Ten ways to upcycle your wardrobe

Fashion upcycling is all about taking old and unloved clothes or accessories, and altering them to make them look more stylish and appealing. They can be items from your own wardrobe that don’t suit you anymore, or items that you have found in second-hand stores. Even torn and damaged pieces can have a whole new life if you upcycle them well. If you want to have a go at fashion upcycling yourself, check out these handy tips.

Picture: Wikimedia

Find your canvas

If you don’t already own some pieces that could do with a transformation, there are easy to source online from places such as eBay, Depop and the Oxfam Online Shop. Look closely at every item- something may be worth buying just to take some buttons or fabric from it to use on another creation.

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Switch up those fastenings

Picture: Wikimedia

Even doing the simplest things to a fashion item can transform it. Replacing white plain buttons with gold pineapples, for example, completely changes the vibe of a piece. Weird and wonderful buttons are easy to find in haberdashery and craft stores, or online from the likes of Etsy.

Give it a new hue

Again, simple is sometimes best. If you have a white dress that you love the shape of but it has gone off-colour or been stained, think about dying it an eye-catching bright shade. It’s giving the item a second life and you a brand new outfit.

Add some art

Lots of freelance graphic designers and artists, on e-commerce platforms such as Etsy, sell their own transfers for fabric. If you have a top that has lost its shape, embrace its new grunginess by adding a cool slogan or piece of art to it. If you have the drawing skills yourself, you could even get arty with some fabric pens.

Scissors are your friend

Don’t be afraid to cut off a collar, sleeves, crop a top or turn jeans into shorts- you can completely transform the style of an item by doing this. Even think about taking the collar from one piece and swapping it for one from another. Anything is possible.

Be a jewellery designer

Hope is not lost with broken necklaces, single earrings or rings that have lost stones. Get some glue and stick that earring onto a ring mount or join a broken chain together with charms.

Get crafty with embellishments

Want to add some diamanté studs to a denim jacket? Go for it. You can even cover up small tears and rips in fabrics by sewing on some beads or fabric flowers on top of the offending areas.


Are the hems of an old skirt too boring? You could add a lace border around the edge, sew the hem up with some glittery embroidery thread or even add beads around the bottom.

Dig out your old shoes

Scuffs and wear doesn’t have to mean the end for your shoes. Think about painting a block heal with a bright waterproof paint for a real wow factor, or give them a designer look by adding pompoms to the ends of the laces à la Sophia Webster. You can even glue some old costume jewellery brooches or earrings onto the front of ballet flats for an instant revival.

Make something entirely new

Love the print of a fabric, but feel that the item itself has no future? Try cutting out a long strip of the material, sewing it in a pocket around some bendy wire and you’ll have a new tie-wrap headband.

• This article was produced as part of a partnership between The Scotsman and the Scottish Government’s Greener Together campaign