When January hits, all I want to do is snuggle under the cozy covers and hibernate for a few months, but since that’s not a possibility, I turn myself towards other fun pursuits – freshening up the wardrobe.

While some of the concepts I shared in 5 simple ways to dress fabulously for less definitely apply to this,  my 5 tips for freshening up our 2012 wardrobe will focus on key things we can do to make our wardrobe feel new to us, and still not break the bank.

1. Maximize Your Wardrobe by Minimizing What Doesn’t Work

While most people love spring cleaning, I take this New Year’s Resolution month of January to go through my closet. Most of us have way too many items which we don’t wear, don’t feel good in, or don’t even remember that we have sitting in your closet.

Search those pieces out. Our first step needs to focus on going through our clothes and purging. Yes, I know it’s not rocket science, but considering I JUST donated my last maternity clothes to Goodwill this week, and our youngest child is eight, there’s huge merit to this point.

Stream line your wardrobe to only those pieces that you feel good wearing.  If you didn’t wear it in 2011, you won’t wear it in 2012. Take one hour and just do it! This advice comes from a Type Z personality who likes nothing more than to run the other way from this advice, but it’s critical.

I have way too many clothes, and with that excess, I miss out on quickly putting together great outfits because I spend too much time weeding through things that are just “maybe’s.  Do you remember my Designer Clothes for Less and Why I Said, “No” post?

I then further reinforced the idea by writing about how we all spend hours trying to make the “Almost” outfits work. I have an entire wardrobe of “almost” outfits, but I’m kissing that goodbye for 2012. It’s not a good deal if it doesn’t look great on you.

Begin the process of filtering through and identifying your best colors for your skin tone skin tone and body type, which is key in finding out how to make you look ten pounds slimmer. Donate the rest and allow someone else to enjoy them.

One you have done that, you can really have fun maximizing what is left and filling in the gaps with a few investment and statement items. I created the winter white “Land’s End” look with clothes I have had for years, but had gotten buried on a high closet shelf over my head. I’ve had fun duplicating Land’s End, Gap and Eddie Bauer looks all week with my new turtleneck and sweater finds. (Now, in full disclosure, since I have gained 15 pounds in less than a year, and plan on getting those off over the next few months, I am being a bit hypocritical because I do have a stack of clothes that I will not donate yet. But if you are still hanging onto those size six jeans that haven’t seen the public arena in years, toss them.)

2. Keep your eye out for fashions you love, and copy them.

This is the fun part, and something you do without thinking, yet now I want you to make it reality. Women have an uncanny knack of observation. Yes, it’s the good, bad and ugly of how we are wired, but now I want it to work for you.

Gap’s Mood Board

Designers call them Mood Boards. It’s a collection of things you love and helps in the brainstorming process. For my ease, I use Pinterest?

It’s a place to quickly categorize all the things you come across on the web that you like, without having to remember where you found them. I recently just started a Pinterest board, and have started putting easily duplicated outfits on my My Frugal Fashionista board. Follow my board for inspiration, as I am inspired by others and tackle how to wear those same outfits for pennies on the dollar.

When I see someone, and I think, “Wow, I love that outfit.” I ask myself why it caught my eye. What was it about the look that I loved? Often, it’s a great pair of boots, a fabulous jacket or possibly some fun earrings that makes it pop. I’ve begun to notice that things I love can be easily duplicated with just a few accessories.

Yesterday, I got my daily email from Zulily. It’s one of those daily deals sites that offer baby, kids and mom items at fabulous prices. As I scanned their sales, I noticed that I felt at home with every outfit they offered. I liked them and would wear them. Then I realized another key fact; once I whittle down my wardrobe, and went back to my core pieces, I already owned almost every article of clothing they had on sale. They might be in different colors or textures, but I was ready to go with new and fresh ideas, just by taking note of someone else’s creativity.

3. Invest in a Great Pair of Boots

Trust me on this. If you have extra Christmas money and it’s in the budget, I highly recommend this.

One can not have enough cute boots to freshen up a wardrobe. Ok, that might be an exaggeration, but now that you have whittled your wardrobe to things you love, a main way to freshen up your wardrobe is not by investing in lots of new clothes, since I firmly believe many of the core pieces one needs can be found at consignment,  thrift stores or yard sales (besides jeans), but by buying a great pair of boots.

Yes, long boots, ankle boots, rain boots, cowboy boots, slouchy boots – they are all the rage right now and boots will not be leaving the fashion scene any time soon. Many trendy boots are featured in magazines, and while they are fun for a season, invest in a classic pair that will last year for years. Ten years ago, I purchased a tall, classic, pair of black leather boots, and they are still as fashionable today as they were then. They were worth the investment. I save my trendy boot purchases for second hand shopping, and if you question whether you should seriously wear second hand shoes, I address that.

I wrote a post Can you wear black and brown together? As I began noticing looks that caught my eye, I realized that these tall, brown boots with a LBD (little black dress) kept popping up. You all know my horrible addiction to LBD’s and now, just by copying other people’s creativity, I have a new look to try out.

Again, here is another outfit that I have in my closet already, minus the rain boots. Right now there are so many great after Christmas sales and rain boots add such a great pop of color to this otherwise, basic black jacket. Last week, a friend at church had on a cute classic dress paired with plaid rain boots. I never thought the two could go together until I saw her. Now I am on the hunt for discounted rain boots. (From a personal finance perspective, make sure you always search for on-line coupon codes first for even better savings. I always use my coupon code data base to search.)

4. Add Pops of Color

First you must know what colors work for you, both with clothes and make up, and then sprinkle these colors liberally throughout your entire wardrobe. I shared the fall fashion colors from this past year, and these are still going strong. If you tend to stick closer to neutrals, and a lot of color scares you, bring subtle pops of color into your new look. This is a great example of making this neutral outfit spectacular with pops of color from the turquoise heels, earrings and purse.

Color is power. I’ve stated before, a shirt can go from blah to beautiful, just by changing your choice of color or accessorizing with pizazz. I’m not a huge proponent of getting your colors down to an exact science, but you must understand if you are Cool or Warm Toned. Again, find inspiration from others.

Have you ever thought of mixing a pink scarf with a orange-ish, red sweater? Well, I will now.Don’t be intimidated by color. Have fun with it. It’s only clothes, and it’s only for a day. You never know the impact it might have to brighten your whole day and completely change your perspective on how you dress.

5. Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize

I will never tire of proclaiming this as one of my single most important tips for turning frump fashion into fabulous and yes, I say it often. Whether it’s accessorizing with scarves and learning how to tie them, necklaces, bracelets, handbags, hats, or boots, start somewhere.

We all have basic shirts, sweaters and jackets that can become fabulous if we just accessorize correctly. Many of you have asked for help in this department. Often, there are no wrong or rights, but again, begin paying attention to what you like and please don’t say, “that’s not me.” If you like it on someone else, there’s a great chance that if you dare to be different just for one day, by the end of the day you will love your new look.

Last month, I took five minutes to see how I could change up a basic black shirt. I look back and think, oh, there are so many other better things I could have done, but it was an experiment to see how quickly I could do it. It proves the point on the importance of how new accessories will freshen up your wardrobe. How to accessorize: 5 Minutes, 10 Looks

Look at the picture below. Many of us have similar turtle neck sweaters. Yes, the neckline creates a dramatic look, but what polishes this outfit is her layering of the bracelets and watches. I love doing that, and it’s something we can all do with what we have on hand.

Wow, I never knew I had so much to say on five simple tips. I am erasing the other paragraphs of info I have on freshening up your 2012 wardrobe, and saving them for additional posts. If you are still with me after all that information, thank you.
Fashion is fun and often we make it into something it’s not – too much pressure, too much comparison and too many feelings of inadequacy. Hopefully, as you follow along with my Frugal Fashionsta series, you’ll see that we can dress for less and change our perspective on what true fashion is all about.

Do any of these “Ways” specifically stand out as something you need to dive into a bit more in 2012?

I’d love to hear in the comments, which will give me a great idea for future posts.