High fashion is an expensive world. It can be hard to keep up with all the changing trends and shifting ideas. It’s even harder to be a fashionista with an empty wallet. Hard, but as it turns out, not impossible. If you want to give your wardrobe an upgrade without the credit card bills afterward, upcycling may be the answer. Clothing manufacturing is the second largest polluter in the world. So by restyling your old clothes, you’re not only saving yourself money, you’re helping the environment! Plus, it’s a lot of fun. By making a few little changes to your clothes, you can make some major changes to your style. Check out this list for some ideas on where to start.
1. Change up your buttons
An easy way to upcycle your clothes is to swap out your buttons. Sewing and crafting stores have a variety of options. Class it up with mother of pearl, or go a little funky with chunky or colorful buttons. Add some edge with metal buttons or studs, or just experiment with buttons on old clothes you don’t wear anymore. It’s a little change that can make a big difference in the overall look.
2. Cut it up
If you’re feeling brave, take a pair of scissors, and go wild! Cut some slashes in your favorite shirt. Make some more cuts, and turn a shirt into a skirt, or a pair of shorts. Cut the sleeves off your favorite shirt, and replace them with ribbons, to see how that fits. Put some artful slashes in your jeans. Add some colorful patches to your clothes, for a bohemian look. Just go for it, and make a change by cutting something up.
3. Try some embroidery
Embroidery is a great skill to learn if you have an interest in fashion. It’s not just about creating cute detailed patterns on your clothes. Once you have some skill, you can even create custom patterns, so you can embroider anything you want onto your clothes. Choose something in a basic color, and stitch away! With a little practice, you can go from basic flower and letter patterns, to animals and even your favorite logos. Get a good quality embroidery machine for beginners, take some classes, read up on some embroidery machine tips and you can turn yourself into a brand!
4. Do something different
The easiest and cheapest way to upcycle is just to change the way you see your clothes. Sometimes, we get into a rut. Those jeans look so great with those boots, we never question why we don’t wear them with something else. Try something new. Add some layers. Try adding a belt to give a new shape to an old dress. Look at your wardrobe staples, and mix and match. Pick up some fun accessories, and restyle your favorites. Upcycling is about breathing new life into your old clothes, so make some changes, and don’t be afraid to get a little uncomfortable.
5. Try another length
The right length can drastically change the look and feel of a piece. You can change your look by rolling your shirt sleeves. You can re-hem your jeans to make cute capris or shorts. You can even add length by adding fabric, for a cute layered look.
6. Add some fun details
The great thing about upcycling is you can get really creative. Don’t be afraid to try things. Taking a paintbrush to a silk shirt can give you a patterned effect like you’d see on a Prada catwalk. Bored of your favorite strappy sandals? Add some big feathers, and you can give it a touch of Haute couture. Adding a fringe to your favorite hat, or shirt, and you’ll be totally on trend. You can even pop by a craft store, and get some metal studs to update your denim jackets or old running shoes. Once you start experimenting, you’ll find there are things you keep coming back to. Who knows? You might just start the next big trend yourself!
7. Tailor your clothes
It’s the biggest fashion secret around, and it’s not even a secret. Have you ever seen your favorite celeb in a plain gray t-shirt and jeans and wondered why you could never look like that? It’s not just about genes and self discipline. It’s all in the tailoring. Most women don’t bother to think about tailoring. But it’s relatively inexpensive, and makes a huge difference in the shape of your clothes. If you really want clothes that fit like a dream, tailoring is the best way to go. You’d be amazed at how different your clothes will look when they’ve been shaped just for you. It’s not exactly DIY, but it’s a simple fix that makes a huge difference.
Keeping up with fashion may mean retail therapy for us, but it puts a lot of stress on our wallets. It’s also bad for the environment. Not that you should ditch your shopping sprees altogether, but a few simple upcycling techniques can help you update your wardrobe and help you save money. Best of all, it’ll give you a totally new look that is all you. And who knows, you might even start a few new trends yourself! So get creative, and make something gorgeous.