No matter how amazing vintage garments can appear, it’s rare to find a piece that’s 100 percent perfect for you. Often times, you’ll need to make slight adjustments to a vintage garment to achieve the right fit and look for your body.

Vintage style usually refers to clothing that imitates the style of a previous era. Vintage means the time that something of quality was produced.

The next time you visit thrift stores, keep an open mind about imperfect pieces. With a little creativity and these easy tips, you can transform a throw away garment into a beautiful statement piece according to Jennifer Nicole Sullivan, Vintage Clothing Expert.

  1. Change the buttons

If a garment is missing a button, don’t sweat it. Just replace every one with new ones that are easy to find in fabric stores. If buttons are old or cracked, replacing them with shiny new buttons can immediately modernize the piece.

  1. Hem it

Vintage dresses and skirts can be way too long. So don’t shy away from midi-lengths that hit your legs at the calves, because you can always shorten them. Its super easy and inexpensive to have your local tailor hem it up to your desired length. Same goes for pants and jeans.

  1. Add leggings

On the flip side, some vintage dresses, especially mini-dresses, can be way, way too short. Wear the dress as a tunic instead with a pair of contemporary leggings that will cover all your bits and show off your amazing ’60s dress.

  1. Remove self-belts

Vintage dresses sometimes have self-belts (belts made from the same fabric as the dress) that are often attached to the garment by one or two small pieces of thread on the sides. If the belt is cracked, doesn’t flatter your figure or doesn’t hit your waist in the right spot, carefully detach it from the dress. Adding a contemporary belt can transform the dress and flatter your figure in a way that some vintage self-belts simply can’t.

  1. Hide imperfections

Over time, vintage clothing can get unfortunate moth holes or stains that are difficult to repair. Instead of tossing the garment, get creative and hide those imperfections with jeweled brooches, layered necklaces or strategically placed belts or scarves. If you can hand sew, consider covering the imperfection with beads, epaulettes, leather elbow patches, an appliqué of sequins or a patch of fabric.

  1. Accessorize your shoes

Some vintage footwear can become faded or look like little-old-lady shoes. Add some modern touch to your vintage shoes with jeweled shoe clips.

  1. Remove shoulder pads

Many vintage dresses and jackets, especially from the 1980s “Dynasty” era, have sewn-in shoulder pads. Many shoulder pads are easy to remove with a simple snip of a thread, but some pads live underneath a garment’s lining. Taking out these puffy pads will instantly update the garment. 

  1. Add a faux collar

If you don’t like the collar of a vintage dress or if it’s a bit worn, try wearing a removable faux collar on top of your garment. Many retail shops sell new faux collars of all shapes, sizes and styles or you can have your tailor make them for you.

  1. DIY (do it yourself) it

Have you ever found a great vintage T-shirt or leather jacket, but it had a few holes or tears? Embrace the imperfections by taking a DIY approach. Try adding a few more holes so that the garment looks like it was meant to be worn and edgy.


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