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How to Change Your Style on a Budget (Best FREE Resources)

How to change your style on a budget, and while having FUN. Free resources for how to be fashionable with the clothes you have!

If you had asked me how I feel about clothes and my style about a month ago, I would have told you several things.

woman thumbing through closet, text overlay "free resources for shop your wardrobe outfit ideas"


“I don’t know how to dress.”

“I don't know what clothes suit me.”

“I don't know how to dress my body type.”

But that has drastically changed, in a short amount of time, mainly by learning (for free) how to style clothes I already have.

In fact, my turnaround has been so quick, easy, and (dare I say) FUN, that I decided I simply had to share these awesome free resources with you to help with how to change your style on a budget.

First up, how to make the most of your existing wardrobe.

Hint: want a quick, cheap hack to dress nicely? Sign up for Amazon's Personal Shopper for a few months while you work through the free resources below. They'll curate specific clothing items just for you, and you get to take a peek before they send anything to you. You also get a 7-day free try-on for the clothes, and can return anything for free. Sweet!

How to Be Fashionable with the Clothes You Have

I have never been into fashion. I’ve never really tried that much.

It’s natural for me to be, well, as close to natural as possible – meaning almost never wearing makeup, and cycling through the same clothes for sometimes 10+ years (I have one shirt that’s from my teens – no kidding!).

After all, I am a work-at-home Mom.

Over the last several years, my clothing and style philosophy has been centered around:

  • Quickly being able to put it on (so, sometimes what’s closest wins)
  • Not having to think about outfits (meaning, a default to tee-shirts, sweatshirts, and always a pair of jeans)
  • Is comfortable

But lately? Well, I’ve wanted to branch out.

Not a crazy amount, but enough that I don’t feel like a big frump monster.

The capsule wardrobe movement that started awhile ago caught my eye because I like making snap decisions about getting dressed in the morning.

However, that still doesn’t help with one of my weak points when it comes to clothes:

I just don’t know what to buy, or how things should fit me, or what colors suit me.

And guess what? I know there are many others like me out there.

That’s why I wanted to share with you the huge progress I’ve made and the awesome, FREE, resources I’ve found to help us style-challenged people out.

Because honestly? It’s changed my outlook on my body, and has even given me more of a pep-in-my-step I’ve been in desperate need of lately.

How to Change Your Style on a Budget

Let me show you the steps and awesome, free resources that I used to turn around my wardrobe situation with very little money and with a smile on my face.

If you've ever wondered, “how to create outfits from your closet”? Keep reading.

Step #1: Find Your Color Palette According to Your Features

When I was around 7, I had my “colors” professionally done by my aunt’s sister.

She sat my sister, brother, and I in a chair, and took turns putting a bright light on each of us while holding up various color swatches.

It turned out that my palette was Autumn.

Fast forward to today, and I’ve taken this a step further. Using the two tools below, I found out that of the two types of Autumn you can be (dark or warm), I’m a warm autumn.

Here’s an image of me in this palette:

screenshot of my colorwise.me warm autumn palette

You can use one of the two following great, free resources, to figure out what types of colors complement your skin tone and features the best.

I actually used both, and got the same thing each time (love that confirmation!).

Step #2: Take a Free Style Course

I never in a thousand years thought I would be telling someone that I actually enjoyed taking all three of the free style courses I’m about to share with you.

Like, it was fun. And girly. And something I’d typically never be into.

So, keep an open mind!

Course #1: Frump Fighter’s Free Wardrobe Plan + Course for Moms

If I had to choose just ONE resource to give a try (after having tried out all the resources I’m listing in this article), this would be it.

You can download Corina’s Free Wardrobe Plan for Moms, and she’ll walk you through a mini-video series course on how to overhaul and lots of shop your wardrobe outfit ideas.

I have her PDF download saved as a favorite on my laptop, and probably 1-2 times per week I open it back up for some inspiration on what to wear from my wardrobe.

It’s that good!

She gives you Outfit Formulas so that you can take what you already own, and plug it in (with potentially buying a few new pieces that will work across many outfits).

For example, instructions for an outfit might include: striped tee, colored shorts, stud earrings, sandals (with an illustration and links to each of the pieces).

See how you can just plug in pieces out of your own closet into that formula? And magically, it nearly always works!

It’s a capsule wardrobe that starts by using many of the pieces you already own. I love that!

Bonus: Another free style guide? Go to this site, and sign-up for her free 21 ways to style black leggings

Course #2: Pick Out Your Clothes By Energy Types

Who ever thought to figure out their personal style by seeing which of these four energy types they fall into?

Carol Tuttle teaches how to style and dress yourself by your energy type in this free (and in-depth) beginner’s course. You can be a little of each of Type 1, Type 2, Type 3, or Type 4, but you’re looking for your dominant energy type.

  • Type 1: Bright and Animated
  • Type 2: Soft and Subtle
  • Type 3: Rich and Dynamic
  • Type 4: Bold and Striking

To be honest, I had trouble figuring out whether I was more dominant in Type 2, or Type 3.

Course #3: The Style Science System Mini-Course

This course – Make it Look Easy – did less of tell me exactly what to wear, and more of tell me HOW to wear different types of clothing.

It also went into how to tell where my neckline should be (for tops of shirts + necklaces), and how to style frumpy shirts, how to style scarves, and all kinds of really cool tips.

Step #3: Go Through Your Wardrobe and Pare Down

One of the coolest things I found with each of the resources I’m sharing in this article with you is that I don’t have to scrap my entire wardrobe and start over.

Honestly – if I had to do that, then I’d stick to the jeans-and-tee-shirt-theme I’ve had going for four years now.

Instead, you weed through your wardrobe knowing your color palette, and you get really clear on the pieces you need to source (from a store, online, or even the thrift shop) that will bring new life to the stuff you already own.

Corina’s system from NowThatICanDo.com will walk you through how to do this, based on your colors.

It’s magical!

Not only that, but she then gives you lots of wardrobe ensemble ideas that you can replicate and tweak according to what you own (and what you’re willing to buy).

Here’s her two free resource that might just change your life:

Step #4: Purchase Just a Few Key Pieces

Go through the resources I’ve listed above (specifically, Frump Fighter’s free wardrobe guides), and you’ll have a short list of a few items you want to pick up when shopping.

Mine looked like this:

  • Long necklace
  • Flats (Burgundy, and Leopard Print)
  • Camel-colored vest
  • Camel/Tan-colored boots

I can’t tell you how great it felt to have a specific list of items that I was looking for, and that I knew would help me put together a ton of outfits that I would look great in (paired with the clothes I already own).

You see, when you learn how to style clothes you already have, you barely need to purchase new pieces. And I found this to be true even if I own some clothes already not in my “colors” – because now I know how to blend them in with other pieces that ARE in my colors, plus how to wear them.

Hint: you can wear some colors outside of your palette if they aren’t right up against your face.

Step #5: Try Out New Outfits

Using the outfit guides and the videos (all free, from above), you can now use what you’ve got plus the few extra pieces you purchased, and create tons of outfits you hadn’t thought of before.

It’s like magic! I’ll share with you a few examples of my own that I had no idea were lurking in my wardrobe already.

Note: Items with an asterisk I bought, and the rest I already owned.

  • Outfit #1: Graphic, boho tee under a long copper-colored cardigan, jeans, and the leopard-print flats*.
  • Outfit #2: Different graphic tea under a flowy, navy blue cardigan, dark jeans, burgundy flats*, and a turquoise pendant necklace.
  • Outfit #3: Cream-colored sweater with dark jeans, red, statement-piece necklace, and leopard flats*.
  • Outfit #4: Olive-colored vest* over a navy blue, long-sleeve shirt, dark jeans, gold necklace, boots.

Notice how with each of these outfits, I only purchased one item (and that item is being used again and again throughout other outfits, as well)?

And some outfits are merely learning how to mix and match clothes you already have!

It’s so amazing to me that these resources have taught me how to look at my clothes in a whole new light.

One of the most fun things about learning how to style the clothes you already have? Well, your partner and the people in your life will likely notice. I can’t tell you how many compliments I’ve gotten from my husband and the other Moms at preschool drop-off. Love to see that sparkle in my husband’s eyes!

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Amanda L Grossman

Personal Finance Writer and CEO at Frugal Confessions, LLC
Amanda L. Grossman is a writer and Certified Financial Education Instructor, Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Frugal Confessions. Over the last 13 years, her money work has helped people with how to save money and how to manage money. She's been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, LifeHacker, Real Simple Magazine, Woman's World, Woman's Day, ABC 13 Houston, Keybank, and more. Read more here or on LinkedIn.

Corina | Frump Fighters

Saturday 1st of February 2020

This is awesome! I am excited for how many women it will help! Thank you so much featuring Frump Fighters. It's been a joy to have you in the Frump Fighter community! ❤

Amanda L Grossman

Friday 7th of February 2020

It was a pleasure -- you're doing awesome at teaching women how to change their style on a budget, and shop their wardrobe.