Hats, pant suits for women, lace and pearls, and of course the stripes. Who am I talking about? None other than Coco Chanel. A woman so far ahead of her time, she invented the art of dressing in an androgynous fashion while still being feminine and grabbing every man’s attention. Last week I watched the French film Coco avant Chanel and I was blown away not only by the history of Gabrielle “Coco” Bonheur Chanel but her sheer talent in what she did. She created a fashion revolution single-handedly.
A little history on the woman herself: Coco and her sisters were placed in an orphanage at a very young age by their father when their mother passed away. They grew up in the orphanage and Coco picked up her sewing skills there. When they were young adults they began to perform songs at pubs and saloons. It was at one of these events that Coco met a man named Etienne Balsan who helped her out a great deal and whom she spent a lot of her early life with. Through him, she met another man, an Englishman, named Captain Arthur Edward “Boy” Capel. Arthur Capel and Coco Chanel had an affair that lasted nine years, and it was Capel that encouraged Chanel to start her own hat making business, and later become a couturier. The two were in love, though Capel was already married at the time, and died in a car crash in 1919, leaving Chanel devastated.
Anyway, too much history, back to my point, that is that for someone to not only have moved up the social ladder, but to have created such a huge name for herself at a time when society was a male dominated one, and women weren’t encouraged to work for a living, Coco Chanel broke all the rules in the book. I truly respect her from the bottom of my heart (though I must admit her means of getting what she wanted is not really my idea of honest work, but who am I to judge since desperate times call for desperate measures, and you gotta do what you gotta do).
Now on to the less boring parts. Today I’m going to give you guys a few tips on how to turn some of those clothes of yours that you once loved but now you’ve either outgrown or they’ve gone out of style, or you just don’t like anymore, into stuff that you love again.
The first step is to divide all the clothes that you want to revamp into two or three piles-
1. The ones that you definitely don’t want and are good enough to give to someone else or an orphanage.
2. The ones that are small but you want to keep/revamp.
3. The ones that have become too loose but are good enough to wear again.
4. And finally those are still fine but are just out of style.
Now we can work with the last three piles of clothes. The second pile works only for tops and maybe pants/jeans. You can convert that small long-sleeved t- shirt that’s at an awkward length between your hips and your waist to a short sleeved crop top. The pants/jeans can be converted to cute shorts or hot pants (very short shorts) ideal for the summer.
The loose clothes, like a dress with a nice bottom half (the part below the waist) can be cut and made into a cute skirt, and the loose parts stitched accordingly. This however will require the help of either a tailor or if you know how to sew using the sewing machine that would be perfect for you.
The clothes that are out of style, like bell bottom jeans, or an old frilly top can be revamped. The bell bottom part of the jeans can be cut using a pair of scissors to the length of your liking, and voila you have skinny three-fourth jeans! If they are white, even better, you can dye them to the colour of your choice like a deep purple or lime yellow. In India finding dyes that are not a health hazard is tough, so I will try and find some brands and get back to you on that.
The frilly shirt can be cut using a pair of scissors and a pin. You can get rid of the frills by cutting the stitches from the inside, and maybe cut off the sleeves, make it sleeveless and sexy. I have a white sleeveless top that had frills and buttons running down the front, which I removed and painted the famous Chanel sign on (so sue me, Chanel).
I hope you guys have a great week, and please don’t forget to check out the blog when you can! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or doubts about this DIY stuff cos it may appear easy, but it ain’t my friend. Include the word ‘Fashion’ in the subject line so I know it’s a fashion query.
Au revoir, mes amis. Merci beaucoup pour lire!