I love looking good, but am not enamoured with paying thousands of dollars for the privilege. Alas, I love to travel, and I would rather spend the thousands on that!
However, I have found ways of getting the looks I love, for a fraction of the price, and it's not sewing my own. I do that occasionally, but honestly, I don't have the time right at this point in my life.
I'm a bit of an expert at embellishing though, and it's amazing what you can achieve with a bit of fringe, a few unique buttons or beads, and a dash of creativity.
I first mentioned this idea here, and here, when I shared how I often use Net-a-Porter or Polyvore to get ideas on how to look my best. Sometimes it's just a case of updating a shoe, or a scarf, or the colour of your handbag, to look current. These sites help you achieve that and more. You can learn what prints are 'hot', what accessories will help you look young and on-trend, and for me, what shoes to wear with what. I am a great believer in 'the shoe makes the outfit'. I know. It's a problem isn't it!
I also shared how, once I have my inspiration, I hit the sales and my favourite thrift stores, to source similar looks. I'm constantly surprised at how often 'just the right thing' jumps into my lap soon after.
The ladies in the photographs above were a recent inspiration. These shots were taken at Paris fashion week (perhaps not this year, but last year...for me it doesn't matter), and they appealed to me as the women concerned all look to be around my age. They look classy, neat, and a bit edgy and different. I like that. These looks also looked relatively easy to replicate.
I've chosen the lady in the middle as my first project. I particularly loved her fringed skirt, long lean shirt, tanned limbs and ankle booties. This looked like an outfit that I might wear for an outing to the ballet or theatre, so I've started there.
The immediate pressing task was to find the fringe. This is not an inexpensive option at Spotlight (the major haberdashery store here where I live), but a quick look on eBay, and I'd purchased 4 metres, for under $20. I did not need anywhere near this much, but thought at $3.99 a metre (yard), it was worth buying a little more than required. You can buy the fringe from here.
It arrived about a fortnight later, tied in a neat little bundle....
...it's heavy and is exactly what I wanted.
Now I already had this skirt. It's a knee length skirt in a heavy stretch type fabric, sourced at a department store sale for under $30. I liked it at the time, but had never actually worn it as I'm not a huge fan of dresses and skirts. I liked the abstract pattern on this one though, and it's straight, so didn't make me look fatter than I already am...lol!
Further research on 'asymmetrical fringed skirts' on Google yielded many different options and methods of using the trim, and eventually I decided to simply add the trim, leave the fabric underneath, and spare the unsuspecting public a view of my thighs. It was the only decent thing to do. There were certainly plenty of designer-ish skirts that employed this method, so all good.
I laid the fringe in place, as above, ensuring that the top of the trim was even with no ripples, and pinned it into place as seen below...
Now, something to be aware of, is that my skirt had a bit of 'give', as did the fringe. So I kept the entire length of fringe in one piece, and as I pinned, I made sure that I allowed for the stretch. I pinned in a downward slope from side seam to side seam at the front, then turned the skirt over, and pinned from side seam to side seam in an upward slope to make the fringe meet at the edges. I left a little overhang as seen below, which I trimmed once I'd stitched. It was just as well, as even though I'd allowed for that 'give' when pinning, I still needed a couple of centimetres (inches) more than I initially thought.
I stitched using a normal needle and black thread. The actual sewing took about three minutes, maximum.
And here's the finished skirt....
It looks fabulous on, and who would imagine that the addition of $4 worth of black fringe could make something look so glamorous!
A trip to my aforementioned favourite thrift store yesterday, yielded a long lean white sleeveless top to wear with my skirt, but I need to take it in a little to slim it down. It's a bit voluminous at the moment, and whilst I love the flowing look, it's not right for this outfit.
The final addition is the shoes, and in the same thrift store visit, I sourced all of these shoes for just $7 a pair. Now I normally have an aversion to buying shoes from the thrift store, but as it happened, every single pair, bar the yellow ones which look brand new anyway, were unworn, still with tags! The yellow ones are Nine West and will go perfectly with my orange and yellow beads, another thrift store purchase...
And as for my jacket (seen above) embellishing project as seen in this post here, well that one was completed in one five and a half hour, hand stitching marathon of neon flat backed jewels, and pretty much looks just as I laid it out, seen here below. That one was a great success, and drew many compliments last weekend when I wore it to three different events. If I ever get the hang of the full length selfie, I'll share how it actually looks on!
The great thing, and a benefit I hadn't considered, is that the jewels weigh the hem down considerably, giving a very flattering and slimming line. Did you know that Chanel jackets all have chain stitched into the hems for exactly this reason? Or that many designer garments also have weights of one kind or another (even coins!) stitched into dress hems, and the hems of trousers? That's an idea worth copying as it gives such a lovely finish to your garments.
Those lolly pink ballet flats are going to look great with the jacket, and some white jeans this Summer I think!
The khaki ones with their fabulous flat black bow, will be a perennial favourite, and the black loafers look very similar to the ones the lady is wearing in the first photo at the top of my post, so I guess you see where I was going with that idea. The strappy, conical heeled, and very comfortable sandals, will be worn with the fringed skirt tomorrow night, when I attend my daughters Ballet Concert, and I hope to provide photos of that outfit then! Although, I must confess, that having secured so many bargains, I felt justified in spending a little on a pair of ankle booties as per my fashionista inspiration in picture number two. They'll arrive tomorrow and I'll make a decision then.
So first outfit, inspired by photograph two, successful.
Total spend $52, including the shoes, or a little more if I decide to keep the boots.
I call that a win.
Coming up is my Dolce & Gabbana inspired trimmed shirt....stay tuned....