Save. Spend. Splurge.

How to shop your closet and save money

Everyone (and by everyone I mean myself), always harps on about shopping your closet and trying to mix and match pieces in an attempt to avoid shopping for new stuff and to use what you already own.

..but what does this really mean? It can be hard for people who aren’t naturally inclined towards playing around in their closet or organizing it for fun, to figure out how to ‘shop’ it.


Saw something on someone that looked amazing? Why not try and emulate it based on what you already own in your closet?

Take for instance this outfit from Wendy:



I don’t own a single one of her pieces but I do have similar ones in my closet, and I could easily replicate this outfit with the following pieces I already own and it’d look something like this:



Let’s say you don’t even have remotely similar pieces in your wardrobe.

What you could do instead is change the colours of the items but keep the items the same — pants, blazer and a t-shirt with sunglasses.


You have many ways to try and match by colour or print. You could do what I did above and just hold the item against other items until you see ac colour combination you like, or take out all your items in a single colour (e.g. all the blacks or greys) and pair them together to layer by texture in a monochrome palette.

For mixing prints, the only rule is to start by choosing prints that are of the same size — small prints with small prints, larger prints with larger prints.

Other foolproof mixes of prints:

  • Polkadots and Stripes
  • Florals and Polkadots
  • Stripes and Polkadots
  • Similar colour palette prints — Autumn coloured prints with other autumn coloured prints, in this case, size of the prints together will matter less


Layer items on top of each other — for something pretty standard and easy, try wearing a tank top with a nice neckline underneath a sweater or a button-up shirt.

Try playing around with necklines or lengths of tops and you’d be surprised what you come up with.

Try layering things that don’t look like they could be layered either, like tops or sweaters over dresses to use the bottom half as a skirt.

Or long-sleeved tops underneath blazers, and then rolling up the blazer sleeves to show the top underneath.

If you want to be even more daring, layering skirts is something I thought about doing as well, but I haven’t found the right pieces to work together.


Ways you can be inspired:

  • Belt a top — shirt, sweater, top, anything
  • Double-belt tops — Wear TWO belts! One on top of another (a thicker obi one on the bottom, a thin one on top, or two thin ones on top of each other)
  • Use purses as a pop of colour to an otherwise basic outfit
  • Layer necklaces and stack rings

You don’t need to necessarily go as far as Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City with her layered-on pearls look, but jewellery doesn’t have to be worn singly, try wearing 2-3 delicate necklaces together to create a new look:


Ever have a piece in your wardrobe that you absolutely LOVE but can’t figure out how to wear it except in the most basic of ensembles?

Take it out and start pairing it with other items in your wardrobe to see if you can drum up new style ideas.

Ways you can become inspired:

  • Layering on top or underneath another piece
  • Colours – Complementary / Opposite colours or Similar ones; Use the colour wheel!
  • Textures – Soft with hard — a floral dress with a leather jacket over it
  • Lengths – High with low — a shorter t-shirt over a long button-up silk shirt
  • Volume – Volume on top with something more fitted on the bottom or vice versa
  • Tucked In / Rolled up – Sometimes wearing it in layers but then rolling the ends or tucking it in, helps

As an example, a shirt that I have in my wardrobe turned out to be more of an orchid colour than a deep dark magenta as pictured on my screen… which made it a bit difficult to pair with items in my wardrobe because I find the colour rather odd…. *shakes fist at online shopping*… but I figured out how to wear it other than just with jeans and boots.

I played around with the shirt and came up with the following combinations:


  1. Standard – this is how I was wearing it before I decided to try and experiment with it
  2. As a topper – I used it like a blazer over top a white tank top, untucked
  3. Tucked into a skirt – I liked how it was a billowy top, which pairs well with the fluted peplum skirt
  4. Over or under a striped shirt — I liked the colour peeking out a little at the neck/wrists, or rolled up, but equally as nice was wearing it over a striped shirt and rolling up the sleeves so that the stripes were featured at the elbows
  5. Underneath — I wore it underneath a navy button-up sweater to give a pop of colour and rolled the sleeves.
  6. Over a dress and belted — I wore it as a topper, but didn’t like how billowy it was and ended up twisting the front ends that were unbuttoned, and securing it with an obi belt in contrasting colours instead; it made the dress into a skirt and a tank top!

In addition, I liked the colour pairing with teal, olive green and navy blue because it goes together without being expected.

How I found the colours to match: I basically held the orchid shirt against those bottoms and tops in my wardrobe until I saw a colour combination that looked nice, and then pulled those items out of my closet to try playing around with it.

Otherwise, I was wearing that colour only with denim, ivory, cream, black, white, etc. All neutrals but not with any specific colours.



  • Lauren @

    I’m definitely going to start doing that. I recently moved back home after university and am trying to cut down on my spending, and also have a closet full of clothes. Will be trying out ways to mix and match and make some new combinations to make better use of what I already have.

  • Tania

    Great post! There is a ton of inspiration online too. What I like about street fashion photography sites is I don’t get tempted to buy since they don’t state what their items are like fashion bloggers. So I’m forced to look in the depths of my own closet. If you google a style or color then click on images, so many great ideas. I do the polka dot and striped thing all the time (most of my wardrobe is black and white), always get compliments on it. I also layer quite a bit (i.e. tops over dresses to change the look or make a tank dress more appropriate for work).

    I also found I wear sheer items more (lace, crochet) if I layer a contrasting color underneath. I was trying to be too matchy before and it never looked right. Now I’ll do a cream crochet tank over a black knit tank and wear that piece now versus trying to find the exact cream cami to match.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      Oh I agree.. but then I want to find similar pieces!!!

      I can wear sheer things too if I layer underneath. I don’t like wearing things that are too transparent. That’s a great tip about contrasting the colours..

  • The Asian Pear

    Great post. One of my 2014 resolutions is to dress for success by shopping the closet – it ain’t going well. Thanks for the ideas!

  • SarahN

    I tend to find that what I covert is alternative silhouettes to what I already own – I was watching TV as watching this, and saw a floaty top, no something I usually buy or wear. A little hard to ‘master’- same with skinny jeans. Seems I’m a uniform sorta girl but occasionally I find a yearning for something outside the ‘uniform’ and branch out!

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