Feeling the pinch from too much online sales bingeing and holiday gift giving? Time to tough it out and make do with what we’ve got. So why not get creative and give the stuff you own a DIY twist? As a beauty and style editor I love the challenge of salvaging leftover products and reinventing clothes without buying new. Here are nine ways to update your looks and boost your mood — for free.
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1. Step-up your ring bling
Try wearing your rings on unexpected fingers like the forefinger or thumb, wear a handful of rings at a time, stack stones and bands of every metal and color — real and fake, classic and eye-popping.
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2. Wear necklaces in a different way, too
Mix pearls with chains and leather thongs, delicate charms with eye-catching pendants, bold bibs with other chunky necklaces or lariats. Pin a big dramatic brooch on a chain as a pendant, too.
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3. Use your vintage scarves to spice up clothes
Wrap a large scarf as a turban. Drape, twist and loop long lightweight scarves to enhance necklines of basic tees and sweaters or add a small neckerchief for an extra splash of color.
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4. Combine colors and clothes in new waysThink outside your usual habits. Instead of reaching for the same predictable combos, wear sunny yellow with scarlet shoes, a tailored blazer with track pants, a red silk blouse with brown suede boot-cuts, a lime green dress with a saffron quilted jacket and white flats. Stop thinking of seasons or categories. Mix sporty and tailored, feminine and gutsy, summer dresses with winter sweaters.
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5. Try those what-was-I-thinking shoes … again
It’s now cool to wear sandals and peep-toes with socks or tights, and platform shoes are having a comeback. Aren’t you glad you didn’t toss them?
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PHOTO BY: John Lamparski/Getty Images; Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Belvedere Vodka
6. Swap evening pieces for daytime wear
Why save sparkly metallics and sequins for after dark when you can shine 24/7? Add any silver, gold or shimmery skirt to a black blouse, T-shirt or sweater and you’ve reinvented it. No cost! Reverse the glitz-on-top, black-on-bottom idea for another solution.
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7. Resurrect your minis
If your legs are still great (at least in your opinion) this might be a good time to revamp your short dresses and skirts. Yes, we are not Halle Berry, Christie Brinkley, Jennifer Lopez or Brigitte Macron, who wear super-short hemlines at the drop of a hat, but who cares? We have their body confidence, charisma and a closet filled with minis we can’t bear to toss. Just keep your top and arms covered for body balance. If bare-legging it is too much (or too chilly), add black knee-high boots or ankle booties and tights. Problem solved. Think of minidresses with straight shift silhouettes as tunics, too, and wear them over leggings.
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8. Pull out all your '80s animal prints and mix them
A jolt of python, cheetah, zebra, leopard or mock croc will rejuvenate your wardrobe, for sure. I know you still have bags, belts and probably a leopard sweatshirt or faux fur lurking in your closet. They’ll look so on-trend even you will be surprised at the compliments.
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9. Reinvent beauty products
Layer eye shadows and blend lipsticks to create new shades and make leftovers and palettes more wearable than ever. Blend a neutral eye shade like gray, light brown or taupe over a colorful shadow to tone it down; blend a matte over a metallic/glittery shadow to mute the sparkly texture to a shimmer. Apply warm beige, peach or gold colors over or under those that are too cool (like purple, mermaid blue) or too dark and smoky to decrease their intensity. Mix a nude or brown lipstick with vibrant reds, pinks or berries to create softer, tawnier, more natural hues.
Last word: Spritz two fragrances on one over the other to make a unique DIY scent — stay within the same fragrance group and mix two florals, for example, or mist floral and spicy, woodsy and fruity if you really want to get adventurous.
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More on Beauty & Style
For more beauty and style tips for women age 50-plus, check out The Woman's Wakeup: How to Shake Up Your Looks, Life, and Love After 50 by Lois Joy Johnson.