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5 ways to glam up your pair of denim jeans

Denim jeans are a must-have in one’s wardrobe. You can pair them with a simple white t-shirt on a casual day out or even wear them with a blouse and jacket for a semi formal event. Through the years, these indigo dyed cotton trousers have earned its place as the most versatile item to style with. Besides, denim jeans are also available in a wide variety of washes, styles and cuts – you will eventually find the right one for you.

Due to its sturdy construction and durability, a pair of jeans can last for years. The question is, what are you going to do with it if you get tired of the look of it? If your jeans still fits well, we recommend you to customise it. You not only get to add a bit of your personality to the pair, it is more sustainable to breathe new life to it than to dispose it.

Here are five different ways to start customising your favourite pair of denims.

1) The ombré dye technique
Ombré denim jeans
Ombré denim jeans (Photo credit: Armani Jeans)

These pretty gradient tones can be achieved easily if you follow these steps carefully. Firstly, you should strip the blue hues off your pair of jeans with bleach before you begin dyeing.

  1.  From the hem of the jeans, at the point you would like the bleach solution to rise to, mark approximately 4 inches below the point and tie it tightly with a rubber band.
  2.  Drench the pair in water and wring out excess water so that the bleach can seep in better. Once you’re done, soak the pair into a pail of bleach solution to where the rubber band marking is and allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. The longer you soak your jeans, the lighter the colour gets. However, you wouldn’t want the solution to weaken the fabric too much, so pull the pair out once the soaked portion turns into a yellowish white tone.
  3.  Get your rubber gloves on while you rinse the bleached area throughly with running water. When the area is washed off its bleach solution, you can wring out the bleached area off access water.
  4.  Leaving the bleached area still wet, proceed with your gradient dyeing. We recommend tones such as coral red, flamingo pink and purple for a contrasting effect. Pour your choice of colour in a pail, submerge the bleached hem and allow the dye to rise up the damp area. Feel free to soak the hem with dye to your preferred height coverage on the dampen area. Soak for a longer period of time for the colour to be more vivid, we suggest you leave it for 30 to 45 minutes for the colour to seep fully.
  5.  After the wait you can then wash and rinse the pair off the excess dye and dry.  Due to the fresh dye work, we recommend you hand wash your pair of ombré jeans after your first wear before you throw it into the washing machine along with your other clothes. Pair your freshly dyed ombré jeans with a crisp white blouse for an effortless and stylish look!
2) Bleached out and wash method
Bleached denim jeans
Bleached denim jeans (Photo credit: Helmut Lang)

Creating bleached patterns and designs are the most fun because you never know what to expect. This DIY approach will result in a bold and graphical pair of jeans. If you are in for spontaneity, this technique is for you.

  1.  First and foremost, there are two popular types of resist technique in creating your patterns. The pattern featured in the jeans image above is achieved by a pleat and clamp method — it creates irregular tonal streaks depending on how you fold and clamp parts of your jeans with a paper clamp before submerging it in bleach solution. Another technique is called the shibori, a method used by the Japanese since the 8th century to create patterns on textiles — a modern way to attempt the shibori is to gather surfaces of your denim jeans and tie portions of it tightly with rubber bands. You can pick from one of the two methods or combine the two if you are feeling adventurous.
  2.  After you have made your choice, proceed with the prep work on your denim jeans. Pick out random parts from front as well as back sides of the jeans, pleat or gather freely and proceed to secure them tightly with clamps or rubber bands. Since you’re the designer, clamp or tie portions around your jeans as you please.
  3.  Make sure your clamps and ties are extremely tight because the key is to create resists to prevent the bleach from seeping into the secured portions. Once you are confident, proceed to submerge the entire pair into a pair of bleach solution. Allow it to soak for 15 to 20 mins before taking it out for a rinse.
  4.  Wash the pair throughly with water and begin to remove your clamps and ties to reveal your artistic masterpiece. To harmonise the look of your bleached jeans, style your look with a light coloured top.
3) Stitching and ironing patches
Patched denim jeans
Patched denim jeans (Photo credit:

Curate the personality of your jeans by picking out embroidered patches that suits your own character. Since the choices of iron on patches are aplenty, we reckon you’ll able to put together a handful of unique picks based on what represents you.

  1.  The point of the patched jeans method is to go crazy with multiple patches instead of a handful of them. Amass a pile of patches that feature your favourite numbers, your initials, designs of cartoon characters, signs or even exclusive collectible patches that you got from an event.
  2.  Some patches comes with an iron on glue layer which you can iron onto your denim jeans directly. You can machine or hand stitch other patches that comes without the adhesive layer.
  3.  We recommend you to lay your denim jeans flat on the ground and pre-plan the design placement of your patches before you iron or stitch them down.
  4.  Once you are sure of your design, you can start to secure them down permanently by stitching or ironing them down. This merry looking pair inspires a more upbeat ensemble, so layer on your metallic jackets or printed pieces and have fun in them!
4) Rip and stud your jeans
Studded jeans
Studded jeans (Photo credit:

If the colour of your old jeans is black and you’re looking for a revamp, try out the rip and stud method. Adding a couple rows of studs might just do the trick in bringing back the rock and roll edge of a black denim jeans.

  1.  Firstly, get a pen knife, chalk marker, a couple sheets of sandpaper, a hole pin puncher, a screwdriver and a bag of studs of your choice.
  2.  Use the chalk marker to indicate spots that you would like to punch in your studs. We suggest you mark a row to create a feature that accentuates the length of your legs.
  3.  Once you have your markings, continue to use your pin puncher to create holes on your jeans. Slip the studs into the punched openings and secure them by screwing in the closure of the studs using a screwdriver.
  4.  Make sure that the studs are firmly secured before you strut the streets in your newly designed pair of jeans.
  5. Additionally, you can also use a pen knife to scratch the surfaces of the denim jeans to give it a distress and ripped effect. Then proceed to use a piece of sandpaper to roughen up and clean up the scratched portion.
5) Design and embellish
Embellished jeans
Embellished jeans (Photo credit: Romance Was Born)

The design and embellish method is for the meticulous soul. If you’re looking for a full on design overhaul with the patience and time to spare, we challenge you with this customisation method. Put your creative juices to use, sketch out an ideal image of what you would like to feature on your jeans and embark on this customisation journey.

  1. Once you have your design plan, start picking up your coloured sequins, pearls and beads to match the pattern of your designs. Use a washable ink marker or chalk to sketch out your design onto your pair of jeans.
  2. Use point stitching to sew on larger beads or pearls onto random spots and use running stitches to form rows of sequinned panels and beaded features. We suggest that you use a variety of multicoloured embellishments in a variety of textures to create depth.
  3. Your hours of embellishing and sewing will be worthwhile when you finally complete your very own one-of-a-kind embellished jeans.
5 ways to glam up your pair of denim jeans

Josiah Chua

Fashion Director

Josiah is the Fashion Director in charge of styling shoots and writing the fashion pages. On his days off, he locks himself at home designing and sewing up a collection in preparation for his label's runway debut.

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