As someone who just finished their first year of university, but still fits into their clothes from grade nine, not a whole lot has changed about my wardrobe in the past five years. A lot of my wardrobe is actually borrowed form my sisters, as we share a lot of cute pieces – I can borrow tops, and sometimes even jeans from my sisters. But as someone who has been taught to sew, though, my wardrobe isn’t completely hopeless, and yours doesn’t have to be either! With a pair of scissors, some thrifted finds, and a bit of thread, there are easy ways to transform your old clothes without hurting your wallet. Keep reading for 10 ways to transform old clothing and seriously upgrade your wardrobe on a dime!
1. Don’t Get Stuck In A Rut
Everyone has their own “uniform” – a series of pieces that they can throw together that work really well. A fashion uniform is something that people will recognize you in – if you ask your friends what you usually wear, there will be certain colours, silhouettes, fits, and prints that you stick to. While having a uniform is a great way to know what pieces you look best in, and make getting dressed much easier, breaking out of your uniform can transform your wardrobe without buying new clothes. Get creative – see if there are new ways you can wear your old pieces to breathe new life into them. Try layering with bralettes, tops, jackets, or socks and tights (weather permitting.) For example:
Try some cool accessories:
Or play with length and silhouette:
Try pairing a long skirt with a short top, or a bulky jacket with a fitted dress that will create visual interest.
And, if you get super desperate, you can bleach an old shirt, or go for a dyed look.
2. Take It Back Now Y’all
Ok, so please don’t start dressing like Wesley Crusher, but grabbing a piece from your older siblings’ clothes from decades past, or even your parent’s favourite sweater, can add a unique look to your outfit. I have a nightdress that my grandmother had, but never used in the 60s that just came back into fashion – that’s right – without any shopping around or expenses, I found a slip dress made of super luxe satin. Since she is much shorter than I am, so I replaced the straps with adjustable ones, and have found countless ways to wear it.
3. Get Out Your Threads
I was fortunate enough to be taught to sew, knit, embroider, and crochet as a kid, so I am super glad that knitwear has never gone out of fashion, and that embroidery is coming back. Ironing on some patches, using pins, or embroidering can transform a wardrobe. Using a fabric marker, trace out a design you want, then get sewing!
4. Iron-On Transfer
Iron on transfers can be found at most craft stores, and can usually be used with a regular printer. Simply pick an image, print it out, and iron it onto an old t shirt to give your old favourite piece new life.
If iron-on transfers aren’t your thing, you can also use a bleach pen in a redesign.
5. Use Your Investment Pieces
If you have an investment piece (like a durable jean jacket, an expensive leather jacket, or some old sweaters that you keep in the back of your closet) that are in excellent condition, but will bore you to tears to wear, try revamping them.
6. Sew In Some Layers
If you have a plain t-shirt, take some scissors to an old bandeau and add a pocket.
Or, try adding a layer of tulle to an old LBD:
7. Bring Your Jeans Back to Life
There are SO many ways to bring old jeans back to life.
8. Make Your Wardrobe More Versatile
Adding in, or changing some pre-existing pieces so they can be worn multiple ways is key to keep your wardrobe fresh without spending tons of money.
9. Get Out Your Scissors
BEFORE YOU START CUTTING UP YOUR OLD CLOTHES – know if you need to sew new seams to keep the fabric from tearing further, getting stringy, or running. Learning to sew a straight seam can save you from unraveling old tops that you still love when you try a new DIY! Then, get chopping, if you are so inclined!
10. Hack Your Old Shoes
Shoes can be expensive, so well-made shoes should be kept around, even if you get tired of them. There are so many ways to upgrade an old, boring pair of shoes that you don’t want to wear anymore.
Add some embellishment:
Fringe, or layers:
You can even repaint the shoe, or add some new fabric!