DIY Fashion Hacks: How to Make Top Designer Looks for Less

Have you ever looked at a piece of designer fashion and thought, “There is nothing so special about that. I could probably make it myself.” Or have you thought you could simply find something quite similar for a lot less money? I used to be very good at locating designer lookalike items and at making them, too. Recently I was inspired by a few pieces I saw while browsing for designer fashion online. I decided I needed to get back to my old self again! Why not figure out some DIY fashion hacks and simple ways to make designer looks for less? And so I set out to do just that with these 3 designer pieces. This shouldn’t be too hard, right? Let’s see how I fare.

DIY Fashion Hacks: Top Designer Looks for Less

The Oversized Black Shirt

THE ROW Luka Oversized Collared Shirt, $1,490


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Men’s Performance Dress Long Sleeve Button-Down Shirt – Goodfellow & Co™, $29.99

The first case that inspired me was this super oversized shirt in black from The Row. Isn’t this just a men’s shirt? Couldn’t I duplicate this look?

All I needed to do was find a big oversized menswear shirt in black at Target or Kohls or somewhere where I could find an inexpensive look-alike. This was not that simple because I could not find one right away. I became paranoid and thought everyone else had my same idea and bought up all the big black shirts. But I looked a little further and had success.

I knew it needed to be the right size to look like the one on the model, it had to be all black, include black buttons and black topstitching. And the fabric needed to be one that would remain all black and not fade, so a polyester blend from a fast fashion store could be the answer.

Well I think it worked! I found this black men’s shirt at Target, and got the XXL, because I noticed the XXXL simply got wider and not longer. I suggest purchasing a men’s XXL if you are a women’s size 4-10.

The Rockstud Boot DIY Fashion Hack

Valentino Garavani Rockstud Calfskin Buckle-Strap Ankle Boots, $1,290


A pair of black booties you already own or something like these Nine West Vivy 9×9 Heeled Booties, $139

Simplicity Pleather Studded Trim Black & Silver, $11.99 per yard (you may need 1.5 to 2 yards)

VELCRO 2ct 4”X2″ Industrial Strength Strips Black, $3.79

I felt like I was on a roll! So what about those amazing Valentino Rock Stud boots I see every year? Couldn’t I just find rock stud trim and wrap it around the ankles on a pair of black boots I already own? I went on Amazon, and got excited when I saw a wrap punk leather bracelet. Then I could just snap it on. But the measurement on the length of the bracelet would be too short to wrap around the boot.

Next I searched around for rock stud trims and had trouble finding those too. They were on to me, I thought! They (whoever “they” are) don’t want me to do this and and maybe Valentino has copyrights to rock studs? Yes, I was getting a bit nutty. 

Next I went to Joann Fabrics & Crafts and found a trim that was kind of similar, only the rock studs were too close together. So I had to remove every other rock stud to get the look. This trim is not leather either, but from a distance no one would know the difference. I bought 2 yards and only needed 1-1/2 yards, or 27 inches for each bootie.

And to fasten it? I simply used self-adhesive Velcro strips to connect the straps together under the sole of each boot. This worked easily and the bonus is that it makes the straps removable, which you may need in case your boots have zippers. Watch my video to see how to make your own rockstud strap boots.

The Tote Bag DIY Fashion Hack

the tote bag DIY fashion hack

Marc Jacobs The Medium Tote Bag, $195


BAGSMART Women Tote Bag Large Shoulder Bag Top Handle Handbag, $32.99

Magfok Iron on Transfer 2 Inch White Flock Letters, 6 Sheets (White), $7.89

Another designer item that seems so simple is THE TOTE BAG by Marc Jacobs. Who would pay $200 for a tote that you could just make yourself? Or could you? So I set out to find an inexpensive black canvas tote bag on Amazon. This was tricky, too, because so many black totes looked too flimsy, were not as functional, or had a completely different shape than Marc Jacobs iconic tote. I was pleased to find this large black canvas tote by BAGSMART that fit the bill.

Next, how would I get the words “THE TOTE” on the bag? My first thought was to stencil it with fabric paint. But that seemed too difficult, and I knew I wasn’t going to embroider the whole thing with satin stitching! Which led me to thinking about embroidered letters, and better yet, iron-on letters.

I guessed that 2” letters would be about right and I knew I also needed to find a font that was sans-serif. Amazon came through with white iron-on letters. Now all I had to do was line them up and iron them on! Which if course is not always so simple. I had already decided to not try to add MARC JACOBS below the type. I considered using my own name in its place to be funny, but for the sake of (ahem) not plagiarizing and also not being sure of how these letters will even work, I thought I would leave that part blank.

By the way Marc, we know it’s a tote bag. But yes, we also get your humor.

See my video to make your own THE TOTE BAG.

DIY Fashion Hacks: In Conclusion

So as you can see, I was getting more and more off-base when it came to duplicating these designer items. Some worked well and easily (like the black big shirt). I also have to consider that I spent a lot of time and effort in order to save money and get the designer look for less. So is it worth doing it yourself? It is if you have the time, but perhaps in the long run, it may be best to let the designers do it for you!

Which is your favorite designer fashion hack? Are you going to try to make one of these designer looks for less?

Carol Calacci

You may like to read more DIY fashion posts like DIY: Turn Your Old Dusty Designer Handbag Into Something You’re Proud To Carry and DIY Wallet On A Chain: Easy How To Make It Video.

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