The start of a new year can be exciting and overwhelming all at the same time. It’s an opportunity for a fresh start and for many that includes a commitment to a new look or style. The only problem is that after a festive season full of spending, money can be tight.

No matter how hard we wish each year, our holiday expenses aren’t going to disappear when the clock strikes midnight — but not all hope is lost. A “new you” doesn’t have to mean an entirely new wardrobe. It may sound unconventional, but by using what you already have in a new way, you’ll be able to conjure up innovative outfit ideas and get more use out of what you already own.

NEW YEAR, SAME CLOSET

Back to Basics

Draw inspiration from one of the most comfortable trends of Autumn-Winter 2013 — the pyjama trend. Bedtime-inspired separates were spotted all over the AW13 runways in shows like Louis Vuitton, Narciso Rodriguez, Marc Jacobs, and The Row. Turn your undergarments into outergarments by incorporating silk tanks, dark slips, lace undershirts, and bustier tops into your everyday wardrobe. To avoid looking like you just rolled out of bed, pair your pyjama-inspired items with fitted separates such as pencil skirts, skinny jeans, a structured blazer, or a pair of dress pants.

Skirt the Issue

Have a few too many servings of grandma’s marshmallow-infused Jell-O over the holidays? If your dress is a little too snug for your post-holiday physique, try wearing it as a top. To take your dress from frock to top, layer a skirt over a form-fitting dress for an entirely new outfit and silhouette. This tip works best with a skirt that has some stretch and/or volume, and it won’t cost you a cent.

Tools of the Trade

Step away from the makeup aisle and put down the lipstick. Before you purchase the new hot hue of the season, take a tip from the pros — try looking at your makeup bag with a new set of eyes. At the Etro Autumn-Winter 2013 show, MAC Cosmetics used its signature Lipglass on eyelids instead of eye shadow to create a wet, textured look. While wearing lip gloss on your eyelids doesn’t exactly transition from the runway to the sidewalk, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use your imagination when it comes to your beauty tools. Have fun with your makeup — blend lipsticks and glosses to create new colours, use cheek stain on lips in place of lipstick (and vice versa), use eye shadow as eyeliner, and use blush as eye shadow.

Totally Tubular

Extend the length of any dress by using a tube skirt. Although it may sound strange, a simple tube skirt can be used to extend the bottom of a dress by layering it underneath. Let the skirt “peek” out from under the dress to achieve the desired length and look. Mix and match different dresses, tube skirts, and styles like pattern mixing and colour blocking to find the right look for you.

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1.  Express Leather Bralette, $39
2.  AL&ALICIA Rafaella Skirt, $169.
3.  Stila Convertible Colour for Lips and Cheeks in Gerbera, $33
4.  Smart Set Front Panel Pencil Skirt, $39