The Joys of Thrifting pt. 2: Dior Skirt Suit

Try and guess how much I paid for this skirt suit. Go ahead…$300? Nope. $150? Haha, no. $65? Give up yet? 30 bucks. At a church’s “opportunity shop” near my old apartment in DC. So many people—friends, coworkers, and strangers—are amazed that I scored this gem for so cheap, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. I purchased it as a size 12. I am a size 0. If your jaw just dropped, join everyone else I’ve told, too. But after $98 worth of tailoring I’m THRILLED with the end result:
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IMG_9769 IMG_9773The secret as to why this drastic change in size was possible: uncomplicated tailoring. The jacket does not have arm hole seams, just princess seams down the back, and thank god the bottom was a skirt—altering pants is far more costly than skirts. There is nothing to a skirt—a few darts for shaping, but a skirt is otherwise simply a tube of fabric with a lining and a zipper. Had this been a pants suit, I never would’ve bought it.

Other ways to wear it: as separates! The jacket can be worn as a coat (below) and the skirt can be worn on its own simply as a bold pencil skirt (further below). The jacket can also be worn as a minidress, but this particular day was a bit too cold for me to be willing to take those pictures on my roof ;).
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Below you will find what the set looked like before tailoring. A bit funny to look at now, especially since these pics below were taken during my first semester senior year in DC. Ah, the memories…and now the thrifted, lipstick red Christian Dior skirt suit:
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How-to: Cutting the Perfect Off-the-Shoulder Tee

Does this sound familiar? I love to buy band tees but I hate the boys’ crew neck! It would look so much better if it were off-the shoulder, but I don’t want to have to replace the shirt because I cut the neckline too big the first time :( No worries ladies! Luckily, this is an easy fix with the help of a little resourcefulness.

Supplies

    • Band tee in a regular/loose fit, i.e. My shirt is a ladies’ Medium when I normally take an Extra Small/Small
    • Either a white chalk pencil or black Sharpie (depending on color of shirt)
    • Sharp scissors
    • Measuring Tape

  • 1. Fold your t-shirt in half by taking both sleeves to meet so that the logo or design on the front of the shirt is facing out and so that the shoulder seems match up. Take your pencil or Sharpie and mark the fold at the middle of the collar. The shirt must be symmetrical so that the mark is truly at the center.
  • 2. Take your measuring tape and measure from the base of your neck to just below the opposite shoulder. Take note of this number, but make sure to round down to the nearest number easily divisible by two. For example: My original measurement was 33cm so I rounded it down to 32cm because it was easier to divide in half. Take note of that final number for the next step.
  • 3. Lay your shirt flat. Taking that ^^ number, divide it in half. For me, I took 32 ÷ 2 = 16cm. Line up the measuring tape so that the tip is at the shoulder and the measurement (16cm) is aligned with your mark on the neck, ensuring that the side edge of the measuring tape is touching the outer hem of the shirt’s neckline.

  • 4. Make a small snip in the shoulder on the outside of your mark. Slip the bottom blade of your scissors through the hole so you’re only cutting the FRONT of the shirt.
  • 5. In a circular path, cut from that snip to the mark you made at the center of the neck.
  • 6. MAKE SURE YOU ARE ONLY CUTTING THE TOP LAYER

  • 7. Cut along the shoulder seam to remove that side of the collar from the shirt.
  • 8. Fold over the flap that you’ve just created to use as a stencil for the other side of the collar to make sure that it’s even. Don’t worry about being too careful—a few jagged edges won’t be noticeable.
  • 9. Again, cutting in a circular pattern (and following your “stencil”) cut the other side of the collar.

  • 10. With the front of the shirt still attached at one shoulder, lay the shirt flat and bring the flap to one side to lay it flat.
  • 11. To ensure that your neckline won’t stretch out too much and reveal more than you’d like, cut the back of the neck straight across. DO NOT cut in a curve to match the front of your shirt. You will regret it.

Voilá!

NOTE: Though all photos were taken by me and are from my Instagram, I have to give credit where credit is due. The concept behind this magical mathematical genius is from YouTube-er Petite Pear Style. << Click on her name to see the video that inspired this post <<

The Joys of Thrifting pt. 1: High-Waisted Pants

Pre-owned,” “Vintage,” “Thrifted,” “Secondhand“—no matter how you phrase it it boils down to you purchasing used garments. The idea of buying “pre-owned” garments may make you squeemish, but I HIGHLY recommend trying it before you come to that conclusion. From vintage stores to thrift stores (yes, there is a difference) to the good ol’ Salvation Army—one’s trash is truly another’s treasure. The idea of buying vintage or thrifting has really taken off in the past few years. There’s even an amazingly catchy song + music video about the fabulous finds while thrifting.

Not only is it a cheap alternative to buying new items, but shopping vintage exposes you to trends from previous generations. While this post features a hand-me-down vintage item, this series will contain a mix of store-bought and hand-me-down items. These are a fabulous pair of high-waisted trousers in a brown multi-colored houndstooth fabric I received from my boyfriend’s mom.

I was very thankful that she and I are the same size—I don’t need to tailor these at all. Typically, vintage finds may need to be tailored (i.e. hemmed, taken in, let out, etc). Other pieces in this series will demonstrate what I mean. As for these, they fit my waist perfectly, the length is ideal for showing off heels, and they’re not too tight. To update them a bit I paired them with an off-white 3/4 sleeve blouse, a hunter green studded skinny belt, and chocolate brown crocodile wedges. [click on all images to enlarge]


Great Find, Make it Fit: Tall Gladiator Sandals

Does this look familiar to anyone?

As much as I love finding unique pieces to add to my wardrobe, I often forget the unfortunate truth that not all people fit a “one size fits all.” In this instance: not all gladiators fit all calves. Luckily, this is an easy fix with the help of a little resourcefulness.

The supplies you’ll need:

  • ——————————–- Gladiator sandals
  • ——————————–- Scissors
  • ——————————–- X-acto blades or straight razors
  • ——————————–- White pencil for markings
  • ——————————–- Paper clips
  • ——————————–- Rubber cement

  1. Identify where the seamsof the straps are, and remove them from the buckle by slicing with your X-acto knife.
  2. Now that the straps are free from the buckle, loop each through its hoop to a comfortable snugness.
  3. Using your white pencil, make a mark on the underside of each strap.

Don’t Worry!! This is what it should look like^^

  1. After taking your sandals off, loop the strap through the metal loop and line up the end of the strap to where you drew the white mark. This is how you will be gluing the strap in place.
  2. Apply a bit of rubber cement to the inside of the strap within a half inch of the white mark. Press the end of the strap securely in place for about 30seconds each.
  3. To allow the rubber cement to set, gingerly bend paper clips around the glued areas and leave overnight. Your new sandals will be ready by the morning :)