I apologize to anyone (if anyone) reads this blog. I have not been posting. I haven't felt terribly motivated.
This is not because I am not caring about fashion. It is because the Summer lends to a different view on fashion. I become more laid back, more adventurous, more creative. I begin to bend the rules.
I am returning to the beach this weekend, and like all good fashion lovers, I have spent the entire week laying out potential outfits for potential scenarios. I try sitting in them, dancing in them. I check out the lines of the outfit on me from every angle of a mirror. I confirm that I will still feel cute, comfortable and most importantly… me once I wear it out on the town.
Well this does not sound laid back? Well my attention to fashion does not “lay back,” but my sense of what is appropriate on my body does. This is not to say I wear unflattering things, it just means I am more liberal.
The most popular bottom in my fashion rotation this season is a denim skirt. For the past several years, denim skirts have been a mainstay in a woman's wardrobe. Stretch, mini, pencil, dark, vintage or embroidered; denim skirts can dress up or down and always seem to manage to show up in fashion magazines. This summer, denim skirts are hotter than they were in the 1980's. All celebrities are seen with their damaged, deconstructed and destructed denim skirts costing hundreds of dollars. Like the poncho of last fall, it just seemed too overdone, and I am never one to jump onto a trend bandwagon.
Then I visited my local Old Navy. I was looking for a pair of bum-around jeans and was rifling through the rack trying to find my size. I found a hanger with my size marker on it and pulled it from the mass of denim. Lo and behold, it was not a pair of denim jeans, but a denim skirt. In my size. Bearing a tag that stated $4.97.
that sucker went with me to the fitting room. I cannot pass up that sort of bargain if I find it useful and flattering.
It was both. My knit tank that I wore shopping was transformed. With chinos, it was basic. With the skirt, it was funky, bohemian, and a bit rocker. I saw it with a beaded necklace, a pair of flip flops and a drink in my hand at a beachside bar. The skirt was a great fit, a cool yet not too short length, and as I stated, a wonderful price.
Problem was it looked too “new.” It was dark denim with stark golden stitching. May be great in winter with tall boots and a black turtleneck. For Summer… denim needs to be a bit weathered. Broken in. Comfortable.
I decided, it was only $4.97, I could afford to be creative. I stopped by the hardware store on the way home and bought a pack of sandpaper. I sat down to watch What Not to Wear and went to work. I sanded the edges, and even sanded some holes right through the body of the skirt. I took a pocket knife and scraped the denim, letting white poke through in places. I then sprayed the skirt with water so it was slightly damp, dipped a Q-Tip in bleach and drew “whiskers” on the front of the skirt (whiskers are those white streaks seen on jeans right around the zipper. They seem to be made from years of being creased while wearing and sitting, but actually they are made by man to make jeans seem more appealing. These “whiskers” seem to have a slimming effect on the pooches many women – me – seem to carry). I then washed the skirt… about six times in a row and the final time, let it dry in the sun.
This skirt is worn now at least once a week. It pairs nicely with ribbed “wifebeater” tanks and beaded necklaces, I even wore it to work with a pink blazer and plum shell. When running errands, it is matched with a fitted tee and Reef flops. I like it with vintage tees.
Did I say vintage tees? I who feels that these “hipster” articles of clothing do not belong on anyone ever a size 4 or over the age of 21? Yes. Yes. Yes. This is another wardrobe stape this Summer that come Fall I won't be caught dead in.
It started with one jaunt to the beach where I saw a guy in a crowd at a concert. He was wearing one of these vintage tees proclaiming a softball league in my hometown! I live hours away from the beach, and my hometown is not famous. I told the guy about the coincidence and he agreed to trade shirts with me (yes, he was drunk, but who was I to argue?). I was wearing a basic solid colored slim fitting tee from The Gap so I was happy to make the trade (okay, maybe I was drunk too). The rest of the night, I wore the shirt of a stranger and never got so many compliments or flirtations!
Once I “destroyed” the denim skirt, I was addicted. I took all my jeans that were “not quite right” and experimented on them. The hems were frayed, the pockets distressed. “Whiskers” were drawn on the front. It was fun, and it made clothes that were collecting dust seem new and fresh.
I had to go to the Middle of Nowhere for a work-related training seminar. As I was driving home from BFE I passed a thrift store. I used to frequent thrift stores in college, when grunge was big and we were all searching for that elusive perfect pair of 30 year old broken-in jeans to wear with our flannels. I thought maybe, just maybe I may find a cute vintage shirt or some other random gem.
I found some fun shirts in the Boys section. Tee shirts that were bought as souvenirs from foreign lands. Soccer and lacrosse jerseys with names and numbers and team logos on them. Some looked worn, some looked too new. I bought them all, with my total only being $7 (and that included a gorgeous pearl grey Ann Taylor merino v-neck that looked brand new!!!).
I Googled ways to make shirts look “vintage,” and found some recipes on YM magazine (I know, I am thirty and getting fashion hints from preteens… I told you I am different in the summer!). Dependent on the shirt being 100% cotton, or 50% poly, the recipes called for water, tons of salt, some bleach, and waiting several days while the garments soaked in the solution out on my deck.
The recipes didn't really work. The solution for the 50/50 shirts caused the shirts to literally fall apart and disintegrate into the bucket. The ones for 100% cotton shirts made them look a bit more worn, but not the soft worn-in look I desired.
So what am I to do with these shirts? Oooh, I can cut them up and make them fit better! A v-neck soccer tee was cut to be sleeveless, a bit shorter and have a plunging v-neck. Remnants from the shirt were cut into strips and the shoulders were tied from neck to armhole to rouch the top. A tee shirt from Germany had the neck cut out to create an off the shoulder boat neck. The hems were shorn off, the sleeves slit at the top, one side slit up two inches to give the opportunity to tie the side. I really must take pictures. I am impressed with my handiwork.
Pieces I am taking to the beach:
1. Navy child's soccer jersey cut up
2. My denim skirt
3. A pair of “vintage” looking jeans
4. Pair of “Japanese premium denim” darker wash, nicer looking jeans
5. Hot pink strapless top of a silky synthetic fabric(not a tube top, it is forgiving to my tummy)
6. Jade Green spaghetti strap top of layered ruffles made from tissue-weight knit
7. White lined capris of cotton sateen
8. White “wifebeater” tank
9. Stone colored chino skirt in a denim skirt type of cut. It too was frayed a bit at the seam
10. Black lightweight off the shoulder dolman sweater
11. Red tee shirt with graphic on front, cut like previously mentioned ‘Germany” shirt, but larger so it has a more drapey look (solid black bra worn underneath with one strap showing)
12. Charcoal gray tee shirt with graphic on the front
13. A multitude of funky, chunky bracelets, dangly earrings and long beaded necklaces
14. Black J.Crew wedge flops, black fabric Reef flops, Brown and wood beaded thong sandals, tan thong heeled sandals, sneakers
14. One outfit for exercise – capri yoga pants and a slim fitted moisture-wicking tee
15. Pajamas – a tee shirt that smells like my husband and a pair of boxers
16. Two bathing suits
17. Gauzy tunic-style beach cover up and a white wrinkle resistant shirt as a coverup backup