in favour of modesty: tips for building a modest wardrobe (on a budget)

I personally know some ladies who desire to dress more modestly, but think that it may be too much work to get a whole new wardrobe.  Or they feel like it’s too large of an expense and they can’t justify spending a ton of money.  As someone who is on a strict budget, I totally understand!  But I don’t want anyone to be held back in her modesty journey because she feels like it’s not financially possible.


In previous posts I have talked about how to start dressing modestly, and wrote a list of some modest wardrobe must haves. But today’s post is where I’ll share my tips for thrift shopping, hitting the mall sales, and even modifying your existing clothes.

Thrift Shopping Tips

Thrift stores are great because they have low prices, a variety of sizes, unique items, and so many different styles of clothes! Thrifting is now commonplace, and, unlike when I was a kid, thriftstores now carry current styles of clothing.  The downside to thrifting is that it can get discouraging if you don’t find many goodies in one trip.

But keep this in mind next time you go thrift store shopping:

  • check with the staff to see if there are any sales or promotions that day.  One thrift store here does a daily deal in various departments, but they also hold semi-monthly 50% off everything sales.
  • look in different sizes that you normally wear, because sometimes items are placed in the wrong section or the manufacturers have differing ideas on what is considered a size.
  • try things on!! Sometimes an item will look great on the hanger but maybe less great on you…or vice versa!  Often thrift stores only offer store credit for returns, so keep that in mind.

As with all shopping, I suggest taking a list of items you’re looking for.  For me this would be something like “heavy weight skirts; solid colour tops; nice sweaters”.  Having a list helps me stay on track because I tend to buy items that look nice, but really aren’t practical for me.

Mall Shopping Tips

I have found many great clothing options at the mall! The key for shopping there on a budget is to know when the sales are.  Usually, stores will do a big clearance about three quarters of the way through the season.  For example, July and August are the best time to get some clothes at sometimes 80% off!  The selection is limited but it’s worth checking out anyways.  Fall clothing will probably be on sale soon, but some stores might just lump it in with their winter stock.  If you want to get some great deals on winter clothes, check the stores in January!

Even during the seasons I still check the sale rack (usually at the back of the store) and have had success.

Another tip is to sign up for e-mail sale alerts with stores so that you can plan shopping trips around them.

Modifying Existing Clothes

A lot of ladies think sewing is too tricky, or are intimidated by a machine, but honestly, once you get the hang of it, you will wonder how you went so long without sewing! I have another post about adding a bit of length to a short hemline, but here are more tips for making your immodest clothes work:

  • short dresses can be fixed without sewing by simply wearing a longer skirt or dress underneath.  It sounds weird, but I have done it a few times (1, 2, 3) with success!  It works best to pair similar silhouettes.
  • use a scarf to hide any low necklines.
  • if tops are too tight, use a draped scarf to disguise your chest, or make the top a bottom layering piece under sleeveless dresses.
  • if you’re able to sew, you can add length to shirt hems or create modest necklines with strips of fabric.

You can also reimagine the way you wear your current clothes by doing some creative layering.  For example, if you feel convicted to cover your shoulders, but some of your favourite dresses are sleeveless, simply wear them with a tee shirt or long sleeved top underneath.  As I already mentioned, layering skirts and dresses is a great option!


One more point I’d like to add is to consider hosting a clothing swap with friends and family.  You might have a top that is too tight for your taste, but it could fit another woman perfectly!  Or a friend might be tired of a skirt that is just your style.  I’m hoping to organize a clothing swap with ladies I know!


About Christina

20-something; rural dwelling; wife to David; homeowner; pretty good cook; wearer of skirts; friend to all cats.

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