Friday, September 23, 2011

Visual FBFF: Refashioning!

In alternate weeks for Fashion Beauty Friend Friday, we're doing visually-based posts hosted by a variety of FBFF members. I'm thrilled to be the host of today's roundup of refashioning posts!

As I told the group, a refashioned item of clothing is a piece of clothing that you've transformed in some way... whether that's by changing the color, changing the fit, using the fabric to come up with something new, adding details, removing details, whatever you can think of.

I decided to do a new quick refashion for today, starting with this thrifted wrap dress. I do like wrap dresses, and liked the soft, stretchy fabric of this one. But the sleeves were way too long, the hem hit at mid-calf (not my favorite length), and there was just too much of that bold print.

So, with the help of a pair of scissors to chop the hem and the sleeves, hemming the raw edges, and <20 minutes, I had a new dress that worked much better for me. (I could have probably even gotten away without hemming, if I'd made the cutting line a little neater.)

The pink shoes are possibly a little over the top. But I felt like something fun (and they're plastic, so will be okay if it does end up raining today...) I've got work, and then am meeting up with the boyfriend for dinner and a show tonight. Then onto a busy weekend!

Take a look at everyone else's refashions! And thanks to Katy for letting me host today!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Studded Skirt Refashion

My latest refashion started out with this:

I've never really thought of "punk" details (studs, safety pins, etc.) as part of my potential style options. But...for some reason, when I came across this studded belt at the dollar-a-pound, all I could think of was how fun it would be to take the studs off the belt and use them for a clothing refashion. I used a pair of pliers to straighten the prongs of the studs so I could pull them out of the belt, leaving me with a pile of studs.

At first I was thinking about using a few on the collar of a shirt, but this thrifted men's shirt decided it wanted to be made into a skirt. (I'd grabbed it for the boyfriend, not noticing the big logo on the front...)

So I cut across the shirt from armpit to armpit, and folded over the top of the piece and sewed it with enough space to form a casing for elastic. This seems to be my recipe these days for making a simple gathered skirt from a shirt.

Then it was time to pull out the studs and decorate! I chose to put studs along the curved hem of the piece, as well as covering up the buttons on the front. These particular studs are made of very soft metal, so I basically was able to bend the prongs into place with my bare hands.

I like how the finished piece is still fairly delicate, even with the studs...and I've still got more studs left over from that belt (which are mostly going into doing something on the collar left over from the shirt...), and another set from a second studded belt I'd found the same day. Now, what else can I add studs to?

I wore this to the Lab last week, and thought it worked quite well. Though perhaps I'd prefer wearing it on a day when I wouldn't just be sitting in front of my computer...I could definitely feel the studs pressing into the back of my legs by the end of the day.

Hope everyone had a nice weekend! I went to the Brimfield Antiques Show on Saturday, and brunch with my group at my adviser's house on a good weekend, but over very quickly...

Friday, September 2, 2011

FBFF: Looking Forward to Fall

This week, Fashion Beauty Friend Friday is looking at our favorite trends for fall. It's about the right time to do that...there's a little bit of a chill in the air (it's only supposed to be around 70 degrees today!), the first few leaves are changing colors already, school's about to start back up for the semester... oh yes, it's September already, somehow... so I'd better start looking forward to fall, as that's what I'm about to get!

1) Velvet

I'm really glad that velvet seems to be back in for the fall, because it's always been one of my favorite fabrics! I love things with softness and richness and interesting textures, and velvet definitely fits those categories. Soon it'll be time to pull out my long velvet skirts, blazers, and dresses...


2) Ankle Boots

I haven't always been a fan of ankle boots on myself, though I like the way they look on others. Something about the line stopping at the ankle can make my proportions a bit too choppy. However, I actually just yesterday found a pair of awesome black studded ankle boots at the thrift store, and my friend convinced me to get them. I'll have to debut those later in the season!

Fall Ankle Boots

3) Orange

This one surprises me, as I used to hate orange clothing. But it's been growing on me quite a lot...I have a ton of photos on Pinterest with orange accents, and I recently thrifted a lovely dark orange handbag that's going to get a lot of use this fall.

Orange for Fall


There's something so cozy about a cape! This is one trend I want to be on the lookout for at the thrift stores.

5) Leopard Print

I'm gradually getting used to wearing animal prints...they can definitely put some serious style into an outfit! But it's hard for me to work them in in a really sophisticated way. I've got a skirt that works, and a belt. The faux fur leopard-print coat...well, I've only worn that a couple of times, despite having seen a million beautiful pictures of bloggers in leopard-print coats.
Leopard Print

I'm also interested to see how many "fall trends" are really things that we just saw for other seasons as well. (I had polka dots and lace on my spring trends list...apparently both are still quite big for fall!)

Hope everyone's got plans for a lovely, restful weekend...especially if you get a three-day one! I'll mostly be doing things with the boyfriend and various members of his family. Should be a nice time!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

eShakti: My Honest Review

Have you heard about eShakti yet? (You may have, as they've worked with a variety of different bloggers.) This clothing company, based in India, offers lovely clothing in sizes from 0 to 26W at relatively reasonable prices (dresses are normally around $50). The biggest feature of eShakti, though, is that they will customize a piece of clothing to your measurements for only a few dollars more. Even if you don't choose full custom measurements, you give them your bra size so they can fit you better. Additionally, you can pick a piece and customize other details -- hem length, sleeves, neckline, etc. I'd been seeing a lot about eShakti over the past year or so, and have spent quite a bit of time window-shopping their beautiful dresses. However, the prices were a little steep for me to take a risk on ordering something online, where I don't really have a sense of how well it will fit. So when eShakti contacted me a couple of weeks ago to ask if I'd be interested in receiving a piece to try out and review, I jumped at the chance to see if their pieces were as great in person as they looked on the internet! Disclaimer: though the dress was given to me by eShakti, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

I set out to choose a dress from eShakti...challenging, because of all the great options! Some of the ones I was considering:

Floral embroidered color block dress

Corset style embellished sundress

Ruffle front cotton knit dress

I eventually decided on this dress.

Floral hem cotton poplin dress

In less than a week after I sent in my choice of dress and measurements, the dress was custom-constructed for me and mailed from India to Massachusetts. This is their standard shipping time, according to their website. That's really impressive speed, as far as I'm concerned! (Sidenote: while I'm aware that most of the clothing/other things I own originated in other countries, it's remarkable to focus on the journey of how this one piece traveled so far to get to me). The dress was shipped in a tiny frills, no extra packaging. I'm not thrilled with how wrinkled it got in shipping, but most of that pressed out fairly quickly. So here it is!

Lots of terrific things about this dress. It's lovely and comfortable, and will make a good addition to my wardrobe...a good color to wear in basically every season, I think, but especially good for spring and fall transitions. The embroidery is awesome in real life. The back has a great V in a style I adore...(I think I hadn't even noticed the back when I picked this out!) The piece seems quite well-constructed as well. Stitching seems sturdy and clean, and the pattern has nice little details in construction. There are only two details I'm not thrilled with. 1) The little pleats in the front of the bust got kind of wrinkled in shipping, and I haven't figured out how to properly press them. So they're not as neat as in the picture. 2) I, personally, tend to sweat a lot (TMI?) and am terrified of wet armpit stains. The cotton sateen in this color does show sweat pretty quickly, though it also dried out rapidly once I got to my air-conditioned lab.

And how about that custom-fitting process? Does it work? I'd say so! This dress does fit me quite well; perhaps a hair loose in the bodice and waist, though that's compensated for by the fabric ties around the waist. Even though I was going to have the dress customized to my measurements, I still picked a silhouette and cut that I thought would work fairly well for my body. Perhaps they could have made an empire waist dress work on me (that cut usually doesn't!), but I didn't want to risk it.

Dress: c/o eShakti. Shoes: Nordstrom, thrifted. Necklace: ebay junk jewelry lot. Earrings: gift. Bag, Nine West, thrifted.

So thanks, eShakti! Have any of you shopped with them? What's your experience been like?
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