The sad truth is that your wardrobe just isn’t as exciting as it used to be. The blouses are the same, the heels are still there, and it’s not like that hat went out of style, so what gives?
For some, the answer is to go out and buy, buy, and buy some more. However, that’s not always possible for the frugally-minded fashionista. More economical measures may be necessary, but that doesn’t mean you need to leave your wardrobe drab and dreary. There are a wealth of tools at your disposal to spruce up your style and make your old acquisitions better than new.
Cut It Out
Right off the bat, you should put some serious thought into whether a little reduction would go a long way for some of your tops and pants. Cut the sleeves a little shorter to air out, slice some slits in the size to expose a little sass, or turn those pants right into shorts with a cute DIY twist.
That being said, you don’t want to leap before you look. Though you may be aiming for a final product that looks rough, free, and chic, you want to make sure that roughness is intentional, not an irreversible mistake that makes the piece unsightly and uncomfortable. Plan it out, err on the side of caution, and sew the hem up if necessary. For some materials, cutting may be all you need, but for fibers that fray, you need to take care afterward to preserve the appearance, comfort, and longevity of the piece.
Of course, you don’t necessarily need to whip out the scissors to achieve a look that seems cut. A little tying (either in plain view or beneath the surface) can give the same impression to the world without requiring that you permanently change the piece.
Lather That Leather
Leather can look a little worse for wear, but the trick with leather is that reversing that aging is a lot easier than you might expect. There’s no need to rush out and buy new boots until you’ve done a little basic cleaning and taken a second look at what you’ve already got.
A combination of warm water and soap is all you need to get started. Be thorough and get into every little cranny, using a small brush if necessary. Toothbrushes are commonly used to get into tough spots.
Let the leather dry thoroughly, then tackle any scuffs, tears, and scratches. They may seem daunting, but a dab of leather oil and a blow dryer is really all you need. Leather is surprisingly durable and easy to fix once you get the hang of it.
If you’re looking to change up and get an entirely new color, a leather dye kit can be a lifesaver. With the included color stripper, remove the previous dye on the boot if there was any. Follow the directions and apply several coats, letting the product dry between each iteration.
Keep in mind that you don’t want to go too crazy with the colors. If you’ve got a nice black pair of boots, it would be unwise to dive straight into a vibrant shade of blue. Try to stick with a color that’s similar to the base of the leather.
A Do or Dye Situation
Just like with leather, you can dye fabrics and totally change up your game. Whether you’ve got silk, cotton, or wool, you can probably pull it off. However, one of the important keys to keep in mind is that dyeing really only goes in one direction: light to dark. It’s extremely easy (sometimes even dangerously so) to darken a piece and turn white to practically any color, but it can be nearly impossible to go in the opposite direction.
When you do get to dyeing, make sure you make proper use of fixatives first. Soaking the piece ensures that when you do apply the dye, it will have the best chance of taking.
If you’re aiming to go au naturale and use dyes you made yourself from fruits, veggies, spices, and plans, then you want to make sure you’re extra careful when it comes to extracting the dye. Simmer and strain to make sure you don’t have any chunks. Not only are they unsightly during the dyeing process, they may even mess the whole thing up.
After they’ve dyed, it’s absolutely critical that you air dry them to complete the process. Simply sticking them in the dye isn’t enough to make sure the color takes, you need to make sure they have ample time to soak after as well
Once you’ve tackled the basics of cutting, renewing leather, and dyeing fabrics, there are still other options out there as well. Adding lace and bejeweling are good ways to spice up dreary pieces, but they have to be used in moderation.