Spring Wardrobe Update -- Without Spending a Dime!

Budget-friendly fashion: Hot spring trends may already be in your closet

KATU producer Tammy Hernandez let Wardrobe Stylist, Elizabeth Teater,  loose in her closet again. To her surprise, Elizabeth found some of spring’s best trends hidden amongst clothes Tammy was convinced were boring.

Although Elizabeth adores new clothes, she really loves showing women the great pieces they already own, and how to wear them in a hipper, more flattering way.  For more information about Elizabeth, visit her website.

Here is how she created four new looks for Tammy -- without spending money:

Elizabeth thought Tammy could use something rock ‘n’ roll yet age appropriate. A little sexy, but not “too young.”

  • She turned a slip into a mini dress. Extreme hemlines are a big trend this spring and summer. Tammy didn’t have a mini dress, but this slip she never wears is simple and opaque, so no one will know it’s lingerie.
  • Turned a necklace into a bracelet. Tying a loose knot in the non-fragile material made it just the right length.
  • Used beat-up boots. These are a little too scuffed and out of style for the office, but what’s more rock ‘n’ roll than worn-out boots? In a couple years they’ll be even better!
  • Chose a short-sleeve jacket. This is a big trend for spring, and a good choice for temperature control.
  • Added an aqua scarf. This is such gorgeous color for warm weather, and very on-trend. The fringe adds movement.


  • There’s wisdom in the adage: “After 40, show skin or shape, not both.” The mini dress is short, so Tammy’s showing a little skin, but it’s loose fitting, so she’s not showing shape.
  • Don’t wear a mini dress unless you exfoliate, shave and moisturize your legs. You’ll feel more confident and look better. Alternative: Wear nylons that match your skin color exactly. They should be the thin, slightly shiny, "leg shaping" kind.
  • Wear boots with a mini, so you show just a modest amount of leg. Alternative: Wear flats, so you don’t look like you’re trying too hard to be sexy.
  • Wear just one piece of jewelry – it looks youthful and low-maintenance. Here, a necklace would be too much with the scarf.
  • You can wear all black in the spring and summer if the fabrics are lightweight, the cut of the clothes allows air to circulate, and you add a light-colored accessory.


“Hippie glam” is not how Elizabeth would describe Tammy’s wardrobe, but she thinks Tammy really pulls off this look. Dressing like this is a great way to get yourself into spring and summer’s free-spirited, earthy mood. Elizabeth calls this approach “dressing from the outside in.”

  • Elizabeth hand-stitched a scarf to the hem of a dress. Now Tammy has a trendy maxi dress. It took about 30 minutes for the stitching process.
  • Loaded her up with jewelry that coordinates with colors in the scarf. The two gold-colored necklaces complement the warm brown and yellow of the dress. Elizabeth added gold botanical-shaped earrings and a flower bracelet for a nature theme. Sometimes more is more.
  • Added gold sandals. Tammy's are luxurious yet simple – fun yet age appropriate.


  • Color experts say yellow is the color of the year, so go hunting in your closet for yellow.
  • Stitch the very edge of the scarf, where it’s already rolled over, and you won’t damage the silk.
  • Don't stitch the ends of the scarf together vertically; leave a slit.
  • A slightly sheer scarf looks sexy and breezy.


Elizabeth's goal here is for Tammy to get dressed in one minute (not counting hair and makeup), feel comfortable, and look polished.

  • Elizabeth replaced the trench coat’s tan belt with a pink floral one. Pink, plus a cinched waist, equals instant spring update.
  • Used the trench as a shirt. This classic jacket, in a supple material, buttoned high, looks so chic and clean without the distraction of a shirt showing. She has a comfy ivory camisole underneath just in case.
  • Chose wide-leg jeans. She says these are her most comfortable jeans. I say the Katherine Hepburn-esque wide legs make her cinched waist look even smaller.
  • Added brown wedge sandals. Her brown winter boots are also an option, since the jeans would mostly hide them.
  • Finished with a pop of bright pink lipstick. The neutral trench washes her out a little, so she needs some strong color on her lips.


  • If you have a short waist, as Tammy does, use it to your advantage: Wear a jacket that hits mid-or upper-thigh, and cinch the waist. Your legs will look dramatically long.
  • See how the jacket poufs out around the hips? Contrary to what many women think, volume around the hips can be flattering. It makes the waist look smaller. It also makes the hips look smaller. How? If the pouf is exaggerated enough, no one knows where your hips actually are, and the eye tends to assume they are in ideal proportion with the waist and legs. For this reason, skinny jeans would also be a nice choice with this jacket.  
  • Think of makeup as an accessory. For a very simple outfit like this, choose either dramatic eyeliner, or bright lipstick, or earrings – just one!


Tammy requested a look that was professional, but updated for spring.

  • Elizabeth topped gray trousers with an ivory blazer.  
  • Layered an orchid purple sleeveless top and fuchsia cardigan. These make a vivid spring color statement, but keep her warm when the air-conditioning is too much.
  • Added shiny red high heels. They contrast with the pink and purple just enough to be interesting.
  • Accessorized with hoop earrings and interlocking circles necklace. Both silver, both circular. Strong yet minimalist, like the clothes. 


  • A flamboyant mix of brights and neutrals looks current. Don’t be too matchy-matchy with the brights. Here, fuchsia, purple and red are an unexpected mix. Ivory, gray and silver provide a classic backdrop.
  • For spring and summer, go for medium or light purple, or purple-blue. Dark jewel-toned purple is too wintry.
  • The rule for whites: Warms whites like ivory and cream go well with soft, nuanced spring colors like orchid purple and pastel blue. True whites go well with bold, bright summer colors like primary yellow and royal blue.

Elizabeth recommended Tammy pick up the following items to round out her spring wardrobe:

  • A straw handbag
  • Small scarves that can be tied like flight attendant neckerchiefs. Polka dot and solid color are Elizabeth's favorites.
  • Light-colored shoes. Invest in beige, white, cream, tan and nude shoes, and you will not regret it. Nothing adds an unwelcome “thud” to a spring outfit like heavy winter shoes. If you are light-skinned, light shoes make your legs look longer. And if you have darker skin, light shoes will still give you a fresh, floating look. 


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