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Op Shop Upcycling Tricks!

Do you love op shopping as much as we love op shopping? That’s a rhetorical question obviously as surely no one could, but if you think you’re up there with us then please do enjoy this op shop upcycling gold from Maddy at The Essentials Club – a gorgeously minimalist website featuring beautiful DIY fashion projects and sustainability tips and tricks. 

Even though secondhand shopping is a great choice, it’s still best to shop with a sustainable mindset. Slow down and consider if this piece will perfectly fit into your life and existing wardrobe – wouldn’t it be awesome to have a wardrobe containing only go-to pieces that you LOVE? With that in mind, here are a handful of gems to keep an eye out for on your next op shop crawl, along with potential styling options or transformations you could make…

Oversized button up shirts

In my personal opinion, these garments are the secret heroes of op shopping. Sometimes they’re perfect to wear as they are, tucked into a pair of high-waisted pants. Otherwise there are so many ways you can alter them to better suit your style – here are my top three upcycling ideas:

  1. Find two similar or complementary colours/patterns and sew one to the bottom of the other to make into a midi dress (as seen here). If it has long sleeves this could also be worn unbuttoned as a trench coat – double win! 
  2. Cut off and discard the top quarter of the shirt and add elastic to the top hem to create an off the shoulder gathered top, or dress if the length allows. 
  3. You can even turn it into a slip dress if it has the length! By again cutting off and discarding the top quarter, taking in the top sides to hug your chest more, cleaning up the top hem and then repurposing the cut off fabric into straps. Voila!

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Oversized mens denim pants

Because men’s pants have a lower crotch area it allows you to modify jeans in a few different ways, depending on your ideal style:

  1. Add some dart points to the side and back seams, so they hug your waist and become 70’s style high-waisted pants.
  2. Change them from a pair of pants into a skirt (like in the photo above) by unpicking the leg seams, then readjusting the front layers and taking in the back seam. 

For more detailed steps for each, see here.

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A tailored blazer

Not much of a ‘physical’ transformation, but wearing a blazer can totally transform an outfit! Find the right one and pair with a bit of red lipstick, a dress, or jeans and white tee and you have yourself a fun statement piece. Hurrah!

Overall, upcycling secondhand garments can be a really fun and rewarding process to add something unique to your wardrobe – here are a few things to keep in mind to help give you a vision for your next op shop transformation:

  • Can anything be added or subtracted to give the garment a whole new lease on life?
  • Does this piece actually suit your style?
  • If something is oversized but you love the material would simply adding a bit of elastic or some dart points make it fit you better?
  • If you do cut off any fabric, can this be reused on the garment or made into something else?

Enjoy your upcycling adventures, friends!