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I love to celebrate true, individual style. It’s amazing to witness the confidence that comes from wearing items that not only fit, but also flatter. Wearing clothing that also reflects your personal style is like icing on the cake… It brings forth the best version of you.

I like to celebrate my personal style by deconstructing and reworking my rarely/never-worn designer finds into items that I can’t wait to wear. I initially focused solely on building a wardrobe of reworked styles that were comfortable, boosted confidence and had a high reach factor.

I experimented with my first reworks in 2013 (I was 49.) I was at the age where I truly accepted and embraced all of me. I no longer sought approval from others. I trusted my instincts and I liked my style. I felt the increasing desire to tweak my buys. I kept thinking, “This would be perfect if it had this or that.” So I decided to just dive in and give it a try.

I started by shopping my closet. I pulled out those neglected designer purchases … The styles that were forgotten and lost in the back of the closet/drawer (I like to call them my Bermuda Triangle pieces.) I tried to focus on the elements that I liked in each piece. I then essentially brainstormed ways to combine what I liked into styles that I loved and would wear often (I like to call it upping the reach factor.)

Initially, I sewed everything by hand. Later, I taught myself the basics of using a sewing machine via an eBook and YouTube (I had it for a year before I worked up the nerve to actually try it.) My desire to try more grew as my comfort level with the sewing machine increased.

I soon started experimenting; trying to change necklines, adding inserts, pleats, raw edges and ruching details. I loved the idea of taking each piece to the next level; where the clothes became an artistic expression of my personality.

An Example:

I reworked my Via Spiga bomber-style leather jacket with a little cutting, some hand-sewing and a couple of repurposed belts. I did this in two phases…

Rework Phase One: The first phase consisted of altering the bottom and the drape. I first removed the bomber trim. I then cut the back of the jacket to make it the higher section of the jacket’s new high-low raw hem.

Next, I opened the lower part of the back, middle seam and added the lace-up portion of my former, never-worn Armani Exchange belt. I liked the idea of mixing up the metals (I always had a touch of rebel in me … I never could stay in the lines when coloring.).

The high-low feature, combined with the subtle swing drape created by the back panel insert, draws the eye flow to the curve of the hip (which also helps to define the waistline).

 


Rework Phase Two: I upped the jacket’s funky rocker feel by cutting and attaching my never-worn, multi-strap Diesel belt. The final results definitely created a bold, glam rock vibe.

My rework projects quickly became a creative outlet … I experimented often, using my creative vision, trial & error, and often my pig-headed stubbornness to make my ideas a reality. I have produced some great results. Sometimes, I have fallen in love with the mistakes (the pieces that deviated from the original vision.) On the rare occasion, I had to give in and just admit defeat. Overall, I’ve come to love the journey and the idea of testing my creative limits.

My rationale: I already invested the money and purchased these items. Why not add my own “flavor” and get my money’s worth by truly making them mine?

 

Robert Rodriguez combined with ABS

My subtle color blocking update to Class Roberto Cavalli

 

Elie Tahari with a playfully dramatic tweak to the hem (All of the items in this picture were reworked)

 

Jean Charles de Castelbajac combined with Frani

Scrupoli combined with a contrasting snake print by Jones New York

 

 

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Testing My Creativity With Fashion After 50 was last modified: by

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