Projects & Improvements

Fashion Hacks: 9 Simple Ways to Customize Your Clothing

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Rosa Gold)

The new year is finally here and so are the latest trends. And while it’s fun to embrace all of the new cold-weather clothes, it can still be tough to set yourself apart from the rest of the fashion-savvy pack. That’s why it pays to find ways to personalize your wardrobe without sacrificing your style (or budget). With a little time and creativity, you can turn your basic apparel into an exclusive wardrobe that’s unique to you. From dip-dye to iron-ons, read on for nine cool ways to customize your clothes and show the world your one-of-a-kind style.

(Image credit: XO Jane)

Cut it up

One of the coolest ways to customize your shabby old tees is to cut them up DIY style. You can tear pieces off of the bottom and convert them into braided straps or simply cut the collar for an off-the-shoulder style, either way you’ll end up with a totally awesome T-shirt. (Image via xoJane)

Put a pin on it

If the pin trend renaissance shows anything, it’s that the dream of the ’90s are alive in not just Portland, but everywhere. Everywhere you look online, you’ll find adorable—and super affordableenamel pins, collar pins (like the DIY version above from The House That Lars Built), and lapels, allowing you to upgrade your drab denim jacket (or the back pocket of your jeans) in a literal pinch.

(Image credit: Megan Nielsen)

Shorten it

Looking for a fun way to update an old dress in the back of your closet or personalize the same pair of pants you know all your friends have too? Take an inch—or five!—off of the bottom and suddenly you’re working with a whole new outfit. Just look at the difference at Megan Nielsen’s dress just by taking the hem from ankle- to knee-length.

(Image credit: Be Frassy)

Add a collar

An oft overlooked but insanely chic way to glam up your humdrum tops, tees and dresses is to sew a collar onto them (blogger Audrey Leighton Rogers‘ contrasting collar makes her Cher Horowitz-inspired outfit). You can forge a collar from just about any fabric you want (or repurpose an old button-up) for something truly one-of-a-kind.

(Image credit: Honestly WTF)

Try Dye

Bring some of your boring cotton tees back to life by giving them the dip dye treatment. Whether you ombré, tie, or Shibori-dye (like the groovy shirt above from Honestly WTF), you’ll transform your wardrobe into wearable works of art without have to spend a lot of cash.

(Image credit: Anna Fasano)

Patch it up

Easy to apply and utterly hip, vintage embroidered patches are totally making a comeback this season. Embellish everything from your canvas tote to a denim coat with all your favorite appliques and score a look that’s all your own.

(Image credit: PAOM)

Screen print

Although the big jobs are best reserved for the professionals, there are still ways to screen-print clothing from home, on the fly. Print out your very own design on an iron-on transfer—or commission a custom piece online like the backpack above at PAOM—and make a bold statement from the privacy of your own computer!

(Image credit: A Southern Drawl)

Elbow patches

A sleek, preppy way to quickly modify a long sleeve shirt, sweater (like A Southern Drawl’s version above) or jacket is to iron on a pair of elbow patches. Available in a slew of different colors and styles, you can add them at home in a matter of minutes but appear impeccably tailored.

(Image credit: Rosa Gold)


We know it sounds a bit old school but monogramming your stuff actually looks pretty swanky. These days you can head online and monogram just about anything your heart desires (like the $30 tote bag above) or drop by your local tailor to embroider up a custom look in no time.