7 Ways To Stop Wasting Money on Clothes


We are all occasionally fashion felons – buying things to only wear them once, splurging in the sales on things we know don’t suit us, and choosing high-price, low-quality clothes.

Shockingly, the average Brit will leave a third of the garments they buy hanging in their wardrobe – despite spending an average of £1,000 annually on clothes. 

The most common culprits doomed to an eternity in the wardrobe are things which need extra TLC because of washing and drying restrictions, along with special occasion items.

The average UK lady will wear just 43 per cent of her wardrobe on a weekly basis, and leave 6 per cent of her clothes completely unworn. She’ll also wear 7 per cent of her wardrobe only once.

But why? Going clothes shopping gives us psychological boost, activating the pleasure centre in the brain. In fact, seven out of ten women say they shop purely for the rush of wearing a new item and enjoying its ‘just-bought’ feel, while 25 per cent say buying a new item makes them feel like themselves again.

All this buying is wreaking havoc on the environment, and on our wallets. Overcoming your spending addiction may seem like a mean feat, but as Vivienne Westwood famously said: “Buy less, choose well, make it last.”

Here are our top tips for saving a pretty penny on fashion.



  • Make do and mend

This WW2 mantra still rings true today after decades of popular use. Do you really need a new dress if all you need to do to revamp your LBD  is a couple of stitches? Are you putting off wearing a very expensive shirt because it’s missing a button? Sewing is an invaluable skill.

If you’re not very handy with a needle, Brighton Repair Cafe runs once a month to help you with all your tinkering woes.

Clothes 1
Photo by Annie Hopkins
  • Shop second-hand

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, so charity shops are a gold mine – especially if you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing the same outfits as everyone else.

Maybe someone with the same shoe or dress size as you just didn’t suit their new clothes as well as you will, and there’s no shame in that. After all, you can definitely get the latest trends second hand for a fraction of the price – and if you can’t, granny chic is in vogue.

What’s more is that second-hand in 2017 doesn’t just mean charity shopping – vintage boutiques, online stores and iPhone apps are all treasure troves for pre-loved items.

capsule wardrobe
photo by Geneva Vanderzeil
  • Build a capsule wardrobe

We’ve all had clothes we love, but that match nothing else in our chest of drawers. Most of us are also guilty of collecting numerous almost-identical tops, justifying splurging on them because they have different detailing, a higher neckline, and so on.

Both of these fashion crimes can be solved with a capsule wardrobe – a minimalist approach where everything you own can be mixed and matched.

If this sounds like your cup of tea but you’re not sure how to get started, click here for a handy guide to slimlining your wardrobe for good.


  • Look out for designer dupes

Makeup bloggers and beauty Youtubers love finding exact shade matches for high-end products at high-street prices, and clothes are no different.

Fashion is usually filter-down, meaning the trends you see on the catwalk will come to the high street within a few weeks. What you could splurge on at Gucci, you could save on at M&S – if you have a little patience.


Photo by Mervi Emilia
  • Get borrowing

If you’ve got a fancy dress party or elegant soiree to go to, chances are you’ll buy something expensive for the occasion and then let it gather dust.

Before frittering your money away on these one-hit-wonders (think fancy yet garish gowns, cowboy hats, and wigs), it’s always best to see if a friend or family member has the exact item you’re searching for.



  • Sell it on

If you can’t resist buying it in the first place, you can at least get some of your money back for whatever is lurking in your wardrobe with the tag still attached.

There’s no shortage of ways to sell your clobber – from apps like Depop and Schpok, to Facebook selling groups, to good old fashioned car boot sales. Clothes swap events are also a great way to save money and rid yourself of last season’s fashions while revitalising your tired ensembles.

What other tricks do you use to streamline your wardrobe and save your pennies? Let us know in the comments.