New Outfits with Old Clothes

Outlet store skirt – 2 years old.

New – red necklace-turned-bracelet from the Goodwill!

My life has pretty much revolved around a school schedule since I was in kindergarten. There’s a cyclical pattern to it that I absolutely love – a clear beginning, an end, and an opportunity to begin again every year. With that cycle and beginning again comes the desire to prepare for the new year by purchasing new supplies and new clothes.

New – yellow belt!

I have fond memories of being able to make a few selections from the JCPenney catalog as a kid and not being able to wear the new clothes until the school year actually started. The clothes and the supplies represented a fresh start, something that made the end of summer a little more bearable.

Put music on while you play – this is supposed to be fun!

Turns out, as an adult and now teacher, those instincts still come up and I find myself wanting to add to and change my wardrobe, a way of mentally and emotionally preparing myself for the transition into the fall.

New chunky white necklace (secondhand – $4!) paired with old white necklace gives both the old accessory and outfits new life! Cream trench coat was secondhand also – $14, yo!

Pearls from a secondhand store and outlet store skirt (both purchased several years ago).

I notice those instincts rub up against my resistance to buy things I know I don’t really need. I remember my newfound practice of waiting a bit before I act on an impulse to buy something, finding that most times the desire either goes away or I discover another solution that works just as well.

Awesome skirt found at a secondhand store two years ago – $4!

So it is with that in mind that I share with you the outfit ideas in today’s post. This is how my sister helped me make lemonade out of the lemons I already had in my closet. That’s not to say I didn’t make any new school clothes purchases, because I did make a few. But my focus today is to share with you how I was able to see what I already owned through fresh eyes, ending up with 20 new outfits with old clothes I already had.

The orange shirt on the left should be marked – New! Not sure how that one slipped through the cracks…

Rachel’s always had a knack for fashion – she’s a beauty school drop-out, after all. She’s always been able to convince me to try on something new I would never have chosen for myself. So that is clearly why I asked her to help me out with my clothes. Find yourself a Rachel* – a friend with a great sense of style that can help you see your clothes in a new way. You need someone else’s perspective – sometimes we’re just too close to our own things to see them in a different way.

Night out

Daytime – An $8 shirt on clearance transforms this skirt into a completely different look.

Next, open the closet, pull out the basics and fun things you like, but don’t know what to do with, and let your friend go to town! Be advised that it’s very possible your bed will look like the closet threw up all over it – that’s part of the process.

Then, make a list of the things you might need to purchase to pull some things together. It was clear after going through this process that I needed a basic pair of brown shoes. Who has two thumbs and several pairs of red shoes, but not a neutral brown to speak of? This girl! Also, the big learning here – accessories are key!  I needed some choice, colorful accessories to add some pizzazz to an otherwise ho-hum shirt or sweater.

New – this belt was a splurge, but has already become a part of at least 5 new outfits. That’s a splurge that’s worth it!

Radhi and I both bought the same shirt at an outlet mall over 5 years ago. This belt has given it new life!

The things I purchased this year, I marked in the pictures as new. Most of the “new” jewelry I found at Value Village or the Goodwill! Go there first before you go to other retail stores – you’ll be surprised how lucky you get…especially if you go armed with a list!

I’ve been wearing this sun dress a lot this summer, but with leggings, closed-toe shoes or boots and a jacket, it’s perfect for fall.

Obviously, a big part of this process is being willing to think outside of the box. Sometimes, the combinations your friend comes up with might not be an immediate sale, but chances are, it’ll grow on you. Like this number. I wasn’t so sure, but Rachel was a definite yes. I think I may be changing my mind. What do you think?

Finally, I know it seems silly, but taking pictures of your new creations along the way is super helpful! These are new and unfamiliar combinations and even though you think you’ll remember, you won’t. I’ve heard of people taking pictures of their outfits and using them to figure out what to wear…I get it now.

New blazer – on sale this summer…I’ve always wanted one of those. I love how that old necklace of mine pulls everything together. It’s so simple, but it totally works.

A new pair of dark denim jeans…that’s just necessary sometimes.

*Don’t have a Rachel or want my sister to help you? Email her at and she’ll help you “shop” in your closet too!

** Check out this post for more outfit upcycling ideas!

11 thoughts on “New Outfits with Old Clothes

  1. radhi

    awesome!!! and like i said, every time i was scrolling through, i could not pick a favorite! the outfits you’ve pulled together are just so marvelous! good job stacy & great job rach! nice photography too 😉

  2. Eileen

    Yay for working with what you’ve got–and strategic mixing & matching! I definitely hear you on the thrifting. I get nearly everything I wear from Goodwill, no problem. This time of year there are usually a few straggling yard sales to shop too!

  3. Grace

    Your outfits are so amazing! I really like how your style transitions from at work, going out with friends, to being at home all with ease! Definitely taking notes…

    1. stacy Post author

      Thanks, Grace! It’s my sister’s handywork for sure! I couldn’t have done it without her help and eye! 🙂

  4. cheryl

    such fun back to school outfits! the necklace as an earring..genious! this is my stylist tip…if you don’t like something, try it on backwards before giving it away. sometimes that neckline looks great on your back =)

  5. kara

    Love this! I’m a regular closet cleaner-outer, but this post inspired me to give it a SERIOUS clean out, and just leave the things that I really love and wear, and hopefully find a few new uses for old things, as well!


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