24 Little Ways To Update Your Wardrobe For Winter Without Spending Any Money

Winter is in full swing, and for a lot of you, the weeks after the holidays are probably the time where you want to start making some adjustments to your wardrobe. It’s officially too cold to go outside without a few layers, and some of your favorite pieces from summer and fall have been stored away. This is also a time when everyone starts embracing new winter fashion trends, which is exciting, but also very expensive. And, unfortunately, we don’t all have the money to buy a lot of new clothes or accessories – or any, in some cases. But instead of just wearing the same things you wore last year, try updating your wardrobe for the winter with a few little tweaks that don’t involve spending any money. Yes, seriously!

Trying out different styling tips can really make a huge impact. Sometimes, the difference between an awesome, #OOTD-worthy outfit and one that is just cute but kind of blah can be adding a belt, or throwing on a unique accessory, or tucking something in. Aside from just making small adjustments, you can always turn to DIY projects to make old clothes look new and exciting. A lot of people think that crafting with clothes requires sewing knowledge, but it doesn’t always – sometimes the solution can be quick and simple, even for DIY beginners. If you’re ready to look like you just went on a huge shopping spree when really you didn’t spend a dime, check out these little ways to update your wardrobe for winter. Trust me, you’ll want to try them all.

1. Belt your scarf like it’s a shawl. 



A big blanket scarf can make the perfect shawl or poncho. All you need is a thin belt and a scarf you already own, and you can quickly transform it into something that looks totally different.


2. Layer your sweaters over button down shirts.



Wearing a sweater over a button-down shirt has a tendency to look very preppy and clean-cut, and so if that’s not their style, a lot of people tend to avoid it. But this layered look only looks that preppy if you style it that way. One way to make it look less Hardvard-grad type is to wear an oversized turtleneck and let a button down peak out the bottom. It’s really the collar over the shirt that gives off that prepster vibe.


3. Wear your summer dresses with tights and boots.



Don’t put away all of your summer items – some of them can easily be transitioned into cold weather items. One example is a classic summery dress. When paired with tights, boots or flats, and a sweater, these look perfectly at home in the winter.


4. Layer a dress over a turtleneck.



Another way to make a slinky dress work for chilly temperatures is to layer it over a turtleneck. This looks best with a tank dress with skinny straps, or a slip dress, but it’s pretty versatile.


5. Embellish a plain beanie. 



Chances are good that you have an old, plain beanie lying around somewhere – and if you don’t, you can find one for, like, $5 from Forever 21. Make it a little bit more exciting by repurposing a piece of jewelry that you no longer wear. Boom – instant accessory upgrade!


6. Turn your socks into fingerless gloves.



Gloves are obviously a winter essential, but they can be kind of boring most of the time. Turn a pair of old socks into the prettiest fingerless gloves that will allow you to use your phone and get lots of compliments.


7. Make a boring sweatshirt look fun. 



When it’s cold AF outside, sometimes all you want to do is throw on a cozy sweatshirt. You can definitely do that and still look stylish with this easy update.


8. Add elbow patches to any long-sleeved shirt.



If you’re bored of your old sweaters, breathe new life into them with something as simple as a DIY elbow patch. The glitter is pretty and eye-catching, but you can really choose whatever you want here, whether it’s some sort of print or just a burst of bright color.


9. Wear an oversized sweater with your OTK boots.



One of the biggest trends right now is wearing oversized sweaters, sweatshirts, or t-shirts with over-the-knee boots. If you have a large shirt and a pair of high boots, you just need to pair them together for an outfit that feels fresh – even if you’ve had everything for a while.


10. Add a belt to your favorite winter coat.



Couldn’t get a new winter coat this year? Putting an unexpected belt over your old one can instantly transform it into streetwear style chic.


11. Belt your scarf over your coat instead of tucking it in. 



Another way to liven up an old coat is to drape your scarf around your neck, then place it in front of your coat instead of tucked into it. Add a skinny belt so that it holds everything together – without the belt, it won’t look very revolutionary.


12. Wear your shorts over tights.



Grab your favorite shorts for the summer and make them work for winter by layering them over a pair of tights. I love the edgier look above, but a knit sweater and ankle boots will work too.


13. Pull your socks over your jeans.



Even something as simple as showing off your socks can make a difference in your outfit. Pulling your socks up over your jeans with a pair of ankle boots gives your look a slightly more rugged vibe.


14. Add lace to the bottom of your shirts.



Make an old shirt a little bit more exciting by adding a layer of lace to the bottom of it. It’s easy sewing work and can really make your outfit look less casual.


15. Decorate a plain sweater with polka dots.



Another easy way to make a plain sweater more interesting is to add polka dots. Again, I love how the glitter looks, but you can do anything you want here.


16. Pull tall socks up under your boots, or make cute boot cuffs.



Sometimes when I get bored of my OTK boots, I add a pair of lace knit socks and pull them up so that they peek out the top. It really does make a difference, and it’s so easy! If you don’t like the bulk of tall socks under your boots, you can make boot cuffs that don’t add a full layer, but give the same look.


17. Wear a sweater over a dress. 



Another way to make summer dresses work is to layer a sweater over them. I love how this girl above knotted her sweater – this look can be a little bit bulky and shapeless, so if you’re not into that, this is a great idea. You can also throw on a loose sweater and let it fall off the shoulder.


18. Wear your sandals with socks.



You probably shouldn’t attempt this trend if it’s snowy or rainy outside, but socks with sandals can be cute and kind of unexpected. It’s even more fun when you pick colorful or embellished socks.


19. Bleach stamp black leggings for a cool pattern.



You can even improve upon old black leggings. Bleach stamps are easier than they seem, and they’ll help you create a cool pattern or design that can work on almost any clothing item you want to update.


20. Wear your blazer over a graphic tee to dress it up a bit.



If you own a tailored blazer, don’t save it for just the fancy occasions. Wear it over a graphic tee with jeans to make a casual outfit a little bit more put together. Pairing unexpected items together is a great way to make your wardrobe look fresh.


21. Wear a knit sweater with something more fancy.



Speaking of unexpected pairs, I love the look of a casual and cozy knit sweater with something more glamorous, like a sequin skirt. It’s not something anyone would expect, which is exactly why it works. It makes both items look more exciting, and it gives you another reason to wear something on the fancier side.


22. Front tuck a baggy sweater to give it a different shape. 



I love the look of an oversized sweater as much as the next girl, but sometimes you get tired of the bulk. In this case, something as simple as front tucking the sweater could make a boring outfit look more stylish.


23. Wrap and tuck a button down for a slightly different look.



This is another example of making a plain shirt look more interesting just by tucking it in a different way.


24. Layer a loose, flowy top under a tighter sweater to get a more unique silhouette. 



Loose, flowy tops often don’t work on their own in the winter, so instead, try layering them under a fitted sweater. It gives off an unexpected look which is really pretty.

Which one of these outfit tweaks are you going to try? How do you update your winter wardrobe on the cheap? Let us know in the comments.

You can follow the author, Jessica Booth, on Twitter or Instagram.

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  • Grace | Graceful Rags

    Love these tips! I definitely use a lot of them regularly, such as the collared shirt under a sweater and a sweater over a dress. Thanks for sharing!