I am like an overbearing mother to my colossal wardrobe. I give it constant criticism to be the best it can be, regularly feed it new pieces to grow into a somewhat adult version of itself, and when I find rips or tears, am there with needle and thread to mend the garment. That I take care that the closet grows up right, and can make apparel and repairs, makes me the opposite of an impulse shopper.
I can’t justify spending an unreasonable sum on what seems easy to make myself. A sufficient knowledge of garment construction is a curse and a blessing, because I feel like I can outsmart some retailers by declining to buy a $60 high low dress on the sales floor that secretly features a dilapidating hem stitch. But at the same time, I miss out on some trends because I am so picky. I try not to buy anything cheaply made or overpriced because I love clothes too much. That money would go better toward a classic tailored blazer or the fabric to make something myself.
Beyond saving money and ensuring quality in my clothing, it fascinates me to be able to create something from nothing. The dress pictured above is a creation made from a bunch of other somethings. I made it from scraps of fabric that were sitting in a fabric closet, destined for nothing more than stitching practice. I did not have enough fabric to finish the bodice, so I attached strips of eyelet on either side of the zipper in the back. That makes me love this dress even more, as if it were my child. I wanted to have a dress that was similar to the styles I see on ModCloth, as I am a big fan of their vintage silhouettes and flirty fun prints.
Another site I am partial to is BurdaStyle for their selection of free downloadable patterns and project ideas. That is where the pattern for the dress pictured is from. I grew to love the website so much that I reached out to the company for an internship and wound up working at their New York office for a whole semester! There were many evenings that I would happily skip home from work with bags filled with fabric scraps and swatches given to me by my supervisors. For me that is like a golden gift from the heavens in fiber form.
Like other urban college students on a budget, I like to thrift shop. I found the vintage hatbox in the picture in a local thrift and antique store and immediately thought it went with this dress! The hatbox reminds me of the fabulous set of luggage of the flight-attendant Barbie doll I had as a little girl. Too bad it isn’t meant to carry anything heavier than hats. Otherwise I’d use it every day.