Not too long ago, I did a post on my budget. While I don't have much money to spend on clothing, I still think fashion is fun and exciting and I love to express myself each day through what I wear. And so, from my limited store of wisdom, I give you some examples of how I make the most of my wardrobe on a budget:

1) Refashions
Probably my favorite method to implement. I thrive on creative challenges and love to take old pieces in my wardrobe and make them new and exciting again. Learn more about refashions and see some examples here.

2) Alterations
Not necessarily as exciting as working on refashions, but a good fit in clothing is important. Being a tiny person, this one comes in handy for me a lot. Some alterations should probably be saved for the expertise of a professional tailor, especially if the garment was expensive, but there are some great tutorials online that walk you through how to do your own alterations at home.

3) Care
This could be the difference between owning a shirt for one year vs. three years. I hand wash a lot of my less-than-sturdy items and skip the dryer quite a bit too. Also, basic clothing repair skills are extremely useful, and some of them are very easy to do.

4) Borrowing
That's what sisters and friends are for right? Just kidding! However, both my sisters and my friends have been very generous in lending me clothes from time to time. Thanks, girls  :)

5) Hand-me-downs
I feel like there is sometimes a stigma that goes with these, but I absolutely love them. It's definitely important to make sure that you only keep pieces that you really love, though! Unnecessary clothing that you don't like all that much adds clutter to your closet and can actually make it tougher to get dressed in the morning.

6) Clothing Swaps
Ok, so I've only been to a few of these, but they are awesome. Socializing with friends and shopping for free clothes? Count me in!

7) Making a Shopping List
This is the number one reason that I am able to avoid impulse buys. Knowing what I need before I go searching for it keeps me focused and saves me a lot of time. I keep mine in my phone so that I have it with me at all times.

8) Online Browsing
Emphasis on the word 'browsing.' I do a little online shopping, but I prefer making purchases in person because then I am able to closely examine the product and try it on before I buy it. However, I find online browsing to be a great tool when planning a shopping trip for a specific item because it gives me a good idea what's out there, where it's selling, and what it's selling for.

9) Quality
I struggle a bit with this concept. Quality clothing is certainly what I want because it will last, but it often (not always) costs more. I'm still trying to find the perfect balance between quality and price. It gets trickier when you realize that quality can vary even within a retailer. For example, I have a blazer from H&M that looks just as good now as it did the day I bought it four years ago despite constant use. I also own a pair of jeans from the same retailer, and their quality is pretty disappointing because they don't hold their shape well and stretch out after a while, especially in the knee area. I'm definitely still learning.

10) Thrifting
Thrifting is so much fun! Well, at least for me. Maybe for you too? I find that the joy of the hunt is just as exciting as the treasures I find. The only downside is that successful thrifting takes patience and time. Gotta love the prices though! And if you're picturing faded, boxy t-shirts, think again. I've gotten some really nice stuff from thrift stores. For example, a Calvin Klein denim jacket - for $7.99!

11) Skipping trends
With the fashion cycle becoming faster and faster, this one is pretty important. I do try out a trend on occasion, but I'm very careful about investing money here. I'm looking for clothes that will be in style for more than just a season or two. A wise woman once told me that an item of clothing should last me about four years (or more), and I intend to stick to that rule as much as possible.

13) Shopping sales
Sales can certainly be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they can tempt you to purchase things that you don't really need for no reason other than that they're discounted. On the other hand, keeping an eye out for items that you need during sales is very wise shopping and can help you save money. I try to shop the off-season sales and the clearance racks at the end of a season because merchandise can be discounted significantly. For example, the new boots I just bought? $20.00 less than they were at the beginning of the season! Now that's my kind of shopping.

14) Be creative
Think outside of the box! Wear your summer dresses with a cardigan, tights and boots in the winter. Play with different color combinations. Layer shirts, sweaters, vests, etc. Maximize the number of outfits you can get out of your closet by experimenting and being a bit unconventional. 

15) Color palette
I love color, but the truth is, some colors look better on me than others. For example, pastels can be a bit tricky with my skin tone. Flattering colors are definitely something to keep in mind when you're shopping. Also, limiting yourself to a functional color palette within your closet can make it easier to put combinations together. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule! The basic colors that I tend to use as a starting point are neutrals (black, brown, gray, white, navy, etc.) and jewel tones like red, purple, and green. Recently I've also started adding mustard yellow into the mix:

My Color Palette

How do you maximize your wardrobe's potential? Got any great tips? Post them below!

(Note: If you read Problems with Christian Fashion Week by Whitney Bauck in my recent Fashionable Friday: Weekend Reads post, I have exciting news! Co-founder of Christian Fashion Week Jose Gomez responded to her article, and they have started a dialogue on the subject. To read more, click here.)