Sharpies aren’t just for labeling your freezer bags anymore, kids. So hot right now Vena Cava designers Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock actually use them all the freaking time: “Last season we showed a number of ‘gunmetal’ lace pieces—which was actually gold lace completely Sharpied to look silver. Our intern deserved a trophy for that one. We also enjoy using Sharpies to deface silks, t-shirts, khaki from the Gap, AND—coming this November to a retailer near you—high top Converse.” After reading about their liberal use of everyone’s favorite black permanent marker we got to thinking: There are loads of style tricks one can accomplish with the help of a sharpie, like …1. Jazz up your sneaks. Sophie and Lisa designed an entire line for Converse using a Sharpie. So get doodling on those old haven’t-seen-in-years canvas shoes. You never do know; they could experience a rebirth!
2. Use it as a stain stick. Ever mistakenly get drops of bleach on your fave black dress/shirt/pants? Black Sharpie to the rescue. I’ve literally filled in the white spots. It doesn’t last forever, but a few touch-ups will get your spots back to black!
3. Go all graffiti crazy on silk. Another Vena Cava bit of genius: Since marker runs on silk (as anyone who’s touched a pen to their silk blouse knows), use the way ink runs as a hint of shirt decoration. Try drawing graffiti-esque lines on a silk shirt—and work with what the shirt is already doing. Got a crazy collar? Add a runny black line! Try zigzags at the hem, so when you do the half-tuck there’s just a bit of whimsy peaking out.
4. Touch up scuffs. We’ve all used this one in a pinch. Black heels get totally scuffed up, look trash-ball and you need a fix. Sharpie the scuffed-up bits; the marker even has enough sheen to almost look like patent leather too!
5. Tone down shine. Sick of metallic touches? Got a dress heaving on grommets? Tone down the shine and metal by coloring over the grommeted bits. And if you’re going for a big dose of punk, don’t be so perfect about covering the shiny bits—it’ll look better if it actually looks like you used a marker!
6. Tone down gold lace. Do as Lisa and Sophie did: Sharpie gold lace to look silver. Or try it on any other color lace you’ve got kicking around for a marker-your-own-adventure type of DIY.
7. Reach for colored sharpies and gussy up an old canvas tote—The L.L. Bean totes are screaming for a marker upgrade.
8. Get geometric on your sunnies. Buy a cheapie pair of Ray-Ban rip-offs and marker on vertical stripes or geometric shapes. Go big on the shapes; if they run off the frames that’s a good thing, as it will look way more chic and of-the-moment.
9. Attack your boyfriend’s tie. Solid stripes are booor-ing. Work a graffiti-esque scrawl on it, or go kitschy with a tattoo-esque heart with an arrow through it!
10. Think home stuff. Work your Sharpie magic on old linen napkins or dull white lampshades. For inspiration, check out the stencils here.