Give Your Wardrobe a Makeover Without Buying New Clothes

a woman altering a piece of clothing

In the mood for a clothing facelift but out of the cash to make it happen? Check out our list of easy clothing DIYs that take anything from drab to fab and hit refresh on your wardrobe. Some of these DIYs are fast and simple—others will require a sewing machine. If you don't have a sewing machine, reach out to a friend. And if you need to learn a little bit more about the basics of sewing, check out our handy tutorials here.

Put your Best Foot Forward

When revamping your wardrobe, don’t ignore your shoes. Sometimes all you need to do is give your shoes a good cleaning to restore them to their former glory. Other times, shoes just need a whole new look. Canvas shoes are easy to revamp because the fabric holds dyes well. You can dip-dye your shoes, add a design with embroidery, or use a bleach pen to etch in a design. If you’re working with a slippery textured shoe, your updates will be more limited. You can bling out the shoes by super gluing on some rhinestones or crystals.

For best results: go full DIY on fabric shoes and leave anything slippery or shiny till your second or third trial run.

hands polishing a boot

Make the Cut

Scissors are your best clothing DIY friend, but they do come with one rule: measure twice cut once. You can turn pants to shorts, jeans to ripped jeans, maxis to minis and so much more with scissors, but be careful. One too many power-hungry moves and you could be left with no more fabric to cut.

Jean garments are particularly easy to DIY these days, especially because tattered edges are in style. When you're turning jeans into shorts, or a denim skirt into a shorter denim skirt, cut with fabric scissors. You can use the duller edge to the scissors to lightly texture the denim and if you are afraid of making big rips, use a cheese grater.

You don't necessarily need to hem up your denim demos, but if you want to, use a basic straight stitch and a strong needle. Don’t forget to pin! If you want a look that pops, go over your basic hem with fun embroidery floss by hand, for stitches that make a statement.

hands cutting blue fabric with scissors

Hot Swap

Sometimes a simple swap is all you need to breathe new life into your wardrobe. Try changing out buttons on your favorite blazer or button up for new ones that make a statement. Another easy swap comes in the form of dye. Purchase fabric dye from Walmart and completely change the color of your clothes for less than five dollars.

Other easy upgrades include adding lace, contrasting fabric, or fringe to a clothing hem, or simply adding a faux collar to a shirt or dress. For a look that may not last long, but makes a statement, try painting a fun floral pattern on your favorite denim items. Just remember to wash sparingly. You can also easily upgrade with patches and pin or a little embroidery. Adding one of these elements is a simple swap that allows you to infuse your wardrobe with a little personality.


Last but not least, if your closet is lacking, try tailoring. Often the issue you have with clothes is that they don’t fit just right when they come off the shelves. Learn how to hem, take a seam in, and add pleats so that you can tailor clothes to perfectly fit your body. It can be tricky to mark clothes properly on your own body, so you may need a partner in crime. Make sure to have ample pins and a fabric measuring tape at the ready and before you start sewing, consider taking a tailoring class at your local craft store or even from a friend.

For best results: pin your clothing items and always remember to iron before you sew.

Now that you have a whole new look, it’s time to tackle the closet. Happy DIY-ing!