If you’re anything like me – i.e. a skint student (not that that usually stops me when it comes to Topshop), you can’t afford a whole new wardrobe every season when the new trends come into play. Customisation is an easy and inexpensive way around this. You can either update your old clothes, or buy cheap basics from any high street store and customise them. There are about a million billion trillion (y’know, just a rough estimation) different ways to update and change up clothes, and here are some of the easier ones*.
Studding things is massively on trend at the minute, and I don’t think it’s going to be going away any time soon. You can stud pretty much anything – try doing the heels of your shoes or the shoulders of a denim jacket – and it’s easy enough for anyone to do. Try this Ebay seller – they have all sorts and they’re stupidly cheap. For a subtle look, a line of studs around the neckline of a jumper is a nice little nod to the trend, or for something more dramatic get a pair of denim shorts and go wild.
A great way of making your denim look more individual and unique is distressing. FYI, this is also great for stress relief. You need some fabric scissors and some sandpaper – your dad’ll have some – and that’s pretty much it, so anyone can do it! To create holes or worn patches on your jeans or denim shorts just rub away like crazy (but don’t, er, set anything on fire) with the sandpaper, until you get the look you want. A little bit of rubbing will make the denim paler and rub off some dye – more will make holes. To fray the edges, snip away above them hem, however short you want them to be. Then rub the rough edge with the sandpaper a bit, or pull away until they look nice and frayed. A run through in the washing machine will make it look less freshly done, and a little more authetic. Either try cutting the legs off your dad’s old jeans (no need to ask permission, he’ll get over it), or the sleeves off an old denim jacket and distress them to your heart’s content.
As far as I’m concerned, the best way of customising clothes is to embellish them. Get a load of beads, sequins or pretty trims and go to town on your basic knitwear. Now you could use fabric glue for this but I wouldn’t recommend it. It’d work best with a trim (which you can buy from John Lewis or any good craft shop), but for sequins and beads glue won’t form a strong enough bond. You’ll end up leaking sequins or dropping beads all over the floor and the look will be less ‘high end, one-of-a-kind jumper’ and more Primark’s clearance bin. All you need is a needle and thread, and it’s easy peasy. Get cosy on the sofa and do it in front of Don’t Tell the Bride or Strictly and time flies. Try it like in the photo, or try a gradient effect down the front of a jumper.
Okay so I highly doubt this tee was actually done with fabric paint or even pens, but it could easily be recreated (read: copied) with them. Fabric paints are a great way of getting creative with slogans and basic designs on vests and oversized tees, and it’s cheap too. I should really recommend practising on a spare bit of fabric but nahhhh, just get yourself down to Primark, stock up on cheap mens t-shirts, roll up the sleeves and go to town with them on your kitchen table. Check out my Pinterest board for inspiration on designs.
Some people think the ombré trend has been overdone. Er, they’re wrong. The key is now to update it for A/W. Get yourself some black or other dark coloured Dylon dye (you can get it from Amazon, craft stores, even Wilko’s do it) and a maxi skirt, long oversized tunic, denim shirt, or anything else you fancy updating really. The important thing about knowing if you can dye something or not is the fibre content, which obvs you’ll find in the care label. Anything cotton, linen or viscose you’re safe to dye. If there’s some polyester in there too it will take, but it’ll be lighter than otherwise. 100% polyester or nylon? Don’t even bother trying. You can also dye silk and wool, but it’ll have to be with the hand dye. Bear in mind that anything like stitching (99% of the time it’s polyester thread) or buttons will stay the original colour. Okay – then you’ll just pretty much want to follow the instructions on the packet, but adapt them for ombré-ing (?). Soak whatever it is you want to dye in water then wring it out really well. Mix up the dye and lower the bottom of the garment into it. After a while, lower it down slightly more and repeat til you’ve done as much as you want. Remove, squeeze out excess dye and chuck in the washing machine. You can also do the same thing with bleach on a pair of shorts, that looks pretty cool.
Who’d have thought you could do this with bleach? Just grab a paintbrush and a bottle of Domestos and go wild, flicking it everywhere. Just, er, avoid your eyes. And the curtains.
All you need to do to make a collar like this is grab yourself some lace and stitch it into place. If you get some lace with a really big scalloped edge it even looks like a collar shape – easy.
And finally, just get scissor happy. Primark is your friend for this – jersey doesn’t fray, so get some basic t shirts and snip away.
*Disclaimer: Don’t go holding me responsible for any bleach, needle, dye, scissor, sandpaper, paint or stud injuries.