January 31, 2011


(cartoon from wobblygoggy)


While much of what you see on the hipster kids of midtown these days is nothing more than a played out remix of their parents fashions, a few shining stars have me double taking as I cruise down J street. Born of neccesity, young fashionistas with a flair for the creative find ways to turn ordinary jeans, t-shirts and well everything in their wardrobe into one of a kind pieces that leave even the biggest label wh*res wishing they were that cool. What these taste making twenty somethings remind me of is that no matter what level of means you have at your disposal, style is always more fun if you make your look your own. In the photos below I will show you a few easy examples of how to tweak some basic items to get a one of a kind look without the one of a kind price.

- brother

PATCH IT. These are Deisel Jeans I bought on sale back in 2002 for $65.00. At the time they were dark denim without a single hole or even a scuff. The shredding you see is actually natural ware from two years of being washed on a ribbed stone called a pila during my stint in Nicaragua. While your worn out jeans might not be quite so jacked up, what really makes these pants cool is the underlayer of patchwork connecting several washes of denim. Any seamstress or dry cleaning person can help you achieve the same thing for about $10.00 a patch. Want the shredded look? Take an electric sander to your jeans and go to town. Before you know it, the fibers will start to separate. Achieve a similar yet less destructed look by patching over the top of your jeans like the image below. I would try using patches as close to the original denim to get a a structured look without looking like a hobo. 
Top patches on Jeans by Cheap Monday by David Z. 

LINE IT! This example is as obvious as I'd take this idea, but it was the best way to illustrate the point. Basic items can easily be upgraded by adding a lining with a pop of color or luxury. Here I took a $2.00 silk scarf I found at Good Will, laid it out in the direction I wanted within the inside of my J-Crew Hoodie. Once I had it covering the space the way I wanted, I turned in the edge and used a simple over under hand stitch to secure the scarf to the inside perimeter of the hood. Once the perimeter was complete I did a single stitch on the center back of the hood to keep the lining from puffing out, and boom - my lining was complete. You can apply this same simple concept to the underside of a jacket lapel or collar, the underside of your jeans cuff or really anywhere. Try varying colors or textures to give less or more bold effect. Lined items are usually quite expensive, but doing it yourself will give you the same luxury at a fraction of the cost, and an item that no one else will have. 

PAINT IT! A little fabric paint can go a long way. Take for example the above T-shirt I found on Etsy. I love mono-chromatics and in particular i'm into detailing simple items with interesting designs in the same color pallet. The white on white concept gives a barely their nuance that is just noticeable enough to be cool. Get this effect by laying out your shirt flat and boxing out a space on the shirt with masking tape. Within the box apply strips of masking tape in rows, leaving about a half inch of space between each piece of tape. Apply fabric paint to the entire area within the box and let dry. Once it is dry remove the tape and enjoy your design. I like using paint to mimic stitches along the seam of my t-shirts, or to create simple stripes at the edge of my sleeve. When adding touches with paint, less is always more. Don't go Painting a mural on your booty - please. 

Jeans always look funky with some paint splattered on them too. JCrew actually sold paint splattered jeans quite succesfully for a while there. For a really urban and funky look take a pair of skinny jeans in black and paint the entire pair with house paint of your color. Hang the jeans on a line to dry overnight. Once dry put the jeans on and run a round a bit. The paint will start to crack, some even falling off and the result will be a crackled, layered funky effect. For a really beaten up look, take a chain to the pair and go to town. Rock them out with a simple t-shirt and boots or pair it with a button up and tie. 
The J Crew Painted Jean

POP IT! Add color. That's it. These Converse boots came with black rounded laces. I switched them out with these blue athletic laces and suddenly they look more urban and fun than military expected. Try doing the same with buttons. Take your basic white oxford button up and switch out all or some of the buttons with a different color and style of your choice. They effect is subtle but just enough to set you apart. Another favorite slight adjustment you can make is with colored thread. You DO NOT need to know how to sew to do any of this. Take a bright colored thread and simply loop it around the edge of your seam. Apply this to some or all of the garment for a contrasting look. This project is so easy and can be done in minutes in front of the tv. Your boring t-shirt will instantly become one of your favorites, I guarantee it. 

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