Upcycling is the process of converting old or discarded materials into something useful and often beautiful.
First I research the style I want to create. You can mix genres for a modern classic look or a more subtle style for everyday.
Some looks that are great to mix are Avant-garde, Couture, Vintage, Pin-up, Rockabilly, Victorian, Steampunk, Gothic, Cyberpunk, Anime, Lolita, Burlesque, Boudoir, and Bohemian Chic.
I go online and find images that match the style I am looking for to create a collage.
I print out my collage and spend a day or so going to second-hand stores to find clothing and materials that are close to the look I want. I may even look for shoes, purse, tie or other accessories depending on the gender.
Once I find the items I can base my new look off of, I search online for trim, buttons, other related items at bid or sale prices. I always make an image folder on my computer of all the items I purchase. It's easier if you can visualize everything together.
Sometimes I will find myself at pawn and antique stores. You may even find what you are looking for at a junk Shop.
Layers are a wonderful way to mix textures and styles. I layer skirts over stretch pants, adding thigh high socks and boots, multi-arm warmers, gloves, sweaters- it's all about the look you want.
If you are looking to make a costume rather than a unique everyday or special occasion look; try searching costumes after Halloween to get the best sales. Many second-hand stores have a costume section as well.
Find ways to turn them into a new genre. Fabric paints and embellishments can give that old costume a new and exciting look. You can also add items and clothing to make that look new and fun.
The right hair, make-up and styling from head to toe will make your costume really pop!