RePurposed: 25 Best DIY Style Tips Stolen From Instagram

To celebrate our exhibition Re:Purpose, Ordinary Objects Made Extraordinary, presented by Mtn Dew Black Label, we’re paying homage to creatives riffing, transforming, and remixing the everyday.

To see more fearless reinvention of the ordinary, click here.

Fashion in 2016 is actually looking way back to the early ’90s, meaning that the most popular (and smartest) brands from that time period are cranking up the nostalgia: Calvin Klein reinvented their original ’90s CK Jeans campaigns, Tommy Hilfiger is bringing back graphic printed pieces (synonymous with Aaliyah), while Kanye West is leading the deconstructed fashion set with Yeezy pieces that are heavily influenced by ’90s photography star Helmut Lang.

The great part about the ’90s influence is that many of the key pieces can be made or customized at home, since the influence is all about grunge. Rather than paying Yeezy Season prices, anyone can take a basic item and put a bold twist on it, like bleached tees or ripped jeans.

Before you go DIY all over your closet, we’ve compiled our favorite bold looks and style twists for you to scroll through for true ’90s DIY-fashion inspiration.

Re-sewn ripped denim

Denim is being remixed six ways from Sunday but one of the first designers to take his custom work to Instagram was Brick Owens. While most customizers are interested in putting nothing but holes in jeans, Owens is re-stitching certain areas like knees with contrast threading to remix the distressed look. Try hand-stitching over the holes in your own beat up denim using brightly colored thread like red or orangeit’s a cheap and easy way to add a more personal touch to your denim.

Jackson Pollock-inspired


A photo posted by Austin Scotti (@austinscotti) on

Paint-splatter projects are currently back in style, as seen in Maison Margiela taking inspiration from Jackson Pollock. Austin Scotti of Kith is embracing the trend by using a mix of bleach, paint, and other top-secret techniques to customize the ever popular “Pablo” tees that are getting all kinds of love on Instagram.

Start with an old or cheap tee and experiment until you find a combination that you like best, then upgrade to a message or brand tee for your own personal, painted creation.

Custom Zara denim

💣💣💣💣#whynot #fashionking

A photo posted by Russell Westbrook (@russwest44) on

Russell Westbrook may be the patron fashion saint of Green Label. We love the way he mixes designers and takes fashion into his own handsoften literally. When Westbrook wanted a pair of ripped jeans, he made them himself on a pair of affordable, easy-to-cop Zara denim. 

Hand-written Vans sneakers

Kanye may be the most influential man in sneakers with his Yeezy Boosts, but our favorite Ye design moment was when he (or his Donda cohorts) doodled all over his Vans. A pair of white-on-white canvas Old Skool Vans will only set you back about $60. Along with a $5 marker, you’ve got the most affordable Kanye-approved sneakers ever.

Painted sneakers based on your favorite brand

BAPE inspired kicks by @gino_davinci it’s all love G

A photo posted by DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) on

Brand loyalty is a big thing, especially amongst cult brands like Bape. But when you’re a big guy, like a ball player, you can’t always get all the gear you want. Sacramento’s Boogie Cousins took matters into his own hands, asking shoe customizer Gino DaVinci to paint a pair of Bape-inspired AF1s. The result is great-looking (although tan laces and a gum sole would have been even better) and proof that if what you want doesn’t exist, make it yourself (or pay someone to do it for you).


John Geiger is one of the custom kings of the ‘gram, swapping soles on sneakers, and even making his own kicks. One of the customizations we appreciated most was when Geiger wrote Gucci Mane lyrics on a pair of gifted NikeiD sneakers. Now, if only Nike could add an option to add stitching or printed text to more areas of the sneakers.

For now, you can make your own ode to your favorite rapper’s bars by taking a pen or marker to your kicks for a pair that’s all your own.

Layering Tricks

Jordan Clarkson is one of the standout style players of the new league, often spotted mixing up streetwear and sneakers like Vans with more high-end pieces.

At first glance, this looks like an ordinary jacket-turtleneck combo, but Clarkson has found a way to play up his lanky frame with strategic layering, so you can’t tell that a jacket is too short. For example, the moto jacket he’s wearing is a bit short on the sleeves, but pairing it with a larger, thin knit turtleneck makes it look like he’s dressing for intention, not to cover up sizing issues.

He’s also done it in more casual way, rolling up the sleeves of his denim jackets over long-sleeve tees. You can get a similar cool-guy look no matter your height by simply playing with proportion of your tops and rolling up those sleeves to expose layers

Strategic damage


A photo posted by @playboicarti on

The A$AP Mob affiliate wears plenty of streetwear, but recently what caught our eye are the strategically placed rips in his shirts. When distressing an old skate tee or band shirt, concentrate on the seams, like the shoulders and hem, for a more lived-in look rather than just holes on the bottom. DIY is the new MVP when it comes to tees.

The lowkey-loud shirt

Late lunch on the beach with the mandem. Settings #HappyBirthdayFekky #420 🇪🇸

A photo posted by SKEPTA (@skeptagram) on

British grime rapper Skepta has been a style influencer across the pond for years, but thanks to his work with Drake and his breakthrough album, Konnichiwa, Americans are finally taking notice.

Skepta is known for his “cozy boy” aesthetic and track suits, but we appreciate how he rocks the Hawaiian shirt trend. Worn open with gold jewelry, Skepta keeps this linen shirt simple and cool, perfect for a night out with your gang.

The perfect t-shirt tuck

There he is

A photo posted by Mr. Fallback (@lukasabbat) on

The effortlessly cool stylist/model/internet superstar has mastered the perfect t-shirt tuck. Take a cue from young Luka and tuck your tee or crew in on an angle at one side, then pull the tee loosely out until it’s fully untucked at your other hip. Bonus points for keeping the ‘fit tonal for a relaxed, but put-together, look.

Repurposing the bandana

That Palace jumper though #nclgallery

A photo posted by @nclgallery on

Bandanas are back in a big way, but instead of the stereotypical styling we saw in the late ’90s and early ’00s (a la Dipset), men are embracing the bandana in unexpected ways. One of the new ways to style bandana is around your neck like a scarf. Pairing it with streetwear, like this Palace crewneck and denim, keeps the look relaxed and stylish without looking precious, which can happen with scarves.

Trademark necklaces


A photo posted by Gabe Gometz ⁶ (@ctgod) on

There’s more to street style than the expensive, lavish chains of rappers like Kanye and Rich The Kid. One of our favorite style signatures are thin chains worn layered. Take a cue from Gabe and pick two or three necklaces that are similar in weight and style and layer them together. Pair them with tees, crews, and everything in between so no matter what you wear, your signature accessory keeps your personal style consistent. Listen to the kids, bro.

Keep it tonal ’til the kicks


A photo posted by Lil Boat Sailing Team (@lilyachty) on

Tonal dressing has been a trend for the past few seasons, but what we like about Lil Yachty’s look here is the consistent silhouetteall the pieces are slim-cut. All the shades of red are similar enough that they don’t compete, while the white Christian Louboutin sneakers with red soles and gold chains punctuate the ‘fit.

When you’re going for a tonal look, make sure there’s enough visual interest, like the quilting on the vest and white kicks, to keep things varied but not overwhelming.

Overalls with edge


A photo posted by Jaden Smith (@christiaingrey) on

Jaden is one of the most influential tastemakers today, and one of the first to get back on overalls. For music festivals or beach days, you can be extra daring like Jaden and wear them with no shirt. If you’re looking for a less extreme look, layer a long sleeve concert merch or skate tee under itjust be sure to only button one side and let the overalls sag a bit for an unkempt-but-forward look.

Pocket chain gang

#ConleysCloset @michaelbastiannyc @pocketsquareclothing @jasonofbh

A photo posted by Mike Conley (@mac11) on

Remember the chain wallets of your youth? Or perhaps seeing them in old skate videos? Chains in unique places are popping up on stylish men everywhere. Take a cue from Mike Conley, who wore thin pocket chains on his pants for New York Men’s Fashion Week. These work on streetwear or dressy-casual.

Ring it up

Rings are the thing, especially amongst the street-style set. Try mixing multiple chunky, masculine rings of the same color all on one hand like Marche Noir does here. It’s a bold look so you don’t need to pile on any other accessories for the rest of your ‘fit.

Painted denim

Painted denim may seem overdone, but artist Jay West’s recent collaboration with Levis is still unique enough for us to co-sign. Instead of random splatters, West paints actual graphics. The result is wearable pop art that’s tonal and still very wearable for day-to-day.

Painted leather is better

Power One of One Hand-painted denim Small

A photo posted by @shawnouten on

As you can tell, paint is a recurring theme on this list. Basic items like tees and denim may be easiest, but for the next level, try leather. Model and artist Shawn Outen uses his signature characters on all kind of textiles, but in particular leather. Before you make it permanent, map out what you want to paint. Take a cue from Outen and try mixing mediums along with scenes and fonts.

Chop off the hem

Second Layer x Harvey Nichols collection live now.

A photo posted by @secondlayer_us on

One of the new Green Label-approved brands is Second Layer. A design element that they’ve worked into collections is the rough, cut-off hem on their jeans. It’s a simple DIY that you can do on your own—just cut off finished hem on some longer denim then pull the strands out for an instant update.

The slanted hoody

1/7 starring @imaanhammam

A photo posted by Shamari Maurice (@shammaurice) on

Like many other young Instagram influencers on this list, Shamari’s layering game is next-level. By rolling up the hoody on a slant, he changes up the whole silhouette of an otherwise basic outfit, and shows off his tee, too. It’s an easyand free way to switch up an outfit.

The cut-up hoody

Today’s PSA @justintimberlake

A video posted by Pharrell Williams (@pharrell) on

It’s impossible to have a list about style-remixing without Pharrell. Skateboard P has been putting his own spin on fashion staples for years, but we love the recent chop job on one of his own BBC hoodies. The cut-out, distressed area on the print draws attention to the brand name and what he’s wearing underneath.

Throwback Tracksuit


A photo posted by PRETTY FLACKO (@asaprocky) on

In case you missed the memo, tracksuits are back in full force. Take a cue from fashion killa A$AP Rocky and pair the top and bottom together with a slightly baggy fit—too tight will look like you’re trying too hard. Keep it jiggy with some classic kicks like superstars or Nike AF1s and a key accessory or two, like a ring or a chain.

Matching pin clusters

This kit keeps popping up…it’s all in the details 📷 @britishgqfashioncrew …all pins from @latreartandstyle

A photo posted by Paolo Roldan (@juanpaoloroldan) on

Pairing all kinds of pins in the same metal (silver) with turquoise stones similar to this blue linen shirt is inspired. It’s a way to take part in the adornment trend without looking like you’re wearing a costume. Just keep the shirt simple for contrast.

Vests and tees

Usually reserved for long sleeves, vests were everywhere at NYMFW, including over short sleeve tees and tanks. One of our faves was this casual outfit; the red vest gave instant impact to the simple ‘fit, thanks to the color.

Camo on camo

#LCM DAY01 @nytimesfashion by @styledumonde

A photo posted by Marc Goehring (@marcgoehring) on

Mixing and matching prints has been a street style mainstay for awhile but this mix of oversized camo (from any Army or Navy supply store), including a camo bag, is proof that you can cover yourself in camouflage but still stand out. If the mesh tee is too much for you, try a plain white tee or tank.

The Green List: The 100 Best Underground Brands in America

Latest News