We all have them – the ugly sweater stitched with grandma’s love, the hand-me-down prom dress that your sister spilled punch on, the expensive pair of jeans tattered with a hole in the most inconvenient place possible. We save them, we store them, and we reminisce. We make plans for reconstruction and stain removal. However, the truth of the matter is that much of our closet space resigns itself to nothing more than a graveyard, harboring trends past, with only guilt and sentiment keeping us from purging these unusable items.
One of the more eminent changes in the fashion industry post-recession is the need for convertible, multi-functional, and reconstructed clothing. As budgets tighten and creativity becomes a must, many designers are creating new patterns and hardware applications that allow for flexibility of silhouette and design. Among these new designs is the “Fancy” dress by Haley Starr which incorporates myriad drapes and cinches allowing it to be converted into about one hundred distinct silhouettes. The woman’s accessories industry is no stranger to the concept of multi-functionality either. Consider this eco-friendly “Necklush” (necklace + cowl + scarf) by designers Troy Hicks and Stefano Diaz or these convertible over-the-knee boots by Free People, which can be worn tall over skinny jeans, cuffed with summer shorts, or slouchy for a boho-chic look.
The Fashionista this week went one step beyond purchasing a new multi-functional piece and instead resurrected a forgotten favorite from her own wardrobe. While I was first struck by the funky seam work and draping of her dress, I was absolutely astounded to hear that she had actually reconstructed the piece herself! While chatting with her just outside of the bank on Main Street, I learned that her hippie-chic dress was once a dowdy skirt that she would have never worn…conventionally that is. With a couple of hours work, basic sewing skills, and abundant innovation, this Fashionista gave new life to a piece that before served as a mere dust bunny collector. Paired with a great thrift store clutch, braided belt, and more contemporary gladiator sandals, her outfit resounds creativity, whimsy, and lightheartedness without cluttering her closet.
Hint: Want to recreate this Fashionista’s look? Check out your local thrift store for skirts that both have a unique pattern and are constructed of good quality material. Remember, it is the fabric that you are looking for, not the silhouette or style. Using yourself as a model, try the skirt on in a variety of ways, pin it in the position you want, and sew a few simple seams. If you are not feeling quite so adventurous, you can purchase a chic prairie skirt with an elastic band or smocking near the waistline. Wear this conventionally as a skirt or try something new by adding a belt and wearing it as a dress!
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