Cute patches on jackets, jeans, and t-shirts are in right now. But if you don’t know how to rock the trend, we’ve got you covered.
If there’s one style rule every fashion magazine agrees on, it’s this: trends always come back around.
There’s something so inevitable it’s almost comforting about these fashion cycles. The trends you love never go away forever, and the trends you hate will cycle out eventually. Plus, this cycle gives you the perfect chance to try out trends you saw when you were a kid but were too young to fully enjoy.
Today, cute patches offer one such way to pay homage to fashion and history. You might remember them from the ’90s and early 2000s, but they’ve actually been cycling through fashion for much longer. Let’s take a look at how to rock them in a modern way!
The History of Patches
Once upon a time, patches for clothes simply meant you had repaired a hole with a scrap of spare fabric. It was a mark of frugality or poverty, not fashion.
All that started to shift in the ’60s. Counterculture shifted many unexpected clothing items into fashion choices, from military surplus wear to worn and patched denim. And eventually, the patches themselves became a way to make a statement.
Patches became a way to state a philosophy or show love for a certain band on your clothes. And unlike a graphic t-shirt, you could wear multiple patches at once, creating a statement of personality without saying a word.
This trend stayed strong into the ’70s, as punk style emerged with even more patches. For most of the ’80s, patches fell by the wayside. But in the ’90s, the styles of the ’70s circled back around, and patches came back into vogue.
Today, the same cycle has come around again. ’90s style is back in full force, with its references to the ’70s now distilled through a modern lens. Whether you want to make a statement or just be stylish, there are lots of ways you can wear cute patches.
How to Wear Cute Patches Today
How can you wear patches without looking outdated? It’s easier than you might think — try one of these simple ideas on for size.
Add Patches to a Jacket
One of the easiest ways to try out this trend is with a jacket.
In the ’60s, patches were a way to update old military jackets for the counterculture. In the ’70s, patches donned leather and denim jackets. Today, any one of those jacket styles still works well with patches.
Denim jackets are inexpensive and easy to apply iron on patches to, as well as being easy to wear. They pair well with lots of things and don’t look too bold. To make more of a statement, try an army-green jacket, a bomber, or a leather one with patches instead.
Wear Patches on Jeans
Jeans are also one of the most popular places for patches. Patched jeans are sure to evoke the hippie ideals of the ’60s. To look even more authentic, try adding your patches to a worn, vintage pair.
Try Patches on Shorts
If you just want to dip your toe in the trend, denim shorts are the perfect way to do it.
Shorts don’t take up much of your body, so they keep the bold trend to a minimum. Plus, patches lend themselves perfectly to laidback places like the beach, so you won’t have trouble finding a place to wear your shorts with patches.
Put Patches on Your Backpack
Another good way to try this trend in a small way is to add patches to a canvas backpack or messenger bag.
Starting with your accessories is a great way to wear a trend in a subtle way. Once you get used to it, you might decide to go bold with patched jackets or jeans.
Add One Patch to a T-Shirt
A single patch on the front of an old t-shirt can add interest without taking over your outfit, too. Place the patch slightly to one side, where the breast pocket would usually be. Or, go bolder and decorate your t-shirt with randomly placed patches all over.
Place Patches on Your Sneakers
A solid-colored pair of sneakers becomes fun and funky with the addition of some patches. This is a great way to give a twist to an otherwise simple outfit.
How to Use Iron on Patches
When you go shopping, you’ll probably find lots of clothes that already include patches. However, they can also come with a steep price tag. To keep costs low, try adding patches to things you already own, or things you buy at the thrift store.
You can sew patches to your clothing, too, but many patches now are meant to be ironed on. Follow these easy steps to get a trendy look!
Gather Your Supplies
First, you’ll need the right tools. Obviously, this means an iron, and a patch or patches that are designed to be ironed on.
You’ll also need an ironing board or a similar workspace, and a piece of paper or a towel.
Prep Your Workspace
Once you’ve gathered everything, plug in the iron and set it to high heat or “cotton” setting, with no water inside. You don’t need steam, just heat.
Next, place the item you’re adding the patches to on the ironing board, and position the patch right where you want it. Cover the patch with the paper or towel so the heat won’t damage it.
Apply Your Patch
Now, just press the iron to the patch for about 10 seconds. If your patch comes with instructions, follow the instructions to decide how long to apply heat for instead.
Let the patch cool, and test it by peeling up one of the edges. If it starts coming off, repeat the heating process. If not, your patch is ready to go!
How Will You Wear Cute Patches?
While these ideas will get you started with wearing cute patches, once you give them a try, there’s no telling how you’ll decide to wear them next.
Why not add patches to a swimsuit, leggings, or a hat? This creative trick lets you add personality to just about any item of clothing you want.
Looking for more cool ways to personalize your look? Try statement jewelry next!