What to Do When You Have Nothing to Wear: 5 Tips to Wake Up Your Wardrobe

If you feel like you have nothing to wear, here are my go-to tips for putting a cute outfit together with a limited wardrobe.

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Womens clothing on hangers.

We’ve all been there – waking up on a Monday morning, scrambling to the closet and realizing all of a sudden.. “I have nothing to wear!”

Maybe you forgot to do laundry that weekend or maybe you’re just sick of your clothes – either way, feeling like you have nothing to wear is no fun at all.

To be honest, this is something that used to happen to me all the time. I even used to skip class just because I couldn’t find anything I wanted to wear! Thankfully, those days are over, and I’ve found some ways to get over that feeling and come up with a cute outfit anyway.

No matter how much clothing you own or how sick you are of your clothes, we all just want to feel as put together as the girls do in a Winston White commercial. Yes, it’s totally possible to get yourself out of your wardrobe rut with a few simple tricks.

Here are some of my tips to wake up your wardrobe and find something to wear, or at least to get a new perspective on your existing clothes:

1. Look at style websites & Instagram accounts for inspiration

Sometimes I find it helps to look at pictures of people who dress well to get ideas for what to wear. I don’t mean that you should copy their looks, but try to draw inspiration from them and use them to see your clothes in a new light.

Here are some of my favorite online places to find outfit ideas:

  • thegray.pge – An Instagram page where they post outfits of either celebrities or influencers. It’s my favorite place to find inspiration from and try new styles or certain pieces that you haven’t seen before.
  • The Sartorialist – One of the most popular fashion blogs with little to no writing, the Sartorialist consists of a bunch of photos of stylish people from cities across the world! Want to know what they’re wearing in Paris or rocking on the streets of NYC? The Sartorialist is your source.
  • Classystreetweargirls – Sort of like thegray.pge, Classystreetweargirls is another instragram where you can be aimlessly scrolling through your feed and will be stopped in your tracks to marvel at a cute outfit. Maybe you’ll find something you want to emulate yourself!
  • zara_streets — Another street style Instagram account that features influencers of all types in cool girl street style looks. They span the spectrum of styles so you’re sure to find a look you love!

For even more sources like this, be sure to see our guide to the best Instagram accounts for fashion inspiration.

2. Challenge: Make it work

This trick works the best if you’re usually experimental with fashion and don’t mind taking a risk!

Here’s what you do: close your eyes or turn away from your closet and grab something randomly. No matter what it is, your challenge is to make an outfit around it and wear it! You can come up with some crazy and fabulous combinations this way, as well as find things you forgot you even had.

3. Borrow something from a guy

Closet full of mens clothing.

When you think all your clothes suck, sometimes all it takes is a quick browse through a boy’s closet to get your outfit going again. Borrow from your boyfriend or steal from your best guy friend – guys always seem to have the best basics!

For example, I love stealing my boyfriend’s cardigans because they’re long, oversized and ultra cozy. So chic with just a tank, jeans, and a few choice accessories. I also love wearing one of his oversized v-neck sweaters with skinnies and ballet flats. If you’re daring, you could even go the Maddie Ziegler route and rock the cuffed “boyfriend jean.”

There are so many new outfit possibilities that present themselves when you steal clothes from boys – I definitely recommend doing so if you have access to a guy’s closet.

4. Wear your existing clothes in unexpected ways

Another great way to wake up your boring old wardrobe – take your regular clothes and wear them in new, unintended ways. For example, that black tube top could be a perfect mini skirt over tights with a loose top and jacket, or that too-short-for-winter minidress could look fabulous as a tunic worn over skinny jeans. (BTW, Classystreetweargirls is a great place to see pictures of people doing stuff like this!)

Avoid future “nothing to wear” days by investing in clothes that can be worn multiple ways. Multi-tasking clothes are not only great for changing up your wardrobe, but they’re also perfect for those on a budget – it’s like getting ten pieces for the price of one!

5. Invest in new clothes that do double duty

J.Crew cape scarf

For example, this J.Crew Scarf can be worn multiple ways. Since it has holes for the arms, you can easily wear this as a cape over your favorite outfit in the fall. Alternatively, wear it like a normal scarf — no one will see the arm holes!

Along similar lines, this Infinity dress can be worn three or more ways, as either a maxi or mini dress, and it comes in a large range of sizes so it is perfect for everyone.

What did you think of our guide to what to do when you have nothing to wear?

Now that you know how to get yourself out of a nothing to wear crisis, I want to know what you think. Do you have the problem of nothing to wear often, or are you always coming up with new looks? What are your tips to get yourself looking fab when it seems like you have no clothes that work?

Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment!

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2008; it was completely updated and revamped in 2019 with new photos and information.

27 thoughts on “What to Do When You Have Nothing to Wear: 5 Tips to Wake Up Your Wardrobe”

  1. Taking style tips from Sex and the City and Gossip Girl is definitely the way to go if you’re trying to change up your typical wardrobe. Incorporating simple, chic pieces inspired by runway looks always makes me feel a little bit more dressed up! Last week I went shopping wearing a pair of gray skinny jeans, but instead of a regular t-shirt I grabbed one of my brother’s oversized Calvin Klein white t-shirts and paired it with a studded black belt making it more of a tunic. That and a pair of gladiator sandals was super comfortable and was really cute!

  2. This is all awesome. I’d also like to say that sometimes you can just add in a good accessory (bag, pashmina/scarf, etc.) to make an otherwise plain outfit work.

    I am so so so glad that you didn’t say something like “wear sweatpants and make it work” because it really irritates me when I see girls wearing worn out sweats or pajamas in public.

    I love your blog!

  3. Hey thanks!
    I use MyStyleDiary…but the people don’t seem to update often, so I’ll be sure to check out the other ones :)!

  4. omg you have just saved me from being late for the rest of my life!!!! very informative and good tactics i love the closing your eyes and picking something, then making an outfit out of it.

    (new reader)

  5. I think ClosetCouture.com is amazing. They have stylists online that can look at pictures of you and tell you what to wear and they will mix and match what you already have to make new outfits for you. Amazing – you get a whole new wardrobe without going shopping. http://www.closetcouture.com

  6. I feel like this all of the time and it hasn’t been until recently that I’ve learned how to switch up my wardrobe a little. Remixing your wardrobe when you think you have nothing to wear is a funky and fun way to keep your style looking fresh and stylish! You’d be surprised to find out making one little change in your outfit can almost switch up your entire assemble. Great Post & Thanks for sharing!

  7. OMFG! u dont kno how many times ive worn the same outfit and thought wat the hell do i have anything else in my closet!
    so thanks to whoever made this artical cause i wouldnt kno wat to do with myself tomorrow!!!
    : ]

  8. ive gained weight and im dressing too old and dressy and sufocating and trying not to dress like my mom now or when she was younger is messing with my mind. and i just cant find natural fabrics. too much color? i can afford new clothes i just feel that nothing fits. so im not in collage.

  9. I’m guilty of doing #4 a lot. My boyfriend isn’t too fashionable, so I think until I get to take him shopping, I’ll just stay out of his side of our closet, haha.

  10. Ashley – I know what you mean, sometimes getting dressed takes effort!

    Stephanie – Ah, yeah that’s no fun. Wardroberemix is updated all the time and so is Sartorialist. Hope you like them!

    Zoe – I doubt your friends notice you wearing the same clothes over and over. What I’ve found is that most people are too self conscious about themselves to notice what you’re wearing 99% of the time! Don’t worry.

  11. Hey this is a great article, but what do I do if I don’t have a lot of clothes to begin with, and can’t go out and buy some?! I need help!

  12. I always find cute strapless dresses and tunics during the summer but get really self-concious wearing them–I’m afraid of the little armpit fat roll effect 😛

    Sooo, what I like to do is shift them downward and wear them as a skirt. The elastic band is very comfy on my bottom and I have plenty of basics to wear for a top. And especially for the strapless tunics, if you wear them as a skirt, it can give an A-line effect (that I think looks classy) in a cute print you’d be hard pressed to find if you were shopping for an actual skirt.

    Double-duty clothing!


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