Lin - a post especially for you.



Whistles Shirt/Dress

When I did a post on the Gap 1969 boyfriend jeans, this Whistles top seemed to generate some interest due to the fact that it started out life formerly as a shirt dress. 


The Shirt formerly known as Dress.


I bought the dress in a Whistles sale for £15 so I wasn't breaking the bank exactly. Now delighted as I was for having scored this bargain, I wasn't entirely sure how this shirt dress was going to look on me and I knew I was in potential danger of looking like a hospital patient if I didn't carry it off with sufficient fashion aplomb. But I loved the pattern and the colours so I bought it any way. 



I actually changed the clear bead buttons at one point ... 
.....and then changed them back again. 
Demented. I am.


Having got it home and and tried it on in front of the mirror, I came to the dawning realisation that hospital patient was the only look I was ever going to achieve with this dress (not ideal). I belted it but deemed it too uncomfortable worn this way as I don't really like restrictions which prevent my belly reaching it's full food capacity. Also, I found that if you sat down, moved around a bit, you had to tweak everything back in to place to make it sit just so. I also pinned it to just above my knee to make it a little more happening but no it still fell in to frump factor for me. So from a dress point, this was a failure.


However, the one thing I haven't mentioned was that before the sale, I had seen the shirt version of this dress and this fact was not wasted on me and I realised I could turn the dress into a shirt. I worked out the best length for me and although I could have done the alteration myself, I sent it back to Hong Kong with my sister to get the alterations done at a little stall in Tai Po market. The alteration probably worked out at something like £2 which is why I sent it back to to Hong Kong rather than attempt it myself. I would say at this point, this was a relatively simple alteration with the dress being cotton and a non stretchy fabric which makes sewing so much easier. However, I was just plain lazy.



Miss Prissy Pants Look.


The shirt formerly known as dress now has regular sojurns out of the wardrobe as I feel it's a pretty piece which is not only comfortable but is dressy in a dress down way. 



Zara Dress/Top



The successful amputation on the first dress meant that I was less scared to repeat the same operation with another dress. This time, the victim was a mulberry silk number which I picked up in the Zara sale over the summer. This was a dress which I had tried on in the shop, loved but didn't buy, then it disappeared from the shop floor which sent me in to a hunting frenzy, then ordered it when I spotted it on line and sent it back again as I thought it a tad expensive for a very thin, unlined (though nice silk) dress which I had nowhere to go in. But when it came up in the sale - that was a different matter because it then became a reasonable silk dress for the price of £30. I had a few reservations about the dress when it arrived as (1) The dress was unlined and thin and if I chose to wear with opaques, I became the Static Monster. (2) The dress being very thin made me feel a little cold and a bit vulnerable but I didn't want to have to wear a slip underneath. (3) for some reason, rather than making this dress as one continuous piece, they decided to make the lower half as a band and resew this back to the dress which I found a bit pointless and also annoyed me with my anal pattern matching tendencies. Reading that back makes me wonder why I kept it at all!!! 


That band mismatch bugs me big time.
I just don't get it.

Grrr ... stupid unnecessary design detail (adopt petulant tone).


If the dress had been a one piece shift dress all the way up and down, I probably wouldn't have cut it up and worked with it but the silly band annoyed me ... and it puckered the tiniest bit on the seam. Picky - moi? Yup. Some might still question my decision to cut up a perfectly good dress but I did this on the basis that I have a lot of pretty dresses sitting in my wardrobe still waiting their outing and this one would have met the same fate and it's redeeming feature is that I could see it's potential as a lovely pretty top. The pattern is such that it can be worn with jeans and look dressed down but it can also be paired with smart trousers or a suitable skirt and be worn for work (if I had an office type job) or even for a night out for drinks (not night clubbing) worn with a black velvet blazer, skinnies and a pair of rocking shoes.


Doesn't match exactly - good!

Can have green bottoms, grey bottoms, black bottoms, anything you like....
... as long as you tie in the shoes.


I've paired the top with my damson chinos here as I just liked the mix. The damson is not a perfect match with the red tones in the top but I like it for that very reason. I don't always like my pairings to be too mitchy matchy. Add the Mango jacket to finish off and you're ready for a lunch with the girls.

Good to go!


Alternatively, the top works just as well with a pair of boyfriend jeans.

I finally got me some pointy mamas!

Pointy Mamas which I can walk in.
And with minimal toe cleavage. Big bugbear.


So the frock failures have now become shirt successes to me. Has anyone else attempted anything like this? Has anyone adapted their existing clothing to give it a whole new lease of life? Am I mad for chopping up my dresses? I'd be interested to hear your views.


So Lin - you going for it? And will there by any before and after shots?



31 comments:

  1. Love this! I've adapted a few tops and dress too - love how it creates a whole new outfit. The Zara dress looks much better as a top - it was all too much as a dress. Great move and LOVE the boyfriend jeans and pointy shoes. Brilliant look. Avrilx

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    1. I'd love to see you in a pair of boyfriend jeans but I'm not sure you would be comfortable in them - you have a much smarter look than me - you might have that look you had when you tried on the Primark pleather sleeved jacket :o) I've actually got a sewing machine but I am lazy and I've got loads of alterations to do but I sometimes end up taking them to the alterations lady instead - depends on the complexity of course. It's a great way of getting more mileage out of an item though.

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  2. Nice work! I have had mixed luck - chopped a Helmut Lang wool dress (using a pair of scissors) to create a layering top which I love. Very Rick Owens-esq. I also used a tailor to cut a damaged See by Chloe dress into a skirt. Somehow that didn't quite work. The skirt didn't sit or fit as comfortably as the dress. I think the reason it worked with the Lang dress/top was the fabric - wool jersey is very easy to deal with, falls like a dream, and my top now has a rolled hem without any effort, just because of how the fabric works.

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    1. Oh gosh - you're brave - chopping up a Helmut Lang dress! But with some jersey fabrics, the hem roll can be a lovely feature. I always feel a bit cheated when they don't roll which has been known to happen with some sweat pants which I wanted to do that with. I can quite happily take a pair of scissors to something bordering on cheap and cheerful but a slightly more expensive piece, I'd have to think twice about ... unless I'd fallen totally out of love with it in which case there would be no love lost.

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  3. Hahahaha love that you thought of me and thanks for this great post!

    Yes I fully intend to work on the dress, but I'm cheap and I want to do it at home with my mother's sewing machine, hence I'm been lazy on getting a start. Will definitely share pictures...I just need to remember to take the "before" pix before I get scissor-happy.

    I love both your blouses and how you've styled them - the zara blouse and cords in particular look meant for each other...

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    1. I'm cheap too but lazy which is why I send clothes back with my sister when she goes to Hong Kong if I'm not in a rush to wear the item. I have a sewing maching sat in the garage which I borrowed off my sister for the last year. I've yet to take the dust cover off!

      The Zara blouse has a nice print - very adaptable so goes with a lot.

      Look forward to your pictures when you do them!.

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  4. That's such a brilliant idea and I'm going straight upstairs to see if there's anything lurking in my wardrobe that I can adapt in a similar way. Genius! And LOVE the pointy shoes ... share your dislike of toe cleavage. Where are they from?

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    1. Trying to imagine you sat on the floor with a pile of clothes going "hack a bit of this, hack a bit of that" or maybe not. But it's good to reassess and see what you can do.

      The shoes were from H&M of all places. I'd been having a nosey around everywhere and even spotted a few pairs in Kurt Geiger but the thing that got me was the prices being asked for non leather shoes (£90) and I was thinking, what's that all about? So when I tried this pair on http://www.hm.com/gb/product/96517?article=96517-H#article=96517-E which fitted, I could walk in, were reasonably well made and looked nice, I thought I'll have those. They are currently on the website with 50% off for £7.49. Now that's a bargain and for that price, I don't mind them not being leather.

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  5. Great idea Sue... I have an old tweed jacket but I don't like the collar on it! Might send it off for a makeover now:)
    ~Anne

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    1. Or you could wear a fur gilet with a big collar under it and leave the collar out and give it a different look that way? Hides the collar and I'm sure you will have a furry gilet somewhere.

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  6. Love the blouse and the print mixed with tweed . Agree about the boyfriend cropped jean look......but don't you get cold feet up here?
    C

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    1. It's not for standing in fields watching rugby admittedly but okay if I want to switch it up a little otherwise I'm happy in some black ankle boots which work as well - with thick socks. It does get cold - really starting to feel the chill now. Whereabouts are you in North Yorkshire? Admittedly North Yorkshire is a big place.

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  7. Indeed I have my darling, my leopard print jacket was once a coat! It was too Bet Lynch for me but I wanted it and also a sale bargain at £50. Mother in Law did it, but I now wish it was just a couple of inches longer x

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    1. That's always the way isn't it. And there's no going back afterwards. Do you still wear it? Has it been featured on your blog?

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  8. I love what you did. It looks great on you.

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    1. Thank you very much Iva. I think I've been lucky in that both seem to have worked out quite well.

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  9. love what you've done + i like the idea of giving old dresses a new life.. now i kind of regret giving a whole bunch of old stuff away last weekend!

    steph / absolutely-fuzzy.com

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    1. Now you're a person I can imagine doing some DIY projects on their clothes. Just wondering if you studded your sweatshirt or you left it alone? Good memory I have (in voice like Yoda).

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    2. good memory you have sue, i've left that sweater alone for now - summer is just around the corner so i guess that's a good staple basic for next year to play with!

      steph / absolutely-fuzzy.com

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  10. Pretty so pretty, love these florals on you. So clever what you have done. Actually a couple of my dresses I feel are too short or have weird waistlines (what is this thing with high waistlines these days, or have I a weirdly long waist?) and I'm going to think about hacking them off. I have made a pledge with myself not to buy any more dresses, too lazy to shave my legs for a start!

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    1. You are the pretty top lady! I hear you on the dresses though I don't have to shave my legs not because I like being a hairy momma, it's because they're not hairy - which really means I have no excuse for flashing the pins whenever I feel like it. I don't get the high waistlines on dresses either - they all come under my boobs and it's so uncomfortable.

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  11. FABULOUS - what a great idea to shorten them!!! LOVE the Whistles dress as a top. Love even more that you got it done in HK:) Best tailors in the World:) My OH used to live in Stanley when my FIL worked for the government over there...he took me there to visit in 2004 - I would live there in a heartbeat if I could have my choice of apartment. We stayed at the Mandarin, did the Star Ferry, The Peak etc. etc...good memories! Now if only I had a sister who could take all my alterations back there!

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    1. I've done all the attractions too. We actually still have family and a flat over there so we have somewhere to stay when we decide to go across. I've not been since Ben was 3 and I don't fancy the flight with George. Yes, the alterations are so cheap that my sister saves up everything for when she goes and takes mine with her if there is nothing urgent. Sometimes, it just gives me the time to look through some old clothes and work out why I'm not wearing them and see if I can "improve" them.

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  12. Such a neat idea. I've been wondering about what to do with a dress that shrank a little during the wash. Perhaps I should chop it off and make into a top. Thanks for the inspiration! I think the tops look smashing on you.

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    1. Depending on how much it shrank and how thick it is, you could just tuck it in? I used to do that with very long jumpers when I was young but I have to admit, I wouldn't be able to handle the extra bulk anymore as I don't need anything which adds to the padding that I've already got.

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  13. I love that Whistles top. And of course, this being me, I'm totally curious as to how it looked like as a dress...

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    1. Just ignore the fact that it's been chopped, extend the garment down - long white drab hospital garment looking thing. Probably good on a tall person but very bad on me though it still didn't stop me buying it. I could imagine you in this top with your flared jeans - very seventies.

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  14. i have a dress that's lovely but has the same problem - your post is brilliant and just reminded me to take mine to the tailor's this week! LOVE the mix of textures and prints in your last look with the coat - i've been a fan of the cuffed jeans with pumps look for a while now :)

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    1. I love the girliness of the blouse juxtaposed with the denim and the tweed. It's a lovely mix but it's bordering on too cold to go out in anything like this now. Somehow the weather is never just right but here's to hoping for a balmy day soon.

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  15. Love the Zara conversion, what a successful chop! And yes, the construction concept of having the skirt part out of a mismatched band of separate fabric sounds so nutty it's almost hard to believe. It's like that dress was just screaming out to be chopped in half. And it's so lovely now!

    http://nomadic-d.blogspot.com

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    1. I agree - as a one piece dress - absolutely fine but I think they must have thought they needed to make it more interesting to justify the original price. I prefer it as a top definitely.

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Hi, I'm Sue.

Mum to Ben & George, married to the Grumps, living in suburbia, somewhere in the north of England.

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