Thrifty Thursday: How to Wear Your Grandma’s Clothes

When it comes to thrifty fashion, there isn’t much better than finding a great vintage sweater or skirt in the back of your grandma’s closet or at the thrift store. But there also isn’t much worse than putting it on and finding that the style is so outdated that it’s not even the cool kind of vintage cut! 

There is hope in these situations though; here are 4 styling tricks that anyone can do to make these clothes look like they belong in the 21st century!

Remove the shoulder pads! This one may be obvious, but shoulder pads went out of style in the 80’s and they haven’t come back since. Just pulling out a few stitches and removing those pesky pads can completely makeover a badly fitting sweater or dress.
I was swimming in this jacket before I removed the shoulder pads! Now it’s a totally cute blazer!

shoulder pads




Belt it! Belts are one of my best friends. When a dress or top is unshapely and makes me look like I’m wearing a potato sack, I slap a belt on it’s totally cute! You can find waist belts at almost any clothing store. Thin belts and thicker belts create different looks so experiment!
I really liked the bottom flowers on the dress so I didn’t want to hem it. By belting it I made it a little shorter and shapely.




Wear some heels. This seems like a weird trick, but many vintage dresses and skirts are cut at an awkward length that can make tall people look short and short people look even shorter. Doing something simple like putting on a pair of heels can elongate your legs and make the weird hem length look effortlessly cool (because it will be!)
While I was wearing my flat shoes, the outfit was cute, but dated and a little frumpy. By simply changing into heels, it is a chic, vintage classic outfit.




Hem the garment! Hemming is a simple thing that pretty much anyone can do. All you do is measure how long you want the garment to be with a ruler or yardstick, and cut an inch and a half below that. . Check out this tutorial, at the end of this post, on “How to Sew a Hem” for more detailed instructions. You can hem anything from dresses and skirts, to pants and shorts!
This dress was too long and shapeless before I hemmed it. By taking off several inches and adding in a waist, it’s turned into a completely new dress with just a few easy steps!

dress before and after


The video below is by Professor Pincushion. We have chosen to highlight her video, because she does an excellent job of teaching the important skill of “How to Sew a Hem.”





Concept: How to Wear Your Grandma’s Clothes provides information on how to take an outdated fashion, from your grandmother’s closet or a thrift store, and update it to look both vintage with a modern flair. Includes a video tutorial on how to hem.

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