5 outfits without spending a dollar

Written by Wendy Mak


You know the old adage – that women only wear 20% of what they have in their wardrobe? Well, it’s true. But I’ve found that it isn’t because we only like 20% of what we own – it’s because we reach out for the same 20% to wear all the time.

We fall back to the same things and we wear them in exactly the same way, all the time (you know – “this top ONLY goes with this skirt. Period.”)

So in keeping with this week’s theme of finding money and abundance in our daily life, I wanted to show you how you can find 5 outfits without spending a dollar from your very own wardrobe!

“Shopping your own wardrobe” (as we call it in this game of fashion styling) can be an exciting experience as you’ll have to push yourself to be creative and to wear things differently.

Now you know I don’t like the obvious when it comes to giving you fashion tips, so this will be a bit more adventurous than me simply saying “try a different top with your skirt” or “try wearing it with a necklace”.

The key to successfully creating new from the old, is to really approach this with a sense of fun.

Clear a couple of hours to go through your wardrobe with abandon. And make sure you have your new wardrobe friends with you – Creativity, Fun & Adventure (and maybe a dry white wine to help you find these friends if you need to – although this part of the process is optional).

And with that, here’s my top 5 ideas to find 5 new outfits without spending a dollar.

(Note: I’m on holidays in Bali without access to my usual wardrobe so these picture examples below are filled with only beach outfits but it should still give you enough of an idea!!!)

1. Get creative with scissors

I once had a beautiful skirt I bought from France. It was glorious. Leopard print, swishes of silk, a flattering drop waist. The only problem was it was long. Uber long.

It was a hideous below the knee length. I got it before I become a fashion stylist and didn’t know I shouldn’t be wearing anything below the knee for my height.

But I couldn’t part with it because just holding it reminded me of all the baguettes, fine wine and cheese I ate in France. So, I slashed it. I chopped inches of the length and it became a whole different skirt. It looked better, flirtier and younger.

Get creative with your scissors:

Are there daggy old jeans you could chop up and turn into cuffed shorts or an ankle grazer?
Could you slash a boring, round neck tee into a lower V-neck to wear with coloured shorts or a casual skirt?
Can you give your “I liked it but I’m bored with it now” maxi dress a makeover by making it into a mini OR by giving it a new asymmetric hem line?

13 07 19 5 new outfits without spending a dollar


2. Belt something

Not enough people wear or use belts nowadays. We’re just too scared. (“I don’t have a waist to belt” I can hear you some of you eek-ing.)

First step – toss out the daggy self-tie things retailers try to pass off as “belts” (you know the ones – usually made of matching, long, thin fabric, and which really only creates a muffin top and doesn’t show off your waist….) and try a real belt instead.

A real belt has enough width to help create the illusion of a more defined waist. Nothing too wide, but not thin and useless like the self-ties.

Think outside the box. Yes, you can belt a looser dress, but for something different try a belt over a fitted jacket or blazer for a chic look (sorry, no images of those as I didn’t bring blazers to Bali!) or choose a belt in a contrast colour for some real fun.

13 07 19 5 outfits without spending a dollar belt


3. Tuck a shorter dress into a bottom

Yes, you read that right. Tuck a shorter style dress (usually one that isn’t too heavy in fabric) into a pair of shorts or a skirt. You will be AMAZED at the new mix & match outfits you can create with this nifty trick!

As long as your dress is of a shorter length and not too thick to tuck in, give this a whirl and see what you can create!

13 07 19 5 outfits without spending a dollar tucking in


4. Layer different pieces

I own a couple of dresses that I literally wear only over my beach gear because it’s too short or too sheer to wear on its own.

But in a bid to ensure that I DIDN’T over pack for this trip, I decided to grab my $10 beach throw-over dress and a simple cotton tank style dress from Kookai that I owned in black. When layered together, I got additional length and coverage to create an actual dress I could also wear out for dinner or shopping.

Try this idea with different colours and patterns, and even fabrics.

And don’t be afraid to try layering pieces that traditionally “shouldn’t” be layered. For example try layering a blouse over a dress to really get a whole new dimension on your existing pieces.

Could you layer a sequinned top over a cotton dress? Or a bright accent coloured top over a black dress?

13 07 19 5 Outfits without spending a dollar layering


5. Mix & match your swimmers

I know it’s still winter – but summer will be around the corner. And in packing for this trip I wished I had a new bikini but I didn’t want to spend the money. Swimwear can be one of those really expensive purchases (and for not a lot of fabric!!).

So I created a new set of swimmers, by mixing and matching different tops with different bottoms.

And just in case you thought this was not cool, check out this link to see which celebs are doing mix-and-match bikinis too!

As always, I hope these ideas inspire and make you smile, and if you have enjoyed this post please do share it or like it below!!!


Until next time, stay stylish & successful!





By | 2017-09-06T10:26:51+10:00 July 19th, 2013|Fabulous Fashion, How to fashion|2 Comments


  1. Vesna July 26, 2013 at 10:48 pm - Reply

    Thank you Wendy for giving us some creative and “out of the box” styling tips………You definitely made me think what re-invented looks I can come up with from my existing wardrobe. Have a great holidays!!! Vesna. xx

    • Wendy Mak July 29, 2013 at 8:29 am - Reply

      Thank you Vesna!!! Hope you came up with some creative solutions!!! XX

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