Looking at Clothes Differently: How to make it, not buy it

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It’s a typical Tuesday morning, and as I’m getting ready for school and decide that today is not a lazy day but instead a “cute outfit day” it hits me: I have absolutely nothing to wear.

This is the dilemma that preys upon girls, especially poor college girls, every day.

Of course, there’s the simple solution of going shopping, but if you are like me, having such a luxury doesn’t come around too often, so I must resort to solution number two: Looking at clothes differently.

No, I don’t mean squinting your eyes and looking at them or standing on your head or anything else ridiculous. I mean looking at clothes for what they could be rather than what they are.

Example: I was doing laundry one night when I noticed one of my mother’s long, black acetate skirts hanging up to air dry. At that moment I could have just seen a plain dress that my mother would probably hope I would wear but instead I saw a dress. All I did was put the skirt around my chest and add a cute belt around the waist and wahlah! I just got myself a new outfit for close to nothing.

This is just one of many ways you can go about spending less while getting more.

Hand-me-downs can be one of two things: Either an awesome find or completely revolting. Most of the time they aren’t exactly what you’re looking for, but there are ways to turn the ugly into the original piece you can’t live without.

This is a great way to save money and let free your creative side.

The same can also apply towards jewelry. If you have old bracelets or necklaces that don’t appeal to you anymore, see if maybe you can turn them into unique earrings no one else will have.

Something fun I did a few years ago when I got a digital clock for Christmas was hot-glue a bunch of tiny colorful beads around it to give it a little something extra.

Another way to gain a new look without blowing your budget is by re-creating something you already have, like a watch. If you have a watch that you wear all the time and are getting sick of, don’t buy a whole new one, just switch it up by getting new wrist straps. Places like Target sell them in different shapes, colors and material that can give your old watch a new trendy look for only about $10.

This method doesn’t just apply solely to clothes and accessories; believe it or not it, can also apply to items like bedding.

One year I got tired of my comforter and desperately needed a change (yes, I am one of those people with OCD that is constantly changing their room) but I didn’t have much money. I knew didn’t want to stare at that same pattern anymore so instead of throwing it out for a new one, I went to Joann’s Fabric, found a really cool pattern I loved, bought about three yards of it, and sewed it on top of my old comforter. Not only did I save myself about $50, I was able to have something I knew that I liked because I didn’t have to settle for the limited options sold at department stores.

My friends loved it and it was nice to know that if I ever got the sudden urge to have a change in my life around, it wasn’t going to cost me a fortune.

We see stuff like this all the time and we don’t even realize it. When summer approaches, stores like Hollister and Pacsun cut their pants that didn’t sell through out the year and make them into shorts. Not only are they recycling clothes, they are doing it at no cost and all profit.

So who’s to say we can’t do this ourselves?

But before you go crazy with ideas, there is one vital piece of advice I should give you: Invest in a sewing machine! Really, no matter the cost of one, it will definitely pay off quickly with all the new things you can make, transform and repair. I have saved myself a lot of money being able to fix shirts and pants that I would normally be forced to throw away.

From now on if you go to stores like Goodwill, or when you receive hand-me-downs, or even at department stores, you should see more than what is literally in front of you, you should see all the possibilities that piece of clothing could be.

An old piece of fabric becomes a headband, bed sheets turn into window/closet curtains, and shoe racks become interesting bed side tables.

There are unlimited possibilities when you put your creativity in the mix and start looking at clothes, and everything else, differently.