Just because you aren’t Tim Gunn doesn’t mean you have an excuse for looking like a slob. Whether you’re closet’s feeling a little dull or like a full-out disaster, here are a few tricks that will give your existing clothes a new lease on life.
Title photo by LizMarie_AK.
Keep Your Clothes Clean…The Right Way
Step one is, obviously, making sure your clothes are clean. We all hate laundry, but there are a lot of things you can do to speed it up, not to mention make it even more effective. Try adding a dash of pepper to your laundry to keep those colours bright, or washing those dry-clean-only clothes at home on the cheap. And when you’re done, make sure you know how to properly iron them — though if you hate ironing that much, you can always cheat and get rid of wrinkles with a damp towel or a spray bottle — it’ll still look better than a wrinkled mess.
Give your shoes a nice run through the washing machine, too — or, if they’re leather, learn how to polish them (or just give them a quick buff with a banana).
Revive Seemingly Ruined Clothes
It’s some law of the universe that the only time you stain your clothes is when you’re wearing your favourite shirt. Luckily, you don’t need to throw in the towel just yet. We’ve featured countless ways to remove stains with household items (including underarm stains), thus saving you a sad trip to the bin. You can also revive old, dirty shoes with baking soda and laundry detergent and de-stink them with cat litter or a dryer sheet.
Stick them in the freezer if they have gum on them and fix scuff marks with a pencil eraser. When you’re done, it’ll be like you have a brand new pair of shoes.
Stains aren’t the only thing that can ruin your clothes, of course. If you’ve lost a button or two, you don’t need to wait for your next trip to mum’s house to sew new ones on — it’s really easy to do. You can also fix any size issues yourself, so long as you know the basics of sewing — which we’d argue everyone should know. If a drawstring is your issue, you can re-thread it with a straw. You can also fix sweater snags with nail polish, fix a stuck zipper with Windex, or fix a loose zipper with a key ring.
If your clothes are a little itchy, you can get rid of their labels without scissors, de-itch wool items with vinegar or hair conditioner.
Repurpose Old, Boring And Out Of Style Clothes
If some of your clothes just don’t have the luster they used to, take some of those DIY skills and turn them into something new. Old T-shirts can be sun bleached or given new patterns with a tracing box and those old ties from the 70s can be slimmed down with those sewing skills we mentioned earlier. You can even turn a pair of laced shoes into slip-ons, if you just can’t stand tying your shoes anymore (though you could always just learn how to do it in two seconds, too).
If, in the end, you need to get rid of a few things, learn how to weed out your old clothes effectively and see if you can host a clothing swap to get a new wardrobe for free.
Learn A New Style Trick
Once you’ve got your newly-cleaned, revived, and repurposed wardrobe, learning a new style trick or two can tie everything together and make your clothes feel brand new. Keep your collars crisp by storing them all buttoned up, and if you wear a lot of ties, make sure you know how to properly match them to your shirt. You might also try learning a new tie knot, whether it be one of the basics or something a bit more offbeat like the Merovingian knot. Just remember: only experiment with one item of clothing at a time to keep yourself looking like an adult.
There’s nothing wrong with buying new clothes, of course — we’ve shared numerous tips on that front, too, from buying a suit online to buying shoes in the afternoon and even finding the perfect-fitting shirt. But, if you don’t have the money to plop down on a host of new clothes, you’d be surprised how far a bit of attention to detail can go. If you have any of your own tips to share, be sure to do so in the comments below.