Category Archives: Fashion

Taking Scissors to T-Shirts

Adam Saaks in action. Image via Fashion Scriptures.

I like t-shirts — who doesn’t? They’ve got to be the most comfortable things on the planet, or at least way up there in anybody’s list. They’re so soft, so simple, so basic — and therein lies the comfort, as well as the iffiness some people (i.e., me) may have about wearing them in public. there was a time I felt they were too simple and too basic — they were originally meant to be underwear, after all. No matter what gorgeous print or designer logo may be on a t-shirt, it doesn’t change the fact that it is still just a t-shirt.

Eventually I did a turnaround as a became less snotty and more appreciative of the art and wit that came on them. Enter scissors-wielding, t-shirt-cutting rockstar-designer Adam Saaks, and my change of heart is complete. This guy is a wizard who transforms that most basic shirt into something spectacular.

He turns the shapeless to sexy, the plain to intricate, and the way he does it is a show in itself. He does his thing with just a pair of shears and his fingers, while the shirt is on the wearer. Can’t get more custom than that. He’s spontaneous, cocky, and just a little bit wild. Whew, that’s hot. I must admit though that I find most of his creations too risque for me to wear, but I still can’t help being enthralled by his process.

This and preceding images from Adam Saaks's Facebook page.

And now I look at my t-shirts with fresh eyes and try to find in them possibilities where previously there was just a whole lot of blah. I have done surgery on a couple and removed the bands at the neck, hem, and sleeves. The raw edges made them look a bit more, well, edgy, and made them even more comfortable than they are already. I have done some basic fringe-y things at the hem, and have recently ventured into more aggressive vertical slashes at the back, which lent the shirt a kind of folk-rock oomph.

Blogger morenabeachbum successfully employed some of Adam Saak’s twisty, weave-y techniques and came up with pretty great results, like this one below.

Image from Morena, Filipina, and Proud.

Here are a couple of other great takes on scissors on t-shirts.

From a discussion thread on The Fashion Spot. Shared by user Cocoly.

Found on Pinterest, originally pinned by Ashleigh Lewis.

Inspired yet? But though these works of art come from t-shirts, most of these end results can no longer technically be classified as t-shirts — they’ve reincarnated into totally different types of clothing.

Still there are others who don’t confine themselves to apparel when cutting up those t-shirts. ChocolateSushiHM on Etsy made a lovely necklace out of strips of cut up t-shirt..

Blue necklace by ChocolateShushiHM on Etsy.

Blogger ChiWei from One Dog Woof combined cut up t-shirt fabric with cool crocheting and created an awesome scarf.

Image from One Dog Woof


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Pride and Prejudice at 200

Via Paul Fraser Collectibles

I’m personally not a fan of “chick lit,” but then again it wasn’t defined as such when Pride and Prejudice was first published in 1813. Jane Austen’s sharp and quick-witted protagonist, Elizabeth Bennett, was not afraid to speak her mind during a time when reservation and demurity were laudable traits for ladies of her class.

Lizzie, as she was fondly referred to, is a character who has a clear grasp of her own mind, but also manifests human vulnerabilities through her tumultuous romance with the equally keen but undoubtedly smitten Mr. Darcy. For many, their love story has been the end to all love stories – for the last 200 years. Pride and Prejudice is definitely one piece of chick lit that will remain on my book shelf for years to come.

Ms. Austen’s masterpiece celebrates its 200th anniversary this year, and literary world is abuzz with delight. Over the years, the book has undergone countless adaptations into film, TV, and has perpetually been in print circulation since its first release. Here are a few of my favorite adaptations and representations of this literary classic.

Bride and Prejudice

Bride and Prejudice takes Austen’s classic story to the other side of the world. The movie is an unexpectedly hilarious and endearing Bollywood adaptation, complete with large choreographed song and dance numbers. Although primarily in english, the film also has lines of Punjabi and Hindi dialogue in it, adding to an even more authentic feel. It’s definitely by far the most entertaining adaptation I’ve seen.

Images from IMDb

Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in the BBC Miniseries

Image via Fanpop

Austen meant for Mr. Darcy indeed to be Elizabeth’s match in every way, but she let him fall into that role at the same pace she finally realizes she’s in love with him. Of all the adaptations I’ve seen, no one has played Mr. Darcy quite like British actor Colin Firth in the BBC Miniseries. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that when I watched this, I thought that Mr. Darcy was, well, a total dreamboat.


Book Covers

Over the years the book’s contents have been adorned with many covers, each with its own sensibility that represented the time. Two of my favorite renditions are one that was published in the same century as it was released, and one that was released in the last year.

Via Rooke Books

The “Peacock Edition,” with illustrations by Hugh Thomson, was published in 1895. Its richly gilded cover is evocative of the Victorian period.

Via Brain Pickings

The Penguin Drop Cap edition is a series of classics with covers designed by Graphic Designer Jessica Hische, based on her now-famous Daily Drop Cap blog. “A” is for Austen, and the peacock feather flourishes on the letter give a nod to its predecessor, the Thomson edition.

Book Scarf

Image from Etsy shop Storiarts

Now if you love Pride and Prejudice just about as much the couples in the book love each other, then this scarf could be the perfect manifestation of your love for the book. The circle scarf features passages from the book printed on a circular scarf, and the rows of text make an interesting pattern. This could be a perfect gift for that literature major or librarian friend.


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As Dashing as Downton

Were you as excited as I was for Downton Abbey’s season 3 premiere on Sunday? 7.9 million Americans tuned in and frankly, it’s the only thing that some of my friends can talk about.

Imege: Gregory Han

I’m really not surprised that Downton has become such a hit. In addition to the often scandalous plots, every frame is a feast for the eyes, filled with luscious Edwardian fashion and décor.

Image: Tulle & Trinkets

Image: What the Frock

Fashion blogs have exploded with posts on how to incorporate little touches from the Teens and Twenties for a retro yet forward-thinking wardrobe inspired by Lady Mary, Edith, and Sybil.

Image: The English Room

And don’t think that designers haven’t taken note of the fashionistas’ interest in vintage. Don’t believe me?

Image: My Grace

Image: Fab Sugar

Take a look at Ralph Lauren’s Fall 2012 collection. He readily admits that he is a fan of the show and both his couture gowns and menswear-inspired separates clearly reflect its influence.

Image: Haute Indoor Couture

The Abbey is also starting to influence the interior design world. While no one is recommending the over-the-top decadence of Edwardian décor, the addition of a few key pieces can be quite chic.

Image: 47 Park Avenue

I adore this Edwardian Sheraton mahogany dentist’s cabinet placed in 47 Park Avenue’s dressing room. It has the exquisite craftsmanship characteristic on the period and balances the otherwise stark modernism of the room.

Image: fanpop!

Authentic Edwardian furniture can be hard to find (and incredibly pricey).  Thankfully, furniture designers are also getting caught up in the excitement and producing knock-offs and modern interpretations.

Image: Anthropologie

I can just imagine moping like Mary in Anthropologie’s Marjorie Chair, though it would be difficult to stay sad with such a perky colour choice. There’s nothing old-fashioned about this cheerful terra cotta!

Image: Living in Color

If investment pieces aren’t in your budget, consider a trip back in time via local antique or thrift shops. Small antique perfume bottles, vases, and other trinkets will help to instill your space with a little Edwardian glamour. And don’t forget colour! Living in Color finds some Downton-appropriate hues in the Benjamin Moore Historical Colour series, while Gregory Han mimics the manor with Farrow and Ball paints.

Image: Your 4 Walls

It seems like almost every inch of Highclere Castle, where Downton Abbey is filmed, is covered in Damask wallpaper. However, in less grand settings this choice can look dowdy. Unless, of course, you pick a thoroughly modern palette; then it just looks awesome.

Are you in love with Downton? Enough to embrace Edwardian in your personal style? I’d love to hear about your take on this trend.


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How to Shop for Vintage Clothing

Vintage green gown1960’s gown from Wild Honey Pie Vintage

The allure of vintage clothing comes from nostalgic associations with bygone eras, but there are also a number of practical reasons why vintage is so popular.  Vintage clothing was often made out of better materials and was also often better constructed than what you’ll find on the racks today. There is also something remarkable about finding a piece of clothing that feels like it was made for you and knowing that someone else may have worn and loved it. I’ve put together a mini guide on what to look for (and look out for) when shopping for vintage clothes. Hope you enjoy!

rack of vintage dressesvintage dresses via love it a lot

Keep an Eye out for Reproductions

The type of fabric used, and the labels on a garment, are the best indicators of age. Style can sometimes be misleading because certain styles and patterns have come into vogue in multiple decades. If you see care instructions on the label that lists instructions for washing, drying or bleaching etc. you can safely assume that the garment was made post 1970’s. Also, certain synthetic fabrics like polyester, lycra and others weren’t used until the later part of the twentieth century. A plastic zipper means that a garment was made in the 1960’s or later.

red mod dressRed Mod Dress from Dorothea’s Closet

Know your Measurements

A 1950’s size six dress will often be an entirely different size than a current size six. If you can’t try a piece on (if you’re shopping online for example) try and get as detailed measurements from the seller as possible. Using a fabric measuring tape take your own measurements and see how they compare. It’s not a foolproof way to get a perfect fit, but it will certainly help.

20' Flapper Dress1920’s flapper dress from Veronica

Take Care

As many textiles age they become weaker and are more liable to be damaged by cleaning or storing them in the wrong way. Take extra special care with vintage clothing; research how to clean and store each piece.  For extra special or delicate items it may be worth talking to someone who specializes in clothing preservation.

vintage mens wear

Act Quickly

In my experience there is a certain amount of buyer’s remorse when it comes to collecting vintage. There are the pieces you bought because you fell in love with them, but you never quite work up the nerve to wear, and then there are the pieces that you let slip through your fingers and still think of from time to time. My motto when in comes to vintage is ‘if you love it buy it’ because if you don’t, someone else will.

Adore Vintage StudioAdore Vintage Studio via Apartment Therapy

Take Advantage of a Shop Owner’s Expertise

A well curated vintage shop is truly a wonder to behold, with so many eras and styles represented in just one place. Buying from a reputable vintage shop, whether it’s online or brick and mortar, means the shopkeeper is likely to be very knowledgable and passionate about vintage clothing. Feel free to ask questions about a piece you are interested in, and don’t be afraid to ask them to make recommendations; most of the vintage shop keeper’s I’ve met are happy to play dress-up.

vintage shoesimage via Dear Golden

Well-Heeled

When buying vintage shoes there are a few things to keep in mind, especially if you are buying online. Older women’s styles often have narrower widths than what you might be used to. Take full measurements of your foot and compare to the seller’s measurements. Also, pay special attention to the heels of shoes, as that is where you are most likely to see signs of wear. Replacing the heels on an older pair of shoes may prove more difficult than a newer shoe.

Here’s a little vintage fashion treat for you. Some great examples here of 1930’s fashion styles, and I love the prim and proper voice over.

Happy Friday Everyone!


Posted in Fashion

It’s a Masquerade

venetian maskVenecian Mask via the visual vamp

Halloween prep is in full swing here at our house. Costumes have been found, decorations are up and we’re only waiting on the pumpkin carving and trying not to devour all the halloween candy too early. To get us all in the Halloween spirit I thought we could look at handmade masks today that range from the macabre to the magnificent. Who’s ready for a masquerade party?

Japanese Noh MaskJapanese Noh Mask 2images via asiateatro

Masks have a place in many cultures and are used in entertainment, religion and celebrations. The Japanese Noh masks are carved out of wood and are an integral element of a traditional form of musical theatre.  The craftsmanship of these wonderful masks is impressive, as is their ability to terrify or amuse an audience.

fox maskPaper Mache Fox Mask by Jevgenia Masks

This curious fox mask is made out of paper mache by Latvian artist Yevgenia Kilupe. Her masks have such character and are lovely enough to hang on the wall when you’re through with halloween.  Making a mask out of paper mache or plaster isn’t difficult if you want to try it yourself. Here are two good tutorials for paper and plaster.

cardboard masksCardboard Zodiac Masks by Ivar Theorin via Mad Blog

These cardboard Chinese Zodiac masks  were made by Ivar Theorin for the Museum of Art and Design in New York. Visitors to the museum studio were encouraged to try on the masks and I love how fun the resulting photos are. This tiger mommy is kind of awesome.

Leather Masquerade MaskLeather Masquerade Mask by Osborne Arts

Osborne arts makes leather masks that are all handcrafted in Michigan; their masks are dyed, painted, tooled and sculpted by hand. Whether you’re looking to be mysterious or spooky, these masks will provide the ultimate finishing touch to your costume.

metal mask sculpturemask by Dale Dunning

Dale Dunning’s metal mask sculptures  are true works of art. This one is made of steel machine screws and bronze and is entitled Sortirical Maze. Some of his other masks have been made out of moveable type. His work is hauntingly beautiful, although probably too heavy and large to wear.

Wizard of Oz masksWizard of Oz Printable Masks by Chelsea Ann

If you find yourself short a Halloween costume on October 31st, or if you just want something special for everyday dress-up these printable Wizard of Oz masks are the easiest way to transform yourself into Dorothy, the Tinman or the Cowardly Lion. Also, these would be fantastic for an Oz themed birthday party.

Happy Friday Everyone!


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