How To Dress Up Your Wardrobe | Styling Tips

The big word in fashion this year has been sustainability, encouraging us to buy less and buy wiser to do our bit for the environment. One of the worst things you can do and a habit we’re trying to break is buying something new for each occasion. Your current wardrobe is bursting with potential, the dresses squashed to the back are screaming to come out, so do a little digging. Being able to dress up things you already own is far easier than you’d think, leaving old clothes feeling new and you feeling fabulous. Here are our top tips for how to dress up things you already own ready for any occasion.

dress up what you already own


#1 Play with textures

You’ve probably got things that you’ve had so long you’re no longer seeing how luxurious they truly are. That black slip skirt, the velvet top, satin jacket; these sorts of things dress up so easily. Materials like silk, velvet and satin are made to be dressed up, looking fancy and formal with no effort on your part. If you’re stuck for an outfit, start by simply running your hands through your wardrobe and pulling out the things that feel interesting or feel the nicest, these are always a good place to start when it comes to trying to dress up things you already own. With a solid foundation of luxurious texture, you can’t go far wrong.

#2 Swap out buttons

This tip requires a little extra effort but offers a big pay off. Make staying warm a little more party-appropriate by swapping out the plain buttons on your cardigan or blazer for embellishments. Buy them at any craft store and customise to taste, from pearl to diamonte to bold colours or textures, anything works better than that boring tortoiseshell. Simply take off the old and stitch on the new for quick, reversible customisation that you can do and re-do time and time again. Turn your dull work blazer into a chic evening jacket with little to no work and no waste.

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#3 Consider your shoe game

The easiest and most obvious tip of them all, but it works. Nice shoes can take you far, turning jeans and a top from a casual day time look into something party-worthy. Take your favourite office outfit, for example, and replace your flats for bold heels or chic slingbacks. Suddenly your outfit has gone from business casual to powerful. Swap out your trainers and pair your favourite day-to-day slip dress with mules for alternative, cool vibes, or stick with the classic stiletto. Whatever style or height, great shoes will elevate your outfit to formality.

#4 Forget what you know

We’ve all got certain pieces that we always wear the same, styled in the exact same way every time. This routine is stopping you from seeing the potential in your pieces individually, so try to look at what you own differently, stripping back all styling associations. While you might always layer that dress over a t-shirt, why not dress it up on its own? Or the blazer you always layer over a blouse might simply need a safety pin to transform into a sleek top to wear over nothing but a lace bralette. Without layers and clutter, you can easily dress up things you already own as they suddenly return to their original state, longing for a party. Make an effort to see everything as something new and fresh and you’ll surprise yourself with how many new styling doors open.


#5 Easy accessories

If you’re skipping the splurge on a new outfit, we’ll allow you some accessories. Accessories which will be worn time and time again with several outfits are a far better and more sustainable purchase, so consider adding something shiny. From statement earrings to bold lipsticks to trending padded headbands, just a small addition can give a whole new vibe and point of reference to your outfit. For example, a padded headband turns your simple black slip dress from a casual day-to-night piece, into a look of lady-like simplicity that wouldn’t feel out of place at a royal gala. They’re also everywhere at the minute from Kate Middleton to Zendaya to your favourite influencers, so it shows you’ve got your finger on the fashion buzzer. Dressing up something you already own with new accessories is not only cheaper but means your clothes can be reinvented over again, needing nothing but a new pair of earrings.


Written by Lucy Harbron

Sarah Atkinson

Sarah Atkinson

Writer and expert