The average American woman in the 1930s had around 9 outfits. Those outfits included something casual, a dressier outfit, a fancy outfit, perhaps something to do housework or gardening in. The average woman in modern times has 30 outfits.
The cost of an American family’s clothing is around $1700 per year now. For most, that is 5% or less of their entire year’s budget but the cost of keeping those clothes may be driving up costs everywhere else.
There are ways to spend less on clothing including finding free clothes online, getting in the habit of renting or borrowing clothes, setting up clothing closets and community swaps, and at the drastic end, considering joining a nudist colony.
Before baring your skin it is time to explore the other options whether you need the basic necessities, cool stuff for a party, or something to wear on a job interview. There are resources available. In fact, if you know how and where to look, you may never have to buy clothing ever again.
How can I get free clothes for free?
From winter coats to sports apparel, there are a lot of ways to get new, gently used, and even name brand clothing free or close to it. Some stores offer super deep discounts at specific times of the year and if you are part of their loyalty or rewards programs you can earn points to further reduce the cost of the clothing you buy there.
It Takes a Village
Some of the best and easiest ways to get free clothing are already in your online network. The wider your group of possible resources is, the more free stuff you are likely to be able to find.
Here are some of the ways that your online community can help you get the free clothes that you need.
- Church and community outreach programs.
- Jobs and Family services sometimes have free clothes, especially for new job seekers.
- Garage sales and thrift stores sometimes offer discounts such as “fill a bag” or “buy one/get one free.” The best time to go is toward the end of the day or on the last day of a garage sale. For thrift stores, the end of a season is a great way to save money because the clothes will be marked down dramatically. Most stores do not have storage for out-of-season clothes.
- Clothing swaps. You bring in the clothes that you no longer need/want and walk away with new clothes for free.
- Check the online marketplace for great deals on clothing including clothes by the bag or lot, mystery bags, and other items at a huge discount. Don’t be afraid to haggle especially if the price that is set seems ridiculously high.
Never Pay Full Price for a Temporary Outfit
If you would prefer to only wear name-brand clothes with fashion accessories, you know how pricey a single item can be. But, if you know what you are doing, you can actually get top items for free or for next to nothing. Here’s how.
- Trade clothes with another fashionista.
- Start a fashion blog and convince the up-and-coming designers to let you showcase their work. If you have an established following, you are likely to pull this one off. A person with an active Instagram account will probably get at least one person who would like to get the publicity boost.
- Use a service like Rent The Runway for special occasion items.
- Post a request on Facebook Marketplace to see what kind of offers you get.
Where can I get free clothes from?
You’ve shopped the yard sales and local garage sales. You’ve checked the free section on Craigslist and you’ve asked community members for suggestions or donations. Where else can you find free clothes?
One way is to make sure that you are saving as much money as possible whenever you are shopping. If you are fairly loyal to one brand make sure that you sign up for their rewards program.
For example, Nordstrom’s Reward Program, called The Nordy Club gives you points for every purchase made at Nordstrom or Nordstrom Rack. Additional points are earned if you use the Nordstrom credit card. Points can then be used toward a future purchase of your choice.
What apps give free clothes?
Some of the apps listed below will actually give you free clothes while others allow you to get free clothes by referring enough friends to pay for the clothes you want to buy. In either case, you are saving money on clothing.
The following apps are all free to download and use. Most should be available for iOS and Android platforms.
- Thred Up. Refer friends and earn $10 per referral.
- Rue La La.
- Stitch Fix.
How can I get companies to send me clothes for free?
One of the easiest ways to get a company to send you free stuff of any kind is to simply ask them. The worst thing they will do is ignore your request. If you send in a self-addressed stamped envelope the company may send a form letter saying that they do not send out free clothes for any reason. On the other hand, they may just send you something. You never know unless you try!
Typically, clothing brands may send a free t-shirt or hat when they are launching a new line or to celebrate an anniversary. Other brands may do a clothing giveaway to boost their public image. Steak-Umms, the pressed meat brand famously did this while boosting the brand’s image on Twitter. In addition to a more customer-facing interaction, Steak-Umms gave out free hoodies, tees, and other items all to the delight of their customers and followers.
You are more likely to get free clothes online if you are an influencer at any level. If you are using your Instagram account to review women’s clothing, for instance, and you have a pretty robust following, brands are going to want to get you to wear, review, and like their clothing.
How can I get free toddler clothes?
Children’s clothing is outrageously expensive and they go through sizes very quickly. A sudden growth spurt can have your baby leapfrogging over 2 or even 3 sizes for a week or two. The average family spends around $60 per month on baby and toddler clothing for the first year.
What can really be frustrating is that first-time parents may be overloaded with baby clothes including designer clothing, and most of it will never even be worn while second and third children get some hand-me-downs but may not get nearly as many articles of clothing as the first.
If there is no one available to hand down used clothes, there are other ways to get free clothes for your toddler. Good, quality clothing will last much longer than the cheaper items which is important for the active toddler. Here are some ways to find clothing to keep your growing rugrat presentable.
- As always, start your search with nearby garage sales. Bonus: in tight-knit neighborhoods, people will get together and combine resources so that you may end up with more clothes than you need.
- You can get free clothes online by searching on Facebook, Craigslist, and others. Facebook groups including the Buy Nothing pages let you find free clothing, toys, and other baby needs in your local area.
- Use Thred Up or Stitch Fix to get clothes at a huge discount. These sites are great especially if you have no clue of what size your child needs.
A note about babies/toddlers and free shoes. Some experts insist that used shoes are a bad idea. Others insist that babies do not even need shoes and that toddlers should only wear shoes when they are absolutely necessary.
For the most part, if the shoes are not overly worn they should be fine.
How do you swap clothes online?
Setting up an online clothes swap can be pretty easy. Your swap can be set up to be done all online and through the mail or in person. If you don’t want to take on that responsibility, there are sites that let you sign up for a membership and start swapping.
Here are some clothing swap sites that let you take the things that you no longer wear and send them along to a new home.
- Swap Society.
- Dig N Swap.
- Swap Style
- Rehashed Clothing.
Again, for local resources look at the various Facebook groups or watch for information on local bulletin boards.
How can I get free gift cards for clothes?
A great option for free clothing is through gift cards. If you do a lot of shopping online, there are many ways to earn gift cards that can then help you get free clothing online. Watch for sales that let you earn free gift cards as a promotional gimmick. During certain seasons you might get a free gift card when you buy other gift cards to say “thank you”.
You can also earn free gift cards that let you get clothes from your favorite online clothing stores or local shops. Here are some ways to get started.
- Swagbucks. Free to join for everyone over age 13. You earn points by taking surveys, answering the daily poll question, watching videos, playing games, and signing up for offers. You can earn additional points called SB, by shopping at selected merchants and using the discount codes. Some merchants offer cashback as well.
- Inbox Dollars. Similar to Swagbucks except that you must be 18 to join. In addition to surveys, games, and offers, both allow you to earn additional points by referring your friends and family to their program.
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