How-To: Refresh Your Basic Wardrobe Pieces (Part 2)

Tania Tonello is a fashion stylist, personal shopper, and regular contributor to STYLE Canada based in Downtown Toronto. On #WardrobeWednesdays, she gives you fun yet practical tips and tricks to mastering the art of dressing and expressing yourself in a functional, economical, and more sustainable way. You can read last week’s instalment here

I’ve always loved a makeover story. From Pretty Woman‘s Julia Roberts to TLC’s What Not to Wear, witnessing an accelerated evolution of someone’s style is like fashion magic. How incredible that through clothing, hair, and makeup, you can look like a completely different person within hours? Well, the same makeover principles can be applied to your wardrobe. By adding colour, accessories, and implementing styling tips, you can give your closet new life.

Last #WardrobeWednesday, I broke down ways to revamp a handful of wardrobe basics for under $5 (!). This week, I continue by refreshing the second half of your 10 Wardrobe Essentials:

6. Denim Jacket

Whether its oversized, cropped, dark or light, a denim jacket is the perfect makeover piece. Don’t know how to sew? No worries! The following ‘refresh’ tips don’t require a needle, thread, or a sewing machine.

Paint It

Personalize your denim jacket with an original paint design and zero artistic skill required! Find painting stencils that reflect your style and choose from a wide assortment of fabric pens and paint online to help create something you may have previously considered unattainable.

Artist’s Loft 24 Colour Acrylic Paint Value Pack Necessities, $14.99

FolkArt® Stars Laser Cut Adhesive Stencil, $11.99

Collab With An Artist

There’s no better time than now to support local artists. Here are a couple from Toronto who can help bring your denim jacket dreams to life:

IG: @_generouss

IG: @re-vibed_

Patch It

Similar to last week’s sneaker revamp tip, embroidered patches can transform the look of your denim. Make this a quick and pain-free D.I.Y. by purchasing iron-on patches or apply them using a glue gun. Whether playful, retro, or political, a few patches can speak volumes about your personal style.

Stanley Bostitch Heavy Duty Hot Melt Glue Gun, $15.99

Bling It

Yes, bedazzling is still a ‘thing’! And unlike extreme looks from the 90s, you don’t have to look like a disco ball post-jeweling. A little sparkle at the shoulder, collar, sleeve cuff, or chest pocket can quickly take your denim jacket to new heights.

Bedazzler – The Original Be Dazzler Rhinestone and Stud Setting Machine, $31.49

Crop It

Cutting denim pants into shorts sounds like a no brainer, but have you ever considered cropping your denim jacket? It’s the easiest transformation! Cut a few inches off the bottom, fray the edges, and you’re good to go.

GARAGE Boyfriend Cropped Denim Jacket, $49.95

Grlfrnd Blue Denim Cara Jacket, $380

Style It

If you love your denim jacket as is, amazing! Play with alternative styling options like tying it around your waist, fully buttoning-up, popping your collar, or rolling your sleeves.

7. Black Pants

Alter It

If your black pants are in excellent condition but you’re no longer excited about them, consider altering their style. Make a wide leg, skinny or a long leg, cropped. You can also add details like cuffs at the bottom hem or stripes along the sides.

H&M Pants With Side Stripes, $39.99

Moncler Black & White Side Stripe Leggings, $625

8. Coloured Blouse

Tuck It

To tuck or not to tuck? A misconception is that tucking a top into a bottom makes your midsection look larger – an area some are looking to mask. The reality is that a little top tuck can actually flatter your body versus letting a shirt hang loose. A top tuck elongates your legs, helps to create balanced proportions, and looks stylish too. Play around with top tucks, from full to French, and note the difference they make in your overall look.

TOPSHOP Scalloped Satin Top, $60

9. Little Black Dress

Belt It

Similar to a black blazer, adding a belt can transform any LBD’s look. This wardrobe staple flatters by cinching the waist, provides a pop of colour, and allows you to incorporate seasonal trends on budget as well.


Enhancing the look of your little black dress can be as easy as pairing it with the right hosiery. Whether you opt for designer or cheap and cheerful, patterned hosiery never goes out of style.

Balenciaga Black BB All Over Flock Tights, $270

Shirt It

If your LBD has straps, try styling it with a white shirt underneath and watch it transform into an office appropriate look.

Elisa C-Rossow Carre Z1 Dress, $345

Brooch It

Often forgotten, brooches are a great way to add some shine to a LBD. Take a break from adding a necklace to your basic black dress and give a brooch some love.

Paloma Graffiti Love Brooch, $440

10. Tote Bag

Scarf It

Add some character to your favourite tote bag by tying a scarf around the handle. Play with scarf lengths and patterns to see what compliments it best.

Marc Jacobs Burgundy ‘The Downton Croc’ Bag, $590

Tassel It

If you’re looking for a more understated bag accessory, try a tassel. From subtle ombres to brighter hues, they can break up the monotony of your basic tote while still honouring its shape and style.

ThePomShoppeBoutique Peach Ombre Tassels, $29.24

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