How to Be Frugal with a Summer Wardrobe

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It can be easy wanting to be a frugal shopper, but putting it into practice can be a challenge, especially if your eye catches the latest must-have that you just can’t find going cheap anywhere. With summer right on our doorstep, shifting from the comfort and snugness of a winter and mild spring wardrobe doesn’t have to mean a huge expense being laid out for lighter, summery style. Last year, it was expected that £520 billion would be spent on women’s clothing, with men’s clothing lagging behind at £364 billion.

With ‘throwaway’ fashion under the spotlight with £2.7 billion spent on 50 million summer outfits that are only worn once, being as frugal as possible has never been so important. Trends such as Second Hand September that was created by Oxfam, have helped highlight the problem, with 62,000 people in 2019 pledging to say no to new clothes for at least 30 days. With that in mind, there are ways to cut down spending habits and be frugal whilst looking great over the summer without having to spend a fortune.

Summer of Bargains

With everything going on in the world right now with retail store shutdowns for many weeks, shoppers have had to turn to online fashion sites if they are looking for ideas and inspiration and making purchases. With lockdown easing and many stores reopening from 15 June, it’s been reported that this could be followed by huge discounts on seasonal clothing. It could be the perfect time to pick up summer wardrobe essentials at low prices, with as much as 70% off prices over July, August and September with clothes shoppers expecting to see the best deals. Many clothing retailers have started sales already online including Topshop, so it’s worthwhile looking if you really do have to purchase new items for your wardrobe; but remember to keep it essential.

Make Use of What You Already Have

There’s no better way to be frugal than to make the most of the clothing you already have; you may even have forgotten about some items at the back of your wardrobe that at one time was your go-to choice. It’s always a good idea to check what you already have before spending on similar items, that way you can tell what items your summer wardrobe is lacking and focus on those only, rather than purchasing a whole new outfit. Another option is to adapt and upcycle what you already have; have an old pair of jeans that still fit? Rather than buying a brand-new pair of denim shorts, here’s a chance to be creative. You’ll be surprised how easily you can turn a pair of jeans into great summer shorts by cutting to the length you want and hemming the ends. This way you can get much more life out of those jeans you’d forgotten about.

Try a Capsule Wardrobe

Being frugal means rethinking your approach to clothing and how many items you actually need to create many great summer outfits. Rather than having hundreds of tops, jeans, shorts, shoes etc. highlight the ones that are your favourites and cut down; remember quality over quantity. A capsule wardrobe is a term for having a few essential items that are evergreen, creating a limited collection that you can then create outfits around with a few other separate pieces. Not only will you reduce a mountain of clothing that you have collected over many years, but you’ll also be able to donate or sell the items you’ve identified as non-essential – all without spending a penny.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it will give you a few pointers of where to start and hopefully create a frugal summer wardrobe you’ll be proud of. Plus, you can put the money that you’ve saved to good use elsewhere


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Written by Lola McQuenzie

Lola is one of our busiest writer. She has worked for Catwalk Yourself since 2007. Lola started working with us after she graduating from Central St Martins

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