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5 Ways to Make New Outfits from Pieces You Already Own

If you wake up every morning, look at your same pieces that you wear every week and think, “I need new clothes,” STOP RIGHT THERE! Maybe a few new pieces would spice up your wardrobe, but it’s very likely that you have some buried treasures hiding in your closet somewhere.  “Wait? What?” is what you may be thinking, but with a little creativity and an open mind, you’ll find that those same basic pieces can be reworked or paired with new items to create outfits that look brand new. With a little help from Pinterest and collegiettes across the country, we’ve come up with five ways to make new outfits out of the items you already own.

1. The “Free” T-Shirt

We’ve all got a million t-shirts from various giveaways on campus, but pairing them with Nike shorts every day can get old quickly. Instead of wearing that “Roar Lions” shirt with your typical jeans and sweatshirt, try pairing it with skinny jeans and a blazer or cardigan for a casual but put-together vibe. If there’s a ridiculous graphic or picture on the shirt that you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing, but the shirt is in a great color, try up-cycling it! One great option for up-cycling a t-shirt is cutting strips horizontally, stretching them out and tying several (about 5 usually works) to create an adorable scarf! If your plain white tee seems to be what you always want to wear, check out this HC article on 20 ways to wear a white t-shirt for ideas and inspiration.


2. Faded Jeans

Whether they’re your favorite pair from high school or the pair you accidentally bleached, sometimes your favorite faded jeans just aren’t working for you anymore. Instead of tossing them, try reworking them! Roxanna Coldiron, an HC Contributing Writer from Hiram College, recommends pairing faded or distressed denim with an army jacket or military-style boots for a new feel. You can also try pairing your favorite jeans with a sparkly tank or one-shoulder shirt. You can dress up your jeans while dressing down the top, so the look you’ll create will be perfect for casual nights out when you’re unsure of the dress code. For more ways to work your favorite jeans into your wardrobe, check out HC’s article on 20 Ways to Wear Your Favorite Jeans. You can also work your crafty side by cutting them up and making a headband or bracelet out of the pieces! Experiment with braiding, bleaching portions or bedazzling them. All you really need for this project is a dab of hot glue, scissors and imagination! If you’re not crazy about the idea of cutting up the jeans you have such an attachment to, try bedazzling them! Instead of dropping $100 on a new pair of bedazzled jeans, DIY a pair of your favorites for less! You can purchase a Bedazzler for $20, or you might get lucky on a thrift store trip and pick one up from the 80’s. Either way, bedazzling may seem like something for glitzy grandmas or seven-year-olds, but it’s totally not if you replace the rhinestones of the past with studs and grommets that are everywhere today. Just make sure to only add a few so you’re not mistaken for a member of Hell’s Angels. Another way to give those jeans a fresh look is to bleach them and dye them! Colored jeans are everywhere, so join the trend by making your own. 


3. Buttondown Shirt

If you’ve got an obsession with these and have too many, or if you had to purchase one for an organization and you haven’t worn it since, it’s likely that you do have one of these to spare somewhere in your wardrobe. If you don’t grab one of your boyfriend’s (or dad’s) old buttondowns because there are too many cute up-cycle options with this shirt to pass up. Try pairing this classic shirt with a chunky collar necklace to mix classic and contemporary. You can also wear this shirt with a leather skirt, lace tights and a colorful jacket to create a look that’s office-appropriate but still shows off your style. For another look with this shirt, layer it over a tank and jeans and tie it at the waist – just avoid doing this with a plaid shirt unless you’re headed to a hoedown!


4. A Tunic Top

If you’ve got a flowy tunic top that you wore to death throughout the summer, don’t pack it away just yet! Try pairing that tunic top with skinny jeans, a blazer and boots for a sophisticated yet romantic look, or put it with leggings, a belt and boots to make it into a minidress. For a more rustic look, pair your tunic with colored skinny jeans, a denim vest and an armful of bracelets. For a more dressed-up look, pair your flowy tunic with a pencil skirt, or try your tunic under a blazer with your favorite dress pants.


5. Denim Jacket

This classic staple can be worn with everything, so if you’re having trouble finding things to pair it with, just pair it with everything from romantic, flowy dresses to leather pants and a band t-shirt. Another way to wear this staple is to pair it with a turtleneck tee, tweed skirt, tights, and boots to add a casual punch to a dressy skirt.  You can also try it with skinny jeans, motorcycle boots and a t-shirt for a motorcycle-chic, bad-a** look. Speaking of the motorcycle look, if you’re feeling adventurous (or the sleeves are too short!), you can always cut the sleeves off, slap some studs on the back (with your bedazzler, of course!) and have a rockin’ denim vest to wear over anything and everything.  For more ways to explore layering, check out this HC Article on 20 Fabulous Ways to Layer for Fall.

Sydney is a University of North Alabama senior majoring in Journalism and Public Communication. She is involved with Alpha Delta Chi sorority and Campus Outreach, and she works on campus as a student worker and at a department store as a shoe sales associate. When she's not running between activities, class and work, you can find Sydney laughing uncontrollably, talking to everyone, shopping, getting pedicures, reading magazines for hours, or planning her future on Pinterest. She loves Jesus, ADChi, New Girl (specifically, Jess's wardrobe and Nick Miller), glasses, discipleship and late night trips to Applebees.