Before you shop a la Paris Hilton, consider these tips for renewing your spring wardrobe. Photo: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

It's time for that twice yearly seasonal swap-out, when summer clothes replace winter ones and your wardrobe is due some spring cleaning. But this year, don't splurge on a slew of new pieces. Instead, follow the Three Rs, a canny system devised by celebrity stylists Phillip Bloch and Elle Werlin to reinvigorate your wardrobe in a thrifty, budget-conscious way: recycle, repair & renew. Follow this three-point plan twice yearly and your wardrobe will both cost less and last longer.

RECYCLE
  • First, assess everything in your summer wardrobe for its recycling potential including older pieces that can be revived with a few on-trend tweaks. "Take a cute little jacket and throw some bigger shoulder pads into it right now, and you'll instantly make it more 'fashion'," says Bloch.
  • Bloch also suggests a few well-placed studs or beads on an old leather piece; again, focusing on the shoulders. "We're seeing a lot of studding and beading, so get out the bedazzler – but don't get carried away," he laughs. In the same glitzy trend, swap old buttons for glammier new ones – rhinestones are ideal – and so snazz up an old shirt; or even add a strip of rhinestones down the side of a pant (Bloch says strips like these shouldn't cost more than a couple of bucks from a craft store).
  • Werlin's thrilled the boho trend is returning, and suggests unearthing those Sienna Miller-inspired skirts and slashing the length for a skin-baring summer. "You want to get a little more sexy, so shorten them to mini skirts – short skirts are in this season," she says. Repurpose ripped or torn shirts and pants with patches to channel the same shabby chic.
  • If you're thrifty, but far from crafty, don't worry. Werlin has a tip to finding the best sewing pros in your 'hood. Her own trick, stuck on the road for shoots and in need of savvy help in a new city, is to march into an upscale independent boutique and ask the owner for his or her recommendations. They might offer to handle the alterations on your behalf; if not, do as Werlin does, and scout a few sites in person. Tailors usually share a storefront with dry cleaners. "So always ask if they dry clean leather, and if they have a fur storage area," she explains, "Then they're more of a high-end."
REPAIR
  • The next step is deciding what's worth repairing in your wardrobe – whether spring-summer faves or soon-to-be-stored winter staples. Bloch always makes do and mends his leather goods, from belts to shoes. Werlin, too, cherishes her sandals and suggests resoling not just each season, but before a pair is ever worn. "That's the key for keeping shoes forever. Nowadays, the soles are really thin and not equipped for city walking."
  • Big-ticket treats are always worth darning, especially cashmere. "I have a whole bag of cashmere things ready for reweaving," Bloch confesses. He regularly salvages ripped or torn garments by sending them for invisible mending.
watercolor print dress cynthia rowley

A watercolor print dress like this Cynthia Rowley frock is a great addition to your spring wardrobe. Photo: Slaven Vlasic, Getty Images

  • Add a local cobbler and a crack reweaver to the list of pros to keep on hand. The latter's a dying skill, but one still practiced by a few nimble-fingered vets across the country, like The French Re-Weavers in San Jose, Calif., or the French American Reweaving in New York. The latter is a favorite of every high end showroom and also accepts garments for repair by mail. The operation is so old school there's no website - call 212-765-4670 for details; prices start around $40.
  • While you're resoling and reweaving summer clothes, prep your winter staples for storage. Neither stylist will ever stash clothes damaged or unwashed: it's the body oils in dirty fabrics that moths love to munch on (and keep those reweavers in business). Though Bloch dry cleans almost anything – jeans stay crisp and last longer that way, he guarantees – he also handwashes his knits in a gentle detergent like Woolite twice a year, at the beginning and end of each season. "I'm not a big sweater, but under the arm? Dry cleaning does not necessarily clean things that great."
  • Store jackets, shirts, and pants on professional wooden hangers, like the bargain style from IKEA that's $4.49 for 8. Werlin protects everything in garment bags, too. "Clothes do need to breathe, especially leather, so store that in a cloth garment bag," she suggests. For a bargain, buy them in bulk from the stylist supply store, Travel Auto Bag – go in with a few friends and split an order.
RENEW
  • The final step in wardrobe renovation, after recycling and repairing, is to add a few cheap on-trend treats: no more than three key pieces, best found in the bargain racks and sites of H&M, Forever 21, and Top Shop. Bloch suggests an "asymmetrical something – a great one shoulder dress or top," and a statement accessory, whether it's a chunky necklace or wide belt. The last addition should be "a cashmere-mix T shirt, long-sleeved, that's great for the evening," says Bloch. "There were strapless dresses over these on the runway at BCBG. We've had a lot of global warming in fashion lately and you can't tell what season the clothes are."
  • Werlin's trio of treats is different: something splashy and printed, be it minidress, skirt or shirt. "And something with a military vibe, whether a button-down shirt in an army green or a pair of slouchy khaki shorts," she recommends. And for another boho touch, some lingerie-as-outerwear. "Maybe even a bra that you can see through or show with a button-down."