The neck of a jumper, showing the clothing label.

How to get a new Autumn/Winter wardrobe – without buying anything new

The days are getting shorter, and thoughts are turning to winter woollies – or, for the more fashion conscious among us, to what’s on trend for autumn/winter.

It’s tempting to hit the shops, but there are ways you can get a new wardrobe for the new season without actually buying anything new.

Plan your wardrobe

The first step is to see what you’ve already got. Make a bit of space by storing away the clothes you only wear in summer, then dig out the items you haven’t seen for months and have a look at what’s there. You might even find some things you’ve forgotten about.

The concept of “capsule wardrobes” – a core selection of pieces that you can mix and match – is becoming increasingly popular. Everyone who’s tried it will tell you that this “less is more” approach to dressing actually makes life much easier. (If you’re brave, try the Project 333 challenge: the start of a new season is the perfect time to do it.)

So if you’ve got clothes that will work together (we all have our favourite colours, after all) you may find you have that perfect capsule wardrobe already. Get that right and you don’t actually need anything else.

If you do find there are gaps in your wardrobe, make sure you know what you want to buy before you go to the shops. (You know what it’s like when you go to the supermarket without a list – the same applies to clothing!)

Get on trend

If you prefer trends to minimalism, you may still be able to achieve this without spending money: try “borrowing” from your current wardrobe instead. Often the clothes we already own can create this season’s look just by using a bit of imagination and creativity.

For example, the boho style isn’t going away any time soon: all you need to do is add some layers to the summer dresses or tops you already have. As the weather turns colder, chunky knits and opaque tights will help, too.

There are lots of different looks around this season, many of which refer back to the past, so it’s very likely you’ll have the key garments sitting in your wardrobe already. It’s just about styling your existing clothes in a different way, so check out the fashion magazines and websites for inspiration on how to put them together.


Statement accessories are an easy way to add new life to your clothes. Look in your wardrobe or hit the charity shops for skinny scarves or statement earrings, both of which have been seen on the autumn/winter catwalks.

Personalise clothes

A quick way to give new style to old clothes is to personalise them.  This could be as simple as a bit of haberdashery – adding ribbons and trims, replacing buttons with bolder coloured ones, or creating patches and inserts.  Check the fashion mags for this season’s fabrics – plaid, brocade or fake fur for example – then customise to create the look. And if you don’t have this season’s colours, it’s easy to dye your clothes too.