ReFashionista Transforms Dowdy Thrift Store Duds Into Fashionable Looks

PHOTO: On, Jillian Owens shows how to breathe new life into dated thrift store
On, Jillian Owens shows how to breathe new life into dated thrift store duds.

Fashion blogger Jillian Owens gives old clothes new life.

Owens, 32, of Columbia, S.C., doesn’t recycle the clothes: she refashions them, by taking dated thrift shop items and sewing, cinching, clipping and dying them to transform dowdy looks into on-trend custom creations.

She details her work on her blog,

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Asked why she's committed to refashioning ugly clothes, Owens said: “Because I kind of have a thing for just how unwanted they are. ... Nobody is going to wear these again. There is no good future for them unless I intervene.”

Owens said nearly all of her closet is made up of refashioned clothing.

She said refashioning is a hobby that anyone can pick up -– even if you don’t know how to sew -- and she offered a few tips, in her own words, for those who want to get started:

The ReFashionista’s Tips

Congratulations, you soon-to-be-refashioner, you! You've discovered a way to have a wonderful custom-fitted wardrobe that's ethical, environmentally responsible, inexpensive and completely your own. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy crafting your unique style.

1. Go with something cheap. The cheaper the garment, the less you'll worry about messing it up. You can even shop your own closet for those pieces you bought but don't know why (I'm looking at you, empire waisted bubble dress!).

2. Go with something ugly. Grab that 80's shoulder padded granny dress and go to town. Turn that awful fuchsia bridesmaid dress into a fun cocktail number. At the very least, you'll know you're making something better.

3. Go bigger/longer than your size. It's way easier to work with something that's at least a little bigger than your size. This is because it's much easier to take fabric away than it is to add it on. Plus, you can use that extra material to make fun embellishments, like ruffles or sashes.

4. Have FUN! Refashioning shouldn't be a stressful ordeal. Just relax and play.