Style

Spring into style with easy DIY ideas

By definition, trends come and go, so spending a lot of money on these items isn’t always a sound investment. Luckily, you can try out some of spring’s most stylish looks for just a few dollars and a little inspiration. And not to worry, you don’t need to be a crafty queen to create your own haute couture. Bobbie Thomas, TODAY Style editor and author of The Buzz column for In Touch Weekly, has some simple ideas for turning your closet staples into fashionable garments:

Add texture From ruffles on the red carpet to daring designers like Rodarte, who are now bringing their eclectic designs to Target, depth and dimension offer everyday wardrobe essentials something extra. And honestly, something that might have been looked at as wacky a few years ago feels whimsical and pretty today — so consider transforming a tee (JCP.com) into 3-D. All you’ll need are some scraps from a junk drawer or a few strips of ribbon, tulle or fabric from your local craft store (Michaels.com). Just twist, tuck, pleat and sew by hand with a simple baste stitch, or a sewing machine if you have one. You can even safety-pin pieces for a temporary transformation. No need to be perfect — the less contrived and expected, the better.

Cut it out
Give your favorite frock a whole new feel by adding a striking peekaboo pattern to the neckline. The classic little black dress offers up the perfect canvas for cutouts and slashes. The result is edgy yet sexy, without feeling overexposed. A sophisticated, simple silhouette will best handle this modern update, as something too trendy could end up competing with the design. I was excited to find a great long-sleeved dress at Zara for just $20, and then for just a few extra dollars, my local dry cleaner’s tailor opened slits on the shoulders and on each side of the neck to show off a little skin. 

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    Celebrities from Emily Blunt and John Krasinski to Sandra Bullock and Penelope Cruz dazzled at the 2010 Golden Globes despite the pouring rain.

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    Robert Downey Jr., who was nominated for best performance by an actor in a motion picture for his role in "Sherlock Holmes," arrives at the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, Jan. 17, in Beverly Hills.

    TODAY Show style editor Bobbie Thomas said of the look: "It's an unusual choice to skip a tie. I would have loved to see a bow tie to finish his look."

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    The actress, who wore Carolina Herrera, won best performance by an actress in a TV series for her role in "United States of Tara."

    Bobbie Thomas said of the outfit: "She looks better than ever, very sexy in her slinky, sparkly dress."

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    Model Heidi Klum wore a Roberto Cavalli on the red carpet, with husband Seal on her arm. "They look so cute together," Bobbie Thomas said, "but I wish Heidi had put up her hair so we could see the neckline on her dress."

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    "My Name is Earl's" Jaime Pressly shimmered on the red carpet in a Kevan Hall gown. "I like that Jaime chose to show off her amazing body," Bobbie Thomas said, "but I wasn't too crazy about the sequins."

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    The actor won best performance by an actor in a supporting role in a series, miniseries or motion picture made for TV for his role in Showtime's "Dexter."

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    The "Office" actress held her own umbrella and kept her strapless Halston dry. Too bad "the dress failed to show off her figure," said Bobbie Thomas.

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    The "Glee" actress was nominated for best performance by an actress in a supporting role in a series, miniseries or motion picture made for TV. "Although the shape was flattering on her, I didn't care for the olive green dress's shiny fabric," said Bobbie Thomas.

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    The "Grey Gardens" actress, who wore Atelier Versace, won for best performance in a miniseries or motion picture made for TV. Bobbie Thomas liked the dress's mix of old Hollywood and the edgy, avant garde details.

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    The "Julie & Julia" star shows off her baby bump on the red carpet in a Carolina Herrera gown. "She looks adorably elegant in this dark green dress," said Bobbie Thomas. "It's a great color for her."

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    The "Nine" actress, who wore a Marchesa gown, was a presenter at the 2010 Golden Globes. Hudson's look was Bobbie Thomas' favorite of the evening.

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    The actress, who stars in HBO's "Big Love," won for best performance in a supporting role in a series, miniseries or motion picture made for TV. Bobbie Thomas thought some of the angles of this Valentino dress were beautiful, while others were overwhelming.

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    The actress, who wore a custom one-shoulder emerald Herve L. Leroux, received a nod for best performance in a miniseries or motion picture made for TV for her role in Lifetime's "Prayers for Bobby," but lost to Drew Barrymore.

    Said Bobbie Thomas of the dress: "It's sophisticated, but a little safe."

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    The singer and actress, who had a role in "Precious," glowed on the red carpet in her Herve Leger Max Azria. The dress "is a typical choice fo her -- body hugging, curve enhancing," said Bobbie Thomas.

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    The actress, in Giorgio Armani, was nominated for best supporting actress for her role in "Nine," but the award went to Mo'Nique.

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    The actress glowed in a white silk cocktail dress by Jasmine Di Milo.

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    Taylor Lautner of "Twilight Saga" fame was a presenter at the 2010 Golden Globe Awards.

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    The "30 Rock" star was nominated for best actress in a television series, but lost to Toni Collette. She looked playful in a Zac Posen dress paired with Christian Louboutin heels and Fred Leighton jewels.

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    Best drama actor nominee George Clooney, in Giorgio Armani, posed with girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis, who wore Ferragamo, on the red carpet.

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    Josh Duhamel, in Dolce and Gabbana, played the supporting husband by holding an umbrella for Fergie on the red carpet. Fergie stars in the film "Nine." The singer and actress wore an Eli Saab gown. "It's an amazing color choice with her new dark hair," said Bobbie Thomas.

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    Sandra Bullock, in Bottega Veneta, won best performance by an actress in a motion picture drama for her role in "The Blind Side." The rich purple of the dress complemented her complexion, said Bobbie Thomas.

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    Christina Hendricks of "Mad Men" strikes a pose in a gown by Christian Seriano. "There is no escaping that sexy body," Bobbie Thomas said of the actress. "She embraces her curves and I love her for that. However, the ruffles are a bit much on her."

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    Presenter Chace Crawford wore a tuxedo by Dolce and Gabbana. "He looks dapper and dashing, and is such a cutie pie!" said Bobbie Thomas.

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    Emily Blunt wore Dolce and Gabbana, and accessorized with fiance John Krasinski, who wore Prada. "She looks gorgeous in this soft pink chiffon strapless gown," said Bobbie Thomas.

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    The actress, who stars as Peggy Olson in "Mad Men," wore Amasale. "I loved the ice blue color of this dress, but hated the silhouette on her frame," said Bobbie Thomas. "It was overwhelming."

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    Sofia Vergara of "Modern Family" wore Carolina Herrera.

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    The "Crazy Heart" actress sparkled in a RM by Roland Mouret gown. "I'm a big fan of her personal style," said Bobbie Thomas.

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    The "Glee" star wore a classic grand Oscar de la Renta dress. "It's beautifully detailed with a sweetheart neckline that makes it more youthful," said Bobbie Thomas.

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On average it should cost approximately $15 to $20 to make these minor alterations on a basic garment. While it’s best to have someone experienced selectively cut out the design, some scissors and strategic measuring can work with a cotton T-shirt dress or fabrics that don’t fray. Just use some masking tape to lay out the sections you plan to remove before cutting.

Do a drape From bias-cuts to one-shoulders, a wave of asymmetrical styles is sweeping in. And with imbalance being “in,” it’s much easier than you think to transform something yourself into a one-of-a-kind statement.

Reinvent a basic blouse by removing one sleeve with a seam ripper. Leaving the raw edge, just snip away any excess threads and steam or press if needed. You can either stop there and wear, or continue to attach a sheer overlay for a dramatic convertible accent. I picked up a yard of chiffon at Mood, the favorite supply store of “Project Runway,” for $8 (moodfabric.com), and hand-stitched one end of the piece to the front neckline (if you can thread a needle, I promise you can do this simple sewing job). Once it’s secure, wrap the fabric around your neck, drape it over a shoulder or leave it hanging and belt — anything goes!

Try bold shoulders
Want to literally elevate your look? Then pump up the volume of a soft jacket or blazer with shoulder pads. Hidden epaulettes, like those from The Natural ($10, HerRoom.com), are a fashion secret of costume designers and celebrity stylists. Considering that most tailored pieces can be pricey, this instant update is inexpensive and can be temporary. It's perfect for something you already own or can find on sale at a discount department store like T.J. Maxx. But the best part about this shape-shifter is it can literally do just that! Sharp shoulders can elongate your frame, balance out a curvier bottom half, and even disguise less-than-perfect posture.  

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