Clothing can be so expensive and take up so much space in your closet and drawers. What I have been working towards this past year has been to reduce the amount of clothing we have in our wardrobe while still having the ability to create different outfits. I used to always want a different outfit each day, for fear someone might realize I wore the same thing twice and as a fashion statement. I know now that this is irrational, but I did come up with a way to change things up a bit–so much so that you can pretty much wear a different outfit every day.
This is something I came up with last year for back-to-school, but I waited to share it until this year. You can use these tips for kids, adults, boys, girls…they are really helpful.
We turned less than 20 pieces of clothing into 150 outfits!
If I remember correctly, the whole shebang cost us between $120 and $150 (we had a $200 budget and spent around $50 of that on something else.). We didn’t even make the most outfits possible, as we specifically chose some clothing items we loved that did not fit everything else (a sweater, gym clothing, etc.). We even purchased some shoes and a neat little wristband. Shopping sales and utilizing any coupons definitely helps too. I bring along a calculator and pre-calculate everything to make sure we get the very most out of our budget with coupons and sales.
One of the best parts of this (besides saving yourself tons of money) is that it will help you better dress through the season changes, because you can layer as you need to to stay cool or warm up. I do realize that throughout this time your child will probably not manage to create each one of these outfits, as the clothes will get dirty or become too small, but it is a great way to keep things edgy (especially if you have a little girl like I was, who will not wear the same exact thing twice.).
(Also pictured: Decoupage Ruler Craft and Painted Pencil Craft)
These clothes are featured in our Back-to-School Backpack Makeover Tutorial post from last year. Check it out for ways to save money on a cool backpack and see more pics of these clothes in use! This year we used this same system to purchase a few new clothing items for E as he starts school again and I shared a few of my tips there too (I had already planned to share this post, which will give more visuals and advice.). Check out my Back-to-School Layering Outfits post.
We purchased about 15 pieces of clothing:
- 5 graphic short-sleeve t-shirts
- 1 graphic long-sleeve t-shirt
- 1 sweater
- 3 collared, button-up shirts
- 1 light jacket
- 3 pair of pants
Note: I did not include the shoes, belts, or wristband as parts of the outfit count, as they are very small changes. You may also want to purchase more pants, but we did not need them at the time.
What you see in this post is all based off of the boy clothing, but you can use the concept with any clothing. I will try to give some suggestions as we go along. When you shop, just shop with the mindset of choosing clothing that coordinates all around. Choose shirts that have similar colors and patterns that go nicely with everything else. You will also want to choose staple pants that can be worn with anything.
The start of the school year usually still has warm weather, so I went with single-layer and t-shirts and one thin long-sleeve shirt. We also picked out one sweater that will always be a single-layer outfit (you can find ones that can be layered; we just chose this one that does not layer well) and a few dressier collared, button-up shirts.
These can be paired with jeans or another style pants. We specifically purchased two very different types of pants (casual jeans and something dressier) so the outfits can be worn casually or for days the kids need to dress up a bit more. Girls can have even more options, because they can layer leggings by themselves, leggings under shorts or skirts, jeans under skirts…have fun with it.
(Also pictured: Painted Wooden Ruler Craft)
We also picked out some gym outfits, since my son loves anything athletic. While the gym pants didn’t really match with anything else, the shirts and jacket paired well with at least a few other pieces of clothing.
As the weather gets cooler, we like to start wearing our double-layer outfits with the graphic t-shirts and the collared, button-up shirts. One easy way to wear these is with the graphic tee as the bottom layer and the button-up shirt as a jacket, unbuttoned. Again, you can switch up which pants you put with it. This could also totally be done with a cardigan instead of a button-up shirt.
You can also layer the long-sleeve shirt underneath.
Here’s a fun way to wear your outfit–put the t-shirt on top! Make sure the button-up shirt is buttoned up and that the sleeves are down and buttoned. You can wrap the cuffs around the bottom of the long-sleeve shirt, wear them the long way under a short-sleeve shirt, or even roll them up to 3/4 sleeves under the short-sleeve shirt…see the pictures for more fun ways to wear your outfit this way. I used to love this style for myself when I was younger, and occasionally still layer this way.
You can even do triple-layer outfits so you can stay toasty warm in the cold winter months! You may think this will get bulky, but it really works. These are a little more difficult to layer, but they look super cool. Wear a long-sleeve shirt with a short-sleeve shirt on top then the button-up shirt as a jacket. You can even wear the long-sleeve shirt with two button-up shirts on top (make sure the patterns do not clash; I used a light striped pattern with a bolder plaid pattern.).
As I mentioned earlier, at least four of the pieces we purchased knowing they would not coordinate with much, so if you shop smart you can make even more outfit combinations! Of course, then you can change it up a little more even by adding different accessories and changing shoes.
Your next step is to read these tips for how to shop with layering clothes in mind. It specifically talks about back-to-school, but you can use these concepts all around!
Read also: 10 Laundry Hacks and Tips Every Mom Needs and Measuring Belt | Kid Fashion Tutorial
Did you love these 150+ ways to wear your wardrobe? Have any other ideas for pairing clothing to make outfits? Share with me in the comments!
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I think your pairing of these outfits is genius. I like all the outfits for your boy and they are really classy looking outfits that you styled. I need to be this organized. I really like what you have done.
What a great variety. I love how adding different pieces makes it look like a whole new outfit! 🙂
i loved all the outfit combos. its all so creative and very nice looking. thanks for sharing.
That is such a super smart way to save. I am loving all of the ideas you came up with!
Thank you, Dana! It has saved us a lot being able to stretch our outfits instead of purchasing a ton.