Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Saved From The 'Country Living' Fantasy

I will take a break from my travel posts, although this one is somewhat related and I will explain why, a little later. 

I think all of us sometimes indulge in a little fantasy-life shopping.  For some it may be party dresses, for others the formal suits, but for me it is the ultra feminine and nostalgic dresses. You know I love Brora and their cashmere is wonderful, but over the years I found myself falling for the prettiness and charm of their dresses as well.  I always thought I am this slightly rough around the edges,  sassy, no-nonsense, bred-in-the-city chick, but I fantasized of being transformed into one of those sweet, feminine, gentle, country living creatures that look so adorable in the catalog shots.       

liberty print dress country living

This is the dress I bought in 2010 and it is indeed a beautiful frock irl.  But unfortunately, it did not make me look like the model.  I think what seduces us is the old-fashioned vibe of the dress combined with the youthfulness and general willowy-ness of the women wearing it.  Put the nostalgic dress on the middle aged, not so thin-and-tall me, and you simply quadruple the old-fashioned factor,  hardly a flattering sight.      
oops

Granted, this Christmas picture (with Santa) is awful, the pose is awkward and I could probably work it a little better, but the fact remains that this is how it will look, more often than not.  The silk has a wonderful feel, the print is very pretty and the neckline is flattering, but I had to face the fact that that the volume around the hips and the bottom ruffle did me no favors.  Sigh.
What to do with a pretty dress that simply does not work for you? Well, you can sell it or donate it, or you can try an alteration.  Especially if you have a mom who saws, you happen to be visiting and you bring the dress with you, just in case she can spare some time pretty please.  Brilliant, right?  This is how this post is related to traveling.

The dress came with a side zipper that bothered me when I belted the dress, so we have removed the zipper first.  Then, my mom have taken it in at the sides and removed the bottom ruffle.  I don't have the picture but the dress looked sooo much better.  My straight figure came to be an advantage since I could pull the dress on without the zipper. 

At this point the silhouette was fixed but I realized that the dress was simply too sweet for my style.  However, I could easily see myself wearing it as a top.  It may seem like butchery to hack off good chunk of a dress, not mentioning that I probably would not pay the amount I spent on the dress for a blouse, but hey, what good was it to sit in the closet?    


I know,  I am due for weeding and trimming...

I love it as a top and it is definitely much more my style.  I can easily see myself wearing it.   In fact, I was in need of a tunic-type tops to wear with my skinnies...


Btw, here you can also see another small transformation.  Before my trip, I have hemmed my black jeans to an ankle length and I like them so much better now. I hated how the used to bunch up around my ankles before and I did not think they looked good cuffed.


The top also works belted, imo.

Now this is more of what I had in my mind...

 http://4bff0e439d172fecdc95-7855b9cc8d13cea384d3c08f9c0af504.r76.cf3.rackcdn.com/subseason/13sum_1/product/website/lifestyle/zoom/dd1305.jpg

And no, sadly, the Poppy dress will not work for me either...

***
That's all folks!

What do you think? 


Have you ever saved you 'fantasy shopping casualty' through an alteration?  


Please share, it would be no fun without you!!!

24 comments:

  1. Great save ajc! I like the look of the tunic much better but then I'm not one for the flowy frocks either. I tried many times to wear full skirts. For some reason I wanted that twirly feeling but they do not suit me at all and (I think) I've learned my lesson.

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    1. You are way faster learner, xoxo. I wish I had really figured it out in my twenties, lol.

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  2. Wow ajc, the tunic is amazing! Great job by your mom on saving the dress.

    I love the poppy dress fabric, but the style doesn't even look good on the model, unfortunately.

    I have never altered something to save it, but I have a pile of things that need such treatment!

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    1. There is a pile in my mind as well...

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  3. Great save! No wonder your mom looks so stylish in yesterday's photos.

    I once bought a Ralph Lauren cashmere pullover sweater with low scoop neck and lower back. The sweater had a beautiful paisley print all over it. it was for wear in your ski chalet in Vermont, snow outside, roaring fire, guys in Shetland crewnecks... The sleeves ended in the tiniest applied cuffs. After 3 seasons, I gave up on getting a new life and cooler buddies, and took off the sleeves. When laid out flat, the shoulder end was a kind of sloping triangle... and I now have a cashmere paisley winter scarf.

    now the life I want to dress for is on Etsy, I've decided I need more eccentricity in my life and need to wear headdresses.

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  4. Cool second life ajc. I think the simpler, shorter shape really focusses on the neckline. I try hard to buy styles that suit me but I still fall occasional victim to dressing for the inner, "gone on holiday" life I occasionally want (more temperate climate, more parties, more colourful) than the routine I happily have. I recently lopped off and tweaked the JC links print dress, a fabric I love, but in a scale and colourway (tan, gold, black) that were tough for 5'2" me, plus fiddly shoulder strap style. Now it's a fun, no-fuss top with black jeans and a cardi gets much more wear.

    My one Brora beware is those jersey-knit/ liberty "tea" dresses. I love that they are not clingy, simple shapes and can be worn with tights, boots and a cardigan/ jacket. But IRL they are too casual/ "pretty" for my work, not really dressy or evening enough for social events in the city. And, much it would be a nice escape, I don't have a do lunch or afternoon tea life. So I kept the one I liked best and forwarded the rest. From now on, if must-have remains, I will stick to same fabric tops in the sale!

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    1. I don't have a do lunch or afternoon tea life. So true. Would be nice, though.

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  5. AJC, I love the redo. Your mother is quite talented, and the top is so much more sophisticated. Great save!

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    1. Thank you KnitYarns! I will pass it on...

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  6. That's fabulous what your mom did to the dress, I love it! I get in that same mode about the florals. My best floral purchase was the Liberty Ditzy Floral pajamas from J. Crew, but I am always drawn to the florals. I'm learning to step away from them because most of them don't work well on me. Maybe I want to be Laura Ingalls? lol

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    1. I love those Liberty pajamas. But then I think it is crazy to spend so much on them especially that I don;t think they would be appreciated by the ones who would see me in them, haha.

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  7. Amazing redo. How lucky you are to have a mom who is such an amazing seamstress! I absolutely LOVE the top with the biker jacket on you. I tried to redo a Target Liberty print cotton baby doll dress that I got for around $6.00 on sale into a skirt and I did an awful job. It is really hard to do flattering alterations! I love my Brora dresses and skirts but I have to be very careful to keep the cool, retro look and avoid dowdiness.

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    1. I know. Some of the redos I attempted ended up like wff sweater...

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  8. Oh my gosh I can't believe it, that is brilliant! The tunic top is so you. Your mother is really talented and so are you for seeing what that dress could become.
    Those flow dresses are hard to wear and especially with a ruffly bottom. I have more of a country life and I even go to parties on farms with hippies etc but still I have a hard time wearing that type of look even if I may like it.
    Thanks for sharing ajc, your Mom is really becoming a star on the blog, I hope she knows that we all adore her now too!

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    1. I blame you on my Liberty dress affliction, you wear them so very well.

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  9. I didn't post yesterday but I want to add that your mom is so stylish! Thanks for sharing about her, she sounds like a really neat lady!

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  10. Wow, ajc, your mother did a brilliant job on remaking the dress - and good for you for recognizing how to fix the dress to make it suit your style! I have worked with my tailor to remodel some of my clothes but nothing as drastic as this. Love this post!!

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    1. I do think I should alter more, there is nothing like a piece made to your measurements.

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  11. Your Mom is chic AND talented. Good for you for not giving up on this piece. You missed the Laura Ashley years ( too young) and some of the getups we sported then, massive mauve tents, etc.

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    1. I do remember Laura Ashley and I still have some bedding from that line.

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  12. That is a fantastic gorgeous do-over for the dress! In my fantasy life I wear dresses and skirts and heels. In my real life I wear buttondowns, chinos, oxfords and only wear a dress once or twice every year. I have a gorgeous red polka dot Lana strapless dress (worn once) from j crew of yore. Just waiting for me to figure out how to transform it. I need your mom's skills!

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