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Trending Now: DIY fashion encourages closet revamping on a budget

Columnist Amy Lee teaches viewers how to transform a boxy T-shirt into crop top in less than one minute.

By Amy Lee

Jan. 17, 2014 12:00 a.m.

With the seasons constantly changing and the pressures of living on a college student budget, it’s hard to keep up with all the latest trends in fashion.

Each week, Lifestyle | Theater editor Amy Lee will discuss and uncover trends relating to fashion that have gained popularity both on campus and in the world. From thrifting to do-it-yourself fashion as well as on-campus trends, Lee will let you know what’s trending now, why and how.

This week, Lee gets crafty and teaches you how to update old clothing items through simple DIY (do-it-yourself) alterations.

It started with a rip in my pants.

I was 12, and tripped on the asphalt ground where I was walking, skinning my knees and ripping a large portion of my jeans. It was that very day that my love for do-it-yourself began.

Instead of going home to throw away a pair of my favorite jeans, I grabbed a pair of scissors and shredded the other knee. I shredded parts of the thigh as well as down the calf. Within half an hour, my perfectly non-distressed Levi’s looked like they had gone through hell and back it was just the look I was going for. Instead of paying for a pair of trendy distressed denim jeans which major retailers had been selling for $80 and up, I made use of my old pair of denim jeans and upcycled them.

This was the first of many DIY projects. DIY (which stands for do-it-yourself) fashion includes essentially creating completely new clothing items or revamping (“upcycling”) old ones by making self-alterations at home.

Originating in the 70s, DIY fashion was popularized during the punk era of rebellion, when youths opposed mainstream culture and altered their clothing to challenge societal norms. Today, with the rise of blogs dedicated solely to DIY fashion as well as the increasing popularity of thrifting, an entire culture on DIY fashion has been created. From fashion aficionados to day-to-day avid crafters, many revel in the prospect of creating and wearing something different from the finished, clean-cut and industrialized look of store-bought clothing. They grab their fabric glue, clutch onto their scissors and look for inspiration.

And college students should too.

While it may seem daunting at first to those who seem completely inept at crafts, I’m here to assure you that it takes little to no skill. As someone who finds it difficult to handle a hot glue gun, let alone a pin and needle, I’ve become accustomed and open to altering all types of clothing. It just takes a bit of time and patience, a willingness to experiment and creative vision.

Living on a student budget also allows you to become more creative with how you spend your money and with what you already have.

For those struggling on a college student’s budget, the best place to start for any DIY fashion project is the thrift store. Clothing and accessories at thrift stores are often very discounted and there is a wide variety to select from. This is a prime option because if you tend to cut too much or dye too little, cost-wise you won’t be spending much, as most thrifted items cost no more than $20. Thrift stores also contribute to the individualistic nature of DIY-ing, because many of the items are secondhand, one-of-a-kind pieces and are no longer sold in mass quantities.

However, the easiest way to start DIY-ing is to search within your own closet. Much like the way I started, DIY-ing can start by chance. Most recently, I was taking a quick look into my closet when I found a graphic tee I never wore because of its boxy fit and awkwardly long length. With the California heat approaching, I thought to myself, “How much more would you have worn this if it were a cropped top?” So I proceeded to do what I knew best: I took out my scissors and snipped away. I’ll admit I’d previously spent a couple hundred dollars on this 1980s trend of shorter, looser tees but it was only until I realized I could produce the same effect with my scissors that a majority of my shirts I’d never worn became cropped.

So take a look into your closet. Try to change the old into the new. Change a dress into a skirt, a shirt into a tank top or perhaps just make an entirely new shirt. DIY projects are often fun and creative, and provide a simple, new way to change up the pieces in your closet without having to spend a fortune.

How to make your own cropped tee in less than a minute:

DIY Cropped Top in 1 Minute

What have you DIY-ed in your closet? Email your creations to Amy at [email protected].

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