Friday 5: Five Crazy Easy DIY Updates for Your F/W Wardrobe Using Just a Pair of Scissors

For a girl on a budget, this season's trends are super exciting because a lot of them can easily be recreated using just a pair of scissors and some items you probably already have hanging in your closet! If you like a neatly finished product, you're going to want to use perhaps a few more items and a few more steps. But if quick and easy is the name of the game, you can go ahead skip them. Just grab your scissors and start cutting!

1. The Car Wash Skirt

Car wash skirts were everywhere on the F/W 2015 runways. They look great layered over a slip skirt, tights, or on their own. If you have an old pencil skirt hanging in your closet that has really lost its luster, snipping a few car wash panels is a great way to give it a fun trendy update!

All you need for this DIY is really a pair of scissors and an unlined pencil skirt. To make your panels precise, simply measure around the hem of your skirt and mark in even increments. If you are using a knit skirt, something with stretch, like jersey, you won't need to finish the edges where you've cut. However, if you are using a woven skirt, something without stretch, like cotton twill, you will probably want to finish the edges with a serge stitch or a seam sealant like Fray Check.


starter skirt  |  inspiration skirt by Tibi

scissors  |  marking pencil  |  ruler  |  seam sealant


2. The Sleeveless Coat Vest

With the rise of 70s fashion comes a natural trend toward the long duster vest. This style is a perfect complement to a turtleneck and flares, works well over a skirt for the office, and can even be layered over other coats, like a black moto jacket, for an interesting twist.

This is an easy look to replicate with a thrift store coat or one whose sleeves are an inch or so too short (hello, my life). For a quick fix DIY, simply cut off the sleeve at the shoulder seam and finish with some seam sealant. Or, to correctly finish the alteration (if you're into that kind of thing), you can cut the sleeve off a few inches below the shoulder seam and follow this great tutorial at ...Love Maegan.


starter coat  |  inspiration coat by Rag & Bone

scissors  |  needle  |  thread  |  seam sealant


3. The Turtleneck Choker

Just like me on every elementary school picture day, this season has been all about one neckline: the turtleneck. But this trend isn't just for sweaters anymore. Seen all over the Fall 2015 runways, the turtleneck choker/dickie/scarf (whatever you want to call it), served as a cozy accessory to everything from sweaters to slinky dresses.

To recreate this trend yourself, you can easily cut the neck or sleeve off of any old sweater. But I especially like the idea of using a pair of stretch tights or leggings for a no-sew, 90's-era version of this trend. You will want to cut nearly double the width to allow the ends to fold and turn under as they will naturally want to do. Because the stretch material won't fray, you don't even need to take any extra steps for finishing, unless of course you need something to help stretch it out! Choker is not meant to be taken literally. ;)


starter leggings  |  inspiration choker look by Tome

scissors  |  measuring tape


4. The Uneven Hem Jeans

A lot of the DIY denim practices I used in my teenage days are back in fashion. One of my favorite versions of DIY denim as of late is the raw, uneven hem like on this pair of Vetements jeans or like the DIY I version I saw (and loved) on Honestly WTF. For petite girls, it's a perfect excuse to cut the hem of your jeans. And for the rest of us, it's a fresh denim update that will really show off your cold weather booties.

To create this look, simply cut the sewn hem from a pair of relaxed or straight cut jeans. Then cutting right inside of the side seams and inseams, cut up another two inches (or however long you prefer) and straight across the front to create the shorter front hem. Use your fingers to pull some strands for a frayed look. If you're not great at eyeballing lengths, you can measure and mark for precision.


starter jeans  |  inspiration jeans by Vetements

scissors  |  fabric marker  |  seam gauge


5. The Cropped Western Boot

Cowboy boots are a classic, they're never really "out of style." But unless you are out roping cattle for a living, they can also be pretty tricky to work into your wardrobe without looking like Jessica Simpson in her Daisy Duke days. Cue the crop! A shorter version, either in bootie or mule form, takes the most ornate, traditional western boot and makes in modern and urban.

This is the perfect makeover for that pair of hard-to-wear boots collecting dust in your closet. How to go about the actual cutting will depend on your boot. You can either trim along the natural seam lines or simply snip straight across. I like the look of the imperfect raw hem, but if you want a more finished look you can always clean up the cut with a needle and thread or some strong fabric glue.


starter boots  |  inspiration boots by Donald & Lisa

needle  |  thread  |  fabric glue


What do you think? Do these DIY style updates make "the cut"?


The Great Budget Home Office Makeover: The Dismal Before Pic + Inspiration

I have been talking about making over my "office" for such a long time. Office is in quotes because by office I really mean the 4 feet of space in my living room where my computer lives. And when I tell you this space needs a makeover, I really mean it. The irony (and possibly hypocracy) involved in writing about style and great design from a space whose style can best be described as "boy's dorm room junk" is becoming too much to take. You see I'm plagued by a serious disease (please hear the over-dramatic undertone in this post). It's basically whatever the opposite of hoarding is... which, btw, I just googled this second and it is apparently called Spartanism. Who knew? Anyway, when I moved in with my fiance I got rid of way too many things. I was just planning to get new pieces, and by planning, I mean being delusional about the budget required to refurnish your home.

So anyway, here I am, blogging from a peeled paint desk circa 1972 with a missing knob that was literally being thrown out when my fiance adopted it. Consider it among its supporting cast, his actual dorm room rug and chair from way too long ago, and we've got a much needed makeover on our hands!




Oh my gosh, I can't believe I just posted that online. Not exactly a glamorous picture, is it? The problem is, as much as I want to decorate the space, it's definitely not in the budget to get new furniture and large scale art. Cue the great $150 DIY plan (drumroll, pleeeeeease).....



I threw this little mock up together on Photoshop. And really, even if you don't use Photoshop at all, I would totally recommend this method (even cutting things out of a magazine) for deciding on a room design. I was having such a hard time picking a color scheme, an era, etc. I was feeling the pressure for it to be cohesive, but once I just threw all the things I liked together, with no intention of matching or being "designed," I found that I really liked the end product.

So here's the (tentative) plan:

+ RUG: I've been really obsessing over African mudcloth and I realized that with some paint and a lot of patience, I could update the existing dorm-era rug into something I will hopefully love! Estimated cost: paint ($7) and fabric protector ($7)= $14

+ CHAIR & THROW: I had my heart set on a ghost chair, but this little gem from Ikea is only $19.99, so as long as it's not completely uncomfortable, I'm sold! Topped with this gray faux sheepskin, only $12.99 also at Ikea and I'm a happy girl. Cost: $33

+ DESK: Okay, this one depends on a whole lot of good luck. Plan A is to find two thrift store filing cabinets for just $10 each, spray paint them, and top with a cabinet top or wood slab. Since that kind of depends on the thrift store stars aligning, Plan B is to paint the existing desk and add decorative drawer pulls. Estimated cost: filing cabinets ($20), spray paint ($7) and top ($24)= $51

+ ARTWORK: I will be painting my own artwork. I haven't fully committed to an idea yet, though I'm a little obsessed with eye and lip motifs, so those will likely be involved. I'm thinking of having two paintings (on some scrap wood instead of stretched canvas to save money) with a frame surrounding the pieces that I will make from strips of moulding. Estimated cost: wood (hopefully found scraps- $0), moulding ($15), paint (on hand- $0)= $15

+ CLIPBOARDS: This depends on what I can find, but I'm hoping to find very basic clipboards for $2.50 each. Estimated cost: 6 clipboards= $15

+ACCESSORIES: I hope to make gold vases (hopefully hexagon shaped) using copper contact paper and thrift store vases. I also need some sort of paper sorter or magazine holder, but I really don't have any ideas on that yet. Estimated cost: whatever else I can get with the remaining $22

Grand Total: $150


I'll be updating you with progress posts over the next several weeks, so stay tuned! And local friends, if you have any supplies/tools/skills you would like to donate to the cause, I will welcome it all with open arms.


Do you think I can do it?