If you have become obsessed with tidying up and getting rid of old clothes thanks to Marie Kondo’s technique just like the rest of the country, chances are you have a pile of items you wanna get rid of. Susana Victoria Perez has more.

Are you guilty of excessive online shopping during the pandemic? You’re not the only one.

While stores have largely reopened amid the pandemic, many consumers are still opting to shop from home. According to a new survey from PYMNTS, a business-to-business platform specializing in payments and commerce, nearly 36% of U.S. consumers are buying retail goods online as of May 23 – up from 29% in mid-April, when few shops were open.

If you’re looking to treat yourself to a few new looks but trying to save money, put down your credit card and work with your existing wardrobe. Chances are, you have a lot of neglected clothes in your closet.

Here are seven easy and affordable fashion hacks to transform clothes you already own.

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1. Tie-dye sweats 

Tying your clothes up with rubber bands will help you achieve the perfect tie-dye look. (Photo: SPENCER MORECROFT)

Many are sporting this comfortable and colorful look, but these sweat sets can range from $50 to $250. The look is easy to replicate at home with a fabric dye kit ($15 to $30).

All you have to do is find some white cotton sweatshirts, sweatpants, zip-up jackets or shorts (pre-wash if they’re new). Rinse your garments, rubber band them, then tie dye away – with as many or few colors as you’d like. Once you’re done, place the wet clothes in a plastic bag (to prevent a mess) for 6 to 8 hours before washing. 

So how many colors should you add? Alison Deyette, a style and beauty expert seen on the “Today” show and “Good Morning America,” suggests using four or more colors if you’re looking for a ’60s Grateful Dead vibe, but limiting yourself to one or two may help you achieve a more contemporary look.

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2. Acid-washed clothing

If the tie-dye is too colorful for you, no worries! You can create a vintage splattered look on your dark-colored T-shirts with some bleach or even stencil your own design with a Chlorox bleach pen.

“Draw a design, let it sit for an hour, and when you come back, it might get a little dry,” Deyette says. “Just brush off that top layer of the crustiness, let it sit again, then wash the item and you now have your own white design.”

3. Embroidered T-shirt pocket

An embroidery hoop will make it easier for you to sew a clean, cute pattern. (Photo: HOPEBROIDERY)

If you have a T-shirt that’s looking too plain, there’s an easy way to personalize your look. With a needle and thread, you can embroider a cute little design, such as a strawberry, smiley face, flower or heart, onto the pocket of your T-shirt. For beginners, it may help to watch YouTube tutorials or print out and trace your desired image for cleaner results.  

Because this skill might be difficult for beginners, Abi Patten, a former tie-dye and upcycle adviser for Stylist magazine, suggests using a pre-printed water soluble canvas ($9) you can print your design on.

“Using (the canvas) as a guide, you place it on top of your fabric and sew the printed design. Then when you’ve finished, you gently hand wash your design; the canvas magically dissolves and you are left with just your design on the garment,” she says, adding that an embroidery hoop can help keep your design in place as you work. 

4. Painted-pocket denim 

Using smaller brushes will help you paint a cleaner design. (Photo: JENNA RYU)

Your denim jeans might all be looking the same, so try spicing them up with acrylic paint. Whether you want to paint the bottom of your flares or just the back pockets, it’s a fun activity to create a personalized work of art that will get you compliments. Just make sure to add a fabric medium or acrylic polymer to prevent the paint from cracking. 

“Wherever you’re going to paint on any pair of jeans, look for less stitching. The more blank the space, the better it acts as your canvas,” Deyette advises. She also suggests using blue painter’s tape to block off areas you don’t want paint bleeding into.

“You can use glitter glues and gems to brighten up your design,” says Patten, who recommends hand washing or a delicate machine wash for your finished garment. 

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5. Fabric-painted sneakers

Alison Deyette painted black stripes on her espadrilles to add some color to her footwear. (Photo: ALISON DEYETTE)

Bored with your solid-colored shoes? Deyette recommends fabric paint markers. Sketch out a design directly on the shoes, then draw right over it with your fabric pen. Paint tape can help you achieve crisper lines.

“I recently used old Cole Haan white leather espadrilles, and they were just a little too plain for me,” says Deyette, who applied black fabric paint for a black-and-white look.

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6. Iron-on shirts

Re-create a 2000s look with any plain shirt by printing out your favorite image or photo and ironing it onto your tee with transfer paper. Keep in mind that it’s better to use dark-color shirts for light-color images (and vice versa), and make sure to flip the image before printing to avoid winding up with a mirror image of the original. 

Patten suggests using cotton shirts for the best results, as the required heat may melt polyester or acrylic. 

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7. Fringe 

All you need for this casual and breezy look are scissors! It’s best to draw your lines first with chalk to ensure your tassels are even, Patten says. Once you’re ready, start cutting your shirt, dress or tank top upward and voila! 

All you need for this vintage look are scissors and a sewing hook. (Photo: ALISON DEYETTE)

Deyette adds that a similar look can be achieved with jeans. Just use sharp scissors to cut the bottom of your denim, then use a sewing hook to fringe for a vintage frayed look. 

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