuse to get together with friends.

Another money saving tip is to pay attention to the fabrics you buy. By looking out for naturally durable materials like cotton, you can help to ensure the items you purchase last longer. As well as being good news for your budget, this is more eco-friendly. It means you will have to replace items less frequently, reducing waste.

Share your own money saving tips!

We hope our suggestions help you to save money without sacrificing on style. Whether it’s upcycling clothes to create completely new looks, choosing versatile menswear or womenswear, or bagging yourself a bargain in-store or online, there are many things you can do to keep costs down while ensuring you still look and feel great in the clothes you wear.

How do you make your wardrobe last longer and your clothing budget stretch further? Share your tips and tricks on the hashtag #ThriftyNiftyWardrobe.

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