As the weather gets colder, older adults may be looking to update their wardrobes. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to update your wardrobe. Especially when you may be on a tight budget. I’ve already talked about healthy eating and Christmas shopping on a budget. Now: fashion! So here’s some advice to stay warm this winter.

A woman wears a pink hat, a black coat with a blue lining, and red and white scarves in front of a snowy landscape.

Patch Old Clothes

Learning basic sewing skills to mend ripped clothing will save you big in the long run. I’d look online for basic tutorials for all your sewing solutions. Now you may not be able to hand-sew anymore, but if you know how, it may be a great opportunity to teach someone else. And they can practice with your things! You may want to look into non-sewing ways to repair clothes.


Thrifting is a great way to find quality, vintage items (especially outerwear) at a reduced cost. This is useful if you can’t repair your clothes. It can also be a fun way to save the planet and you can donate your old clothes that you don’t use anymore. Shopping for long periods may be difficult for you (our caregivers do go shopping with our clients) but that is wear online thrifting can come in. Online thrifting makes buying and selling easier than ever. I’ve personally had success selling items on Facebook Marketplace, although that can take a while so be prepared. You can look for “buy nothing” groups in your area, these groups are filled with people giving things away for free. You can find them by searching “buy nothing [insert name of area here]” on Facebook. You can also donate coats to local coat drives and shelters.

Layer Up

Most people know this one, but I bring it up now to talk about how you can pair it with thrifting. Being able to get vintage (thus higher quality) sweaters for cheaper can also mean you’ll be warmer and better able to layer those under your coats. Finding nice wool socks second hand will be good for this, as well. This is also a good way to refresh your wardrobe; think of color combinations that you usually wear, but then layer pieces in that color scheme that you don’t usually wear together. Or mix more colorful tops with neutral sweaters.


If you have all your base pieces to keep you warm, but you feel drab wearing the same clothing every single day, a key element to switching up your look is going to be your accessories. You don’t even need new ones, old ones that you switch up every once and a while will suffice! And when you’re thrifting new coats, keep in mind what colors will go best with various scarves, gloves, hats, and shoes. I have too many hats that look cute by themselves but don’t go with any of my coats.

I hope this helps your future shopping and outfit planning. Winter does not mean we can’t be fashionable while on a budget!

Written by Brigid Stakelum