Tips for Upgrading Your Favorite Shirts

When it comes to your favorite shirts, an upgrade doesn’t have to mean new. In fact, with a little creativity and a small amount of extra effort, you can upgrade any of your existing shirts and make them feel brand-new again. Ideally, you want to upgrade your shirt so that it fits you better and will be more comfortable than the previous version. You’ll also want to pick materials that will stand up to frequent wear — after all, if you love the shirt enough to upgrade it, you’ll probably wear it often.

You probably think of upgrading as something expensive or exclusive. But with a little thoughtfulness about what makes each article of clothing special, almost any shirt can get a new lease on life. Read on for some ideas about how to give your favorite shirts a new look and feel so that they become even more your favorites than before.

Put on a New Design

If the main problem with your shirt is the print or pattern, consider getting a new design. It is an easy fix that only costs you a few dollars and can turn any shirt into something new. Most people don’t think of this as an option, but it has a lot of benefits. First, it can drastically change the visual impact of the shirt, making it more modern and interesting. Second, finding a design that you like also helps you find a shirt that speaks to your aesthetic. And last but not least, it can lead you to discover new artists that you might not have found otherwise.

You have several options. One is vinyl. You cut it (or use a cutter) into the shape you want, then apply it to your shirt, typically with heat. The other is creating a design with ink and then applying that to your shirt. It is as simple as getting yourself some sublimation ink for Epson printers or whatever brand you have, then printing and applying the design you love.


If your shirt is in good condition, but the color is bothering you, dyeing is a cost-effective way to modify the shirt without ruining it. Dyed clothing is a quick and easy way to change up your look without investing too much time or money. If you’re comfortable with the process, it can also be an easy way to get creative and add one-of-a-kind details to your favorite pieces. Dyeing is a finicky process, though — you’ll want to follow the directions to the letter to ensure that the color comes out right.

Add New Trim

Shirts are the perfect platform for adding new trims, whether it be a button or a statement neckline of lace. Perhaps you have an old shirt that you love, but that could use an extra bit of pizzazz. Or maybe you’ve been wanting to change up your look a little bit and want a shirt to be your personal statement piece. If you have an old shirt that you don’t wear anymore, you can take the opportunity to add a new piece of trim and make it brand-new again.

This is a great way to give a shirt a personal touch without investing much money or time. You can use almost any kind of fabric or ribbon, so long as it’s a safe material that won’t disintegrate in your washing machine. Choose something that complements the shirt’s color and design.

Shorten Tops and Bottom Hem

For those long, baggy shirts that you just can’t get out of your rotation, you can shorten the hem and make it more modern-looking. This is a good option if you want to keep the shirt but want it to fit you better. This is a great way to actually make an old shirt feel like new again. You can also shorten the sleeves to make them more appropriate for your current lifestyle. This trick is especially useful if you’re doing some heavy lifting or other activities in which your sleeves might get caught. Shortening is easy to do yourself: just cut the bottom hem of the shirt and the sleeves so that they’re the length that you want. You can either do this with a sewing machine or by hand with a sharp pair of scissors.

Add Sleeves

If you have a shirt that fits you, but it’s just too plain, you can add sleeves to make it more interesting. This is a great way to breathe life back into an old shirt that you love, but that could use some extra pizzazz. Sleeves are easy to sew and can be done in just a few hours. You can either purchase a pattern or just wing it: sleeves are actually one of the easiest garments to sew. You’re just sewing the sleeve onto the body of the shirt. If you’re not a confident seamstress, you can ask a store that sells sewing supplies if they offer any free classes.

Get a Look You Love for Less!

Shirts are incredibly versatile pieces of clothing. They’re also incredibly easy to upgrade, whether it be in the fit, the material, or the design. Whether you choose to dye, add trim, or even change up the cut, there are plenty of options for giving something new a spin. Just make sure that you wash it properly so you can get years out of your new shirt!