Your shopping budget has gone the way of your quickly evaporating savings and you’re now sinking all your spare cash into that “rainy day” fund. But that doesn’t mean your wardrobe has to remain stuck in recession purgatory.

1. Recycle! Most designers look to vintage collections for inspiration these days so rather than splurge on an expensive necklace, handbag or jacket of the season, try combing EBay or your local thrift store for older, second-hand, and less-expensive pieces that inspired these looks.

2. Swap!
In New York, they call them “Bitch and Swap” parties. We call them recession wardrobe savers. Plan a gathering with friends in which they bring clothes from their closet they no longer wear (set a high standard though: You want old Marc Jacobs, not worn out Hanes sweats). Pop out a few bottles of wine and some snacks and you’ve got a fun party and an updated wardrobe.

3. Strategize! Rather than buying expensive designer clothing, spend your money on a nice coat, shoes or bag. These items will last longer and allow you to make a bigger statement than a dress that you might only wear once a month.

4. Minimize! Minimalism is not only a huge fashion trend this season, it’s also budget-friendly. It’s easier to recreate a chic, pared down look in cheap American Apparel basics than it is to experiment with the season’s richer, embellished looks.

5. Personalize! Nothing can be more annoying than someone asking you, “Did you get that from the Gap?” all day long. Give cheap purchases an edge by sewing on patches or appliqués to T-shirts and cardigans or adding clip-ons to ballet slipper flats.

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