Trendy Transformations for Thrift Store Jackets

Updated: Aug 20



My favorite thing to shop for second-hand is jackets. I've gotten some amazing deals (like a $700.00 silk designer jacket for $30.00) and I've found some jackets that, at first glance, weren't all that special. But for $20.00 or less, any jacket in my best colors is worthy of its own transformation.


While just about any jacket can be transformed, there are two must-have's for me -- the jacket must fit me well in the shoulders and it must be in one of the colors on my personal color palette.



Whether you are trolling used clothing online or in-store, here are a few creative and inspirational ideas for turning an average jacket into a one-of-a-kind treasure.



1. Denim jackets are one of the most versatile jackets to refashion. Whether you add iron-on appliqués, apply fabric paint, sew on some trim, bedazzle it or add some fabric or lace, it's easy to turn a denim jacket into a work of art that reflects your Seasonal style personality.



2. Traditional Jackets can be transformed into something more trendy by changing up the buttons, applying elbow patches, adding fabric, trims or embroidery.



3. Utility or Cargo jackets can be personalized with patches, studs, embroidery, paint, or trim to create a one-of-a-kind piece.



4. Add some metal studs, paint, or fabric to a leather jacket to create a wearable piece of art.



5. Adding a lace inset, overlay or ruffle is another way to breathe new life into an older jacket.



6. A Winter Coat can be given new life as well with the addition of embroidery patches, felting, tulle, or fur cuffs and trims.



7. Too-short sleeves can be lengthened by adding a complimentary cuff or a too-long sleeve can be shortened. A short jacket can be lengthened by adding a co-ordinating fabric or lace ruffle or a long jacket can be hemmed shorter. Unless you are a skilled seamstress it is best to avoid a jacket that needs alterations in the shoulders.



Sometimes changing out the buttons or adding a collection of brooches is enough to elevate a tired looking jacket.


Most of us have become conditioned to buying ready-made clothing in shopping in Malls or ordering things online, but giving new life to an older piece is good for the environment and a great way to express your unique personal & Seasonal style.


Inspiration can come from just about anywhere. The runway or fashion week will usually provide lots of ideas but you can find inspiration on Pinterest, Etsy, or the look books of your favorite designer.


You'll want to choose your embellishments carefully so that the level of complexity in your creation is a good match for the amount of complexity you can wear and still be seen. And make sure that it works with you Seasonal Line-of-Design and flatters your body signature. And if your idea surpasses your sewing skills, let a professional help you to achieve your goal.




Have a jacket in your closet you haven't worn in awhile? Why not start there and see how you can re-imagine it into a fabulous focal piece for your wardrobe. I would love to see what you create so be sure to post a photo in the comments below.







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Joan Kosmachuk

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