Most of us love to buy new clothes, but not so many of us can afford to all the time, so we’ve put together some fantastic ways for you to revamp your wardrobe for next to nothing. Try some neutral shopping so that you don’t actually have to spend any money but still get some new clothes, or get hold of some dye for a completely new look. We’ve also made life easier and found some fantastic websites that will save you time and money.
- Swapping – revamp your wardrobe without spending a penny
- Neutral shopping means free shopping
- New life for your old clothes
- Embrace the internet – we show you where to look
- Other options
COST = FREE
Research by Churchill Home Insurance several years ago found that women in the UK have an average of 14 items which they haven’t worn for at least a year. With each of these items costing an average of £21.82, each woman has a massive £305 worth of unworn clothes in her wardrobe. Just think what could be done with that much money!
Where can you swap?
- Hybird, a networking company, stages swapping events in London called ‘Feather Duster’. Men and women can bring up to 10 items (clothes and accessories) each and start swapping them for any items that catch their eye. For more info go to myspace.com/hybirdproduction and check back on the website here to find out when the next event takes place.
- Or, go to a swapping party with Swishing.org. There are even swapping events held in nightclubs – like Swap-a-rama Razzmatazz in Shoreditch, East London when a klaxon blares and everyone swaps a garment with the person next to them!
- Credit card company Visa has teamed up with clothing charity TRAID (Textile Recycling for Aid and International Development) to hold an annual fashion event in which people can donate clothes in exchange for points. Those points can then be used to buy other people’s clothes at the event. All of the clothes must be in good condition and you can expect some designer pieces too.
- Online, label-lovers can use websites such as Bigwardrobe – which is free to join – simply fill out a registration form. You add items into your ‘wardrobe’ where other people can look at them and make an offer on anything they like. You can have up to 50 items in your wardrobe and three pictures per listing for free. When you list an item select the option ‘I’m open to all offers’ which means that people can offer you either cash, swaps or combos (i.e. combination of cash and clothing and/or accessories!). At the moment there is a section each for men, women and kids. You can browse through hundreds of bags, jackets, dresses and shoes etc. They even have an impressive selection of maternity wear, knitwear and swimwear.
- Fashion Space: This works in a really similar way to Bigwardrobe – you can buy, sell or swap your clothes. It’s free to register, set up your own ‘shop’ and list. It is more fashion focused than Bigwardrobe but it does take a 10% commission.
- Alternatively host your own swap-shop party. Get your mates and family together and tell them to bring any clothes and accessories they don’t want.
COST = FREE
The idea behind neutral shopping is that you use the profit you make from selling your old clothes to buy new ones, and you don’t spend any more than that. This means you have, in effect, got a load of new stuff for free. Be strict with yourself and make sure you really do only spend what you’ve made. Also, don’t forget to factor in postage and packing costs when selling or buying.
Where to sell
- eBay: There is a charge for every item you list and also a final value fee once it has sold but this is never more than 7.5% of the final sale price, (and quite often less). Also if you make sure you accommodate these costs when you price your item it won’t make any difference.
Read all about selling items on eBay here.
- Gumtree: Go to the website here where you can select the Post an Ad tab to the left. Then simply select the
‘stuff for sale’ option and choose the clothing/accessories section it goes in. You’ll have to fill in a few basic details then you can just sit back and wait for offers!
- ASOS Marketplace: Unlike eBay, there is no listing fee – instead you’ll pay ASOS a small commission (either 10% or 15% depending on the kind of seller you are) for everything you sell. You can either sign up as a ‘Basic’ seller (no fees but 10% commission) or a ‘Boutique’ seller (£50 a month and 15% commission).
You can read about selling items on ASOS Marketplace here.
- Clothesagency: As with eBay there is a charge of £1.25 per item for a 28 day listing (BUT no final sale price commission) so do remember to factor that in.
Try selling your unwanted clothes at car boot sales. Read our top tips on making money at car boot sales.
Ask in trendy second-hand clothes shops that may be interested in buying any vintage-style clothing and accessories that you have. Vintage clothes are in demand so check in a few (and try the posher areas) to get the best price.
3. New life for your old clothes
COST = Up to £5.49 for Dylon dye and a few quid for buttons/ribbon etc.
Re-style old clothes you don’t wear
Don’t spend – mend! Before you throw something away see if you can alter or modernise it in any way. Experiment with fabric paints, buttons, ribbons and lace to add some shabby chic to your wardrobe! Try shortening a hemline, sewing on quirky buttons or patches.
Altering and customising your old clothes will give you a new lease of life. Try Startsewing.co.uk and Online-fabrics.co.uk for seamstress tools and accessories and try your local charity shop for cheap material, old curtains and sheets that you can cut up.You can also get some helpful videos and online advice at Threadbanger.com and Cutoutandkeep.net.
You could even learn to knit and make you’re own clothes! See learn2knit.co.uk for some tips. You can even make money from knitting if you find you have a talent for it.
Dye(ing) for new clothes?
Get hold of some dye and turn boring old clothes a fab new colour.
What you can dye…
Cotton, linen and viscose all dye really well but note that any fabric that’s mixed with polyester will result in lighter shades than shown on the dye box. Wool and silk should be dyed with a hand fabric dye.
What you can’t…
Polyester, Nylon and other synthetics.
Dylon say that if you’re unsure about the material of your item, you can cut a small section of the hem, send it to them, and they will let you know whether it’s suitable for dyeing. You will need to use salt with all Dylon dyes (except the Wash & Dye range) because it opens up the pores of the fabric and allows the dye to be absorbed.
So many of us have that special little black dress which we cant bear to part with. But if yours is faded, dyeing it will give a whole new lease of life. Dylon have dyes in black, brown and navy blue which are perfect for faded clothes.
For a real change choose from one of 24 colours you can use in your washing machine. You can also use Dylon Pre-Dye to return the fabric to a neutral shade before dyeing. This will enable you to achieve a colour closer to that shown on the pack.
4. Embrace the internet
Do these four things and you should be able to find some bargains:
Step one: Compare prices
Go to price comparison website Kelkoo where you can enter the item you’re looking for and see where to buy it for the lowest price.
Here are some other comparison sites you can use:
Step two: Check out Members-only websites
If you love designer clothes but hate the price tags you really need to sign up to some of the new members-only websites that have sprung up. We have spoken about them before but they’re so good we decided they’re worth another mention, PLUS they may not take on new members indefinitely, so sign up now.
- Koodos where you can save up to 80% off ultra stylish brands.
Once you’ve signed up you can take part in any exclusive private sale just by signing up to the guest list. You can set up a reminder so that you’ll know when any sales you like start. The top offers are only for members. You can also make £5 when you refer a friend and getting them (and yourself) to buy something in one of the private sales.
Another good one to check out is Brand Alley where you can save 30-70% on designer clothes and accessories.
Read our full article on budget high fashion here.
Step three: Online swaps
- If you like Primark …why not try ASOS?
ASOS stocks premium brands like Chloe, McQ by Alexander McQueen, independent designers, plus all your favourite high street brands like Miss Sixty, Morgan and Oasis. Go to the clearance section for mega savings here.
- If you like Warehouse… go to their online site Warehouse Outlet.
It offers the Warehouse clothing lines at reduced prices. Go there now for fantastic savings on coats and jackets and get ready for winter for less. The accessories are also ultra cheap – at the moment you can get funky belts for just £3 and a pair of animal print sunglasses for £1!
- If you like H&M… why not try Peacocks?
Forget what you used to think about Peacocks – more and more magazines are featuring their lines – and with fantastically low prices you really should check out the online store. Go to the sale section for mega bargains. Peacocks also has a Just Arrived section for trendier items.
Step four: Check out other sale sections
- Dorothy Perkins
- New Look
- La Redoute
- Mango (Click here for women’s sale items and here for men’s).
- American Apparel
TK Maxx – you can save up to 60% off designer and high street brands. Sign up to their newsletter so that you’re the first to know about any new deliveries of big labels.
Essential Clothing Company – who promises you will always save between 45% and 85%. Essential Clothing offers free shipping on any orders over £50 to the UK, any orders below this amount will incur a shipping charge of £4.25 for the entire order.
According to research by Which? items are usually about 30% cheaper in an outlet village. Also some of the big brands only sell special clothing lines at outlets, so if you have a spare weekend get down to one near you.
There are now more than 50 outlets around the country. Go to their website to see a map of the 24 biggest outlets.
Check out charity shops and second hand shops in posh areas to get the best clobber. Also, Oxfam Originals are great for retro, vintage pieces. Find your local Oxfam Originals with this search tool.
Find all the second-hand shops near you here – just click on your region and it will bring up a list of shops near you. Visit the Time Out website for the top 20 second-hand/thrift stores in London.
Adding funky accessories to an old outfit can have such an impact:
- Tights and socks: Go to Mytights.com which has a fashion hosiery section full of tights in every colour imaginable. There are funky printed tights, knee highs and much more. Also, try Tightsplease.co.uk for similar stock.
- Jewellery: We discovered a great auction site called Rocks TV. This pioneering company has started the first website to hold live auctions every evening. There is a real auctioneer and the opportunity for users to interact with each other and the auctioneer in real time. Check out the website during the day to find out which pieces which will be available that evening, and then log on to bid from 5pm till 11pm. Our top tip would be to visit the site as soon as possible and take full advantage of the fact that the site is new with fewer people bidding – pieces are being sold at incredibly low prices and you stand an excellent chance of getting yourself a real steal!
- Shoes: Office has a brilliant clearance section with footwear starting from an amazing £5!
- Bags and belts: Amazon has a section of bags and accessories which can sometimes feature surprisingly fashionable items.
- How to make money selling clothes on ASOS Marketplace
- Budget Fashion: Save 80% on Designer Clothes
- Knitting: Earn from Making, Teaching and Selling
- Car boot sales: Turn your trash into cash
- How to make money on eBay