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Altered State: 70s Orange Plaid Dress

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The more I try to blog regularly, the more I drop the ball! Now it’s been over a year since I’ve posted here! I’m going to try to do things differently in 2019, I promise.

I’ve owned this dress for a few years, but I think I only wore it once, despite loving the colors and off-kilter plaid print. It really just came down to the fact that the sleeves were several inches too short (a common problem I have with vintage garments). They also didn’t cuff well, so that workaround wasn’t going to cut it.

Instead I decided to give it short sleeves! I considered a few ways to do that, and eventually landed on a cuffed look with machine stitching. A pretty simple alteration that I did on a Sunday afternoon, but it makes all the difference. Now I can wear this dress! And I already have: these photos were taken after I’d worn it to work all day (with more sensible boots and a cardigan to protect me from my freezing office, of course)!

Sometimes the simplest alteration is all you need to make something perfect for you…

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Altered State: Teal Dress with a Bright Floral Print

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I immediately fell in love with the colors on this dress when I saw it, but I hesitated to buy it since it was covered in stains. I'm pretty confident in my stain-removing abilities when it comes to polyester (hot water + OxiClean = miracles). The problem was that this isn't polyester and I also wasn't 100% sure what the fabric content was. Cotton, some kind of cotton blend, something else entirely? Anyway, the price was low enough that I said 'fuck it' and gave it a go. 

I'm glad I did because it cleaned up with almost no effort! OxiClean saved the day without making those amazing bright colors run! (*insert Billy Mays here*)

The next issue was the length. The hem hit right across my knees in the most awkward and unflattering way. Another easy fix! I did a quick snip and hem and made it into a cute mini. I was already in love with the rest of the dress (those sleeves!), so all-in-all this was a pretty simple alteration.

I actually styled it a few ways before landing on this look - which is by far my favorite. I recently found this vintage felt hat for $1 (it was dirty and beat up) and did my first hat restoration project ever. It's nice to be able to show it off! The boots were a DIY project I decided to try. They started out as thrifted black boots and I spray painted them silver. I just haven't been able to find the perfect pair of silver boots, so I took matters into my own hands. So many projects in one outfit!

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Altered State: Striped Tent Dress

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So back in 2015 I discussed my feelings on how a dress can be shapeless OR long, but not both at the same time (at least on me!). Still, if I find a print I love, I'm probably going to buy it even if it doesn't fit my rules as-is. This dress was another perfect example! Bold jewel tones like this immediately grab me every time, and the stripe and square print is just so cute! The dress itself had some problems though: long, shapeless, AND weird sleeves. 

I'm honestly not sure what was up with those sleeves originally. Were they supposed to be full-length long sleeves or were they actually supposed to have the button cuff hit at mid-forearm. I have an ongoing problem with vintage long sleeves being too short on me so it could be either! Regardless, something needed to change. At first I thought about losing the sleeves completely so that I could layer bright blouses underneath, but that would've also involved changing the neckline. I just wasn't up for that (and kind of like the original neckline). So I cut the cuffs off instead! That actually ended up giving me a fairly wide sleeve that makes a lot more sense visually.

Then, of course, there was the length. Snip, hem, and done - I have a mini dress! Add bright tights, suede boots, and a leather vest and you've got a bold, colorful outfit!

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Altered State: Pink Tie Neck Dress

This alteration was super simple. I loved the colors on this dress, but it was just so frumpy as is. Easy fix...shorten the sleeves and the hem! Now it feels like the perfect end of summer dress, especially when paired with a straw hat and sunglasses!

I already know exactly how to style it for fall too. The cooler weather will be here before we know it and so will the teal tights and knee high brown boots that I plan to throw on with this. :)

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Altered State: Pink & Orange Plaid Dress

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This was a fun one! I haven't taken on a alteration this complex in a while, and it felt really good to transform that hideous, shoulder padded monstrosity into a cute little dress.

In all honesty, this is the kind of dress I usually pass up. Awkward length, shapeless, and weird shoulder pads. Not usually a recipe to make me buy, but it was a dollar and I have a bit of a thing for bright pink and orange together, so I went for it. Plus the pintuck bodice is so cute! 

Obviously the first step was snipping out the shoulder pads. Pretty easy. Then I decided to take the sleeves off all together. At first that was because I wanted it to be really summery, but I quickly realized it could work well as a jumper in cooler weather too. I do love versatility! Because of the jumper idea, I decided not to take the bodice in quite as close fitting as I originally planned. Just enough to make it more my size while leaving room for layers underneath. The final step was snipping off the length and hemming it up. I have a rule about loose fitting dresses having to be short. It's just one of those weird rules I made up for myself along the way. I mean, loose longer dresses work on other people, I just think they look really weird on me!

So that it! I threw on a white blouse with a crazy 70s collar, some mint tights, and a flower pin that reminds me of a fried egg, and there's a springtime outfit! I can't wait to remix it with sandals and fun jewelry for summer!