We’re back! After a brief hiatus for Thanksgiving weekend, I’m back at the keyboard once again! Though, quite frankly, I’m a little surprised my fingers have not frozen solid to the keys! It is COLD here, people! So, cold that my plan for my adorable Betsey Johnson dress on Thanksgiving Day disappeared faster than your Turkey dinner! As soon as I heard it was suppose to be the coldest Thanksgiving in 100 years, Betsey was traded in for a wool Tahari pant suit! I was still happy with how it looked, but disappointed I didn’t get to wear Betsey! 😦
You may recall that I mentioned to you that several weeks ago I did a workshop at my church on styling with thrift. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed all the enthusiasm I found from these women to learn about both styling and thrifting.
One of the things I really wanted to address in the workshop was a main objection I hear about thrifting – the clothes are old and I’ll look outdated. That is sooooo far from the truth. The fact is, you will, with your own sense of creativity, be able to put together a look so stylish and, yet, uniquely you, you will find yourself setting the trends rather than following them! To demonstrate my point that you can absolutely thrift and still be “on trend”, if that’s your desire, I took 4 different looks straight out of the September and October issues of InStyle Magazine and “re-created” these looks with a few productive trips to some local thrift stores.
The trends we went for were: the layered animal print trend, the prairie dress trend, the suiting trend (Which I wore that day and re-styled over again on Thanksgiving!) and then the look I’m going to share with you today – the “Cabin Fever” look.
There are a few key points I tried to emphasize when putting these looks together. If you want to truly successfully create a stylish look based on a runway/magazine/ad or celebrity look keep these key points in mind:
- You are NOT that actor/actress/model. Adjust the style or cut of the garments to suit your body, not theirs.
- You have a different lifestyle than the designer or stylist who put that outfit/ad/or runway look together had in mind. Adjust the style, fabric, cuts, lengths, etc. to suit your lifestyle, not theirs.
- You have personal tastes. Feel free to add your own bits of personal style into the look so it represents you and not just have a “cookie cutter” look from a magazine.
- We are seeking to create the “essence” of the look, not to duplicate the look like a rubber stamp. What works on that person, for her body, for her coloring, for her life will not work for everyone’s. Take the best elements – the standout elements – and work from there.
As you’ll see from the InStyle pics I’ve included here, the original runway look – the “Cabin Fever” look – is quite extreme for most of us. In fact, even InStyle went on to create a toned down version of it for the masses.
The InStyle version is actually quite nice. In general, it’s a look that quite a few people could pull off. However, I needed a version that would work for ME – not an InStyle model. So, let me show you what I came up with and why.
The first thing that needed to go to make the “Ronnie” version work is the length of the white dress. At my height, the length that both of their versions used would have cut off my already short legs causing me to appear even shorter, my legs to appear stubby and by default me to appear heavier – none of these are acceptable to me. With actually very little effort, I was able to find a white sundress on a 75% off sale that was a great length and fit, and will additionally wear wonderfully all year long! (And I only paid $1 for it!)
Next adjustment I made was to the buffalo print cover. In the original they used a pull-over. Then they switched to a cardigan. I actually came across almost the exact duplicate of the cardigan in my thrifting travels, but decided against it for several reasons: #1 – I didn’t care for the price the particular on-line thrift shop was asking, #2 – I felt I wouldn’t get a lot of usage out of that style (it felt limiting), and #3 – (my most important reason) like the dress, I felt both the length and the bulk were going to be unflattering to my figure. The length would cut me off, once again, and the bulk of the sweater, on someone with my body shape, was going to look puffy. Looking short and puffy is not a look I tend to go for. Instead, after a little searching, I came across this fabulous buffalo print flannel shirt in a local thrift shop. The thinner fabric would cut down on that bulk and it has a much shorter cut. Also, though you can’t see it in these shots (sadly) it has a beautiful black lace inlay in the back which lends itself to my personal style and personality. And as an added bonus, the thinner fabric will give me much longer wear out of the shirt – most likely allowing me to wear it 3 out of 4 seasons.
Like the InStyle version, I added a black belt around the waist to give it a nice silhouette, but rather than a plain black belt, I chose one with a little “bling” on it. Again, this suits my personality and style and works well with the style of the buffalo print shirt.
The shoes were, in a way, up for grabs. In the original you can see she has on a higher almost cowboy looking boot, whereas in the InStyle remake they used a hiking boot. Though it’s difficult to see, in the version I did for my workshop, you can note sitting at the bottom of the mannequin, I also used a hiking boot. And, that looks great with it and I’ll wear it that way again, I’m sure. But, when I put the outfit on this time, the spirit just moved me a different direction and I just felt like an over-the-knee boot would really set it off today and that’s the way I went. I really like both looks and I think there are probably other options you could use as well if you felt like being creative. With the OTK boots I like that it draws the darkness from the top back down to the feet, kind of evening that out with the whiteness of the dress. I’ve then evened out the whiteness of the dress by adding in the white in my earrings to give a feeling of balance and symmetry. As much as we try to fight it, the eye likes and responds to balance and symmetry. There’s harmony there.
I think, all in all, we’ve done a good job of doing what we’ve set out to do – captured the essence of the look, without ‘rubber stamping’ it. I’ve borrowed from the runway, without stealing from it, and turned it around and made it mine. That, in many ways, I believe, should be the goal. Fashion is often dictated to us, but style… style springs from our soul. It’s our own.
Until We Meet Again,