7 Ways To Make Your Closet Seem Bigger & More Versatile

When you're not in a place to spend a lot of money on a wardrobe overhaul, you'll have to fall back on clever layering options that translate into ways to make your closet bigger — or at least seem bigger. While it can feel tempting to get your sartorial inspiration going by taking a peek at all the new fall fashions gracing store windows, the wallet doesn't always allow for such moves. To keep yourself from falling into a disappointed rut with the pieces you've been wearing all year long, take a moment to figure out ways to mix and match those pieces together. When you play in your closet that way and think of clever layering ideas, you start feeling like what is old is new again. A boring dress turns into a fun new skirt, old pants look like something completely different when paired with different shoes, and new shades get pulled out from a sweater when paired with strategically hued accessories.

To work these styling wonders in your own closet and double its size without spending a dime by recognizing your layering pieces, you can fight back the spending-ban blues. Below are seven clever ways to layer your wardrobe, making you feel like you just got double the styling options.

1. Turn Your Shift Dresses Into Tunics

Have a couple of shift mini dresses or drop waist frocks? Well, do the unthinkable and pair your dresses with your pants. Turn them into tunics by pairing them with either form-fitting cigarette pants or tucking a corner of the hem into the waist of shorts. This will help you get a few more top options into your rotation when you're feeling uninspired by the blouses you've worn one too many times.

2. Wear A Button Down Shirt Like A Cardigan

Have a trusty denim shirt, crisp white collared shirt, or a fun patterned one? Use your button up like a cardigan and layer it on top of another top. For example, a chambray looks amazing on top of just about anything and acts as a great neutral, a plaid or gingham shirt on top of a tank or simple blouse looks very off-duty, and a polka dot top looks playful layered on top of a denim one. When you unbutton those buttons, you have a lot more options.

3. Turn Dresses Into Skirts

Pull some clever layering tactics and turn your dresses into skirts. Pop crop tops on top of summer dresses, cropped sweaters on top of maxis, long, thigh skimming knits over midis, or tie the hems of chambray shirts into a knot over a flirty mini to turn any type of dress into a skirt. This just means your "bottoms" section of your closet just effectively doubled.

4. Layer Blouses Underneath Pieces, Not Just On Top

The typical move is to either layer a blouse on top of a dress or pair it with a simple pair of pants and call it a day. But break this piece out of its regular routine and try matching it underneath a wardrobe item for a more creative mix. For example, try pairing a floral print blouse underneath a pinafore, a soft tee underneath a spaghetti strap mini, a lace top underneath overalls, a collared shirt underneath a strapless dress or tube top, or a pussybow blouse underneath a sleeveless mini. By layering your shirts underneath closet staples, you're able to come up with a ton of new remixes, not to mention move a few summer favorites over into fall.

5. Remember That Bandeau Bras Aren't Just Underwear

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Give your bandeau bras a moment to shine and give your "shirts" options a boost by learning how to style your bandeaus like tops with your wardrobe. They can look flirty when paired with high waist midi skirts, where the long sweep of the skirt balances out the bare shoulders and midriff, or they can look fun layered underneath overalls or pinafores. They can also be matched with high waist pants since the bottoms help to cover up most of the waist and bring balance to the look, or they can peek out from underneath dresses. The key to making this work is keeping an eye on proportions, where you keep the look balanced by covering your legs or torso if you're exposing your shoulders and chest.

6. Make More Use Of Your Summer Scarves

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Those summer scarves don't just have to be tossed on like an after thought — they have more uses than that! Learn new ways to wear your scarves and see your options expand. Tie a silk scarf like a turban on your head, or tie it like a prim bandanna close to your neck. Go a different route and turn it into a necklace of sorts, accomplishing this by folding it into a rectangle and then tying the two corners into a Parisian-like knot that's jauntily skewed to the side. Or turn it into a headband by wrapping it around your head and tying it into a flirty, floppy bow. Add more volume to your look by looping a big summer scarf close to your neck and tying the ends into a bow, or go for a less prim, more casual vibe by hanging it loosely around your neck and cinching the ends with a metal or leather cuff.

7. Turn Main Staples Into Accents

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Turn your basic staples like sweaters and button downs into accent pieces, giving you a ton more possibilities when it comes to mix and matching. For example, tie a plaid or chambray shirt around your waist, adding more color or print into your outfit. Or do the same with a denim or leather jacket if you'd like to add more volume to a simple look. The same can be done with a sweater, where you tie it around your neck like an afterthought, but effectively bringing a new color palette into the look. Or, if you want a bulkier, more layered look, try draping a jacket or coat over your shoulders and on top of a thinner blazer or jacket. This will let you mix colors and proportions in a fun, unexpected way.