Want to give your closet a makeover without breaking the bank? Many of the flaws that make clothes unattractive or at least permanently boring can be solved with just a quick fix. Here are a few minor features you can alter that can really transform an old favorite or a new find. 

Change the sleeves
One easy way to add interest to a top is to change the sleeves around. Take some pretty ribbon or a different fabric or even decorative chain or leather braid and use it to cover or replace thin straps on a tank top. You can use the new materials just on the actual straps or take them all the way around the neckline. For thicker or longer sleeves, you may want to take some of the fabric off, turning three-quarter sleeves into short sleeves or short sleeves into cap sleeves. 

Shorten it
I often find cute dresses or skirts that are too long, making them look dowdy and old-fashioned, or which have hems that just fall in the wrong place on me. In general, a hemline that hits the knee (rather than a couple inches above or below) tends to make legs look shorter, as does a floor-length look that stops a couple inches above the ankle. It’s often pretty easy to cut off an even amount of fabric around the bottom of a skirt, fold it over a couple of times and sew along the edge. They even make iron-on hems that don’t require any sewing at all!

Add something...
Sometimes you like a piece of clothing, but it’s just not very interesting. Consider attaching something to it that will add interest or a focal point. Cloth flowers can be pretty on the shoulder or the waistband of a skirt. Some ribbon or fabric can go around the waist of a dress. Pretty trim can do a surprising amount, and so can adding a few lace details around an edge or over a section of the garment.

…Or take something away
I recently found a dress at a thrift shop that was great except for a profusion of ruffles on one shoulder. Sometimes old prom dresses are stylishly vintage except for giant flowers, or shirts are cute except for a too-girly ribbon and bow detail. Don’t be afraid to grab a seam ripper and remove the offending item. You can often find treasure buried under all of that, and you can always add something prettier back on to replace it.

Repurpose a garment
If you love the fabric of an old garment but don’t like the item itself, it may be time to turn it into something else entirely. A dress can sometimes be converted into a top or a skirt by just cutting it in half and hemming it or adding a waistband. A skirt can even become a flowy top. And if you really don’t think it’s salvageable, you can always turn the fabric into a throw pillow instead of throwing it away.

This is kind of cheating, since it’s not really an alteration, but sometimes all you need is to find the perfect accessory before you start wearing a neglected favorite  all over again. A statement necklace can disguise a neckline you don’t love, or a belt can do wonders for a baggy dress without having to take in the waist. Play with the accessories you have, or use this as an excuse to search for something new.

Try a few of these tricks and soon you’ll be looking for even more things to alter, and finding plenty of fun changes of your own!



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