No New Clothes Challenge
The challenge to not buy new clothes for a year is saving one woman a lot of money, but it's also creating memories with a fashionista from the past.
Ashley Small inherited all of her grandmother Virginia's clothing. Right away she noticed her 99-year-old grandmother's style was something she could make her own.
"A lot of her clothing is comfort, the fabric is nice, so it has longevity. I feel like she had an effortless, casual fashion and I really appreciate that," said Small.
Then, Ashley decided to do something that sounds impossible, she is not going to buy any new clothes for an entire year! She has been able to use some of the clothing -- as is.
"Like this ensemble here. This is a skirt that I just hiked up and put a belt on a turned it into a dress," said Small.
But for other outfits, Ashley teamed up with seamstress and friend, Joy Massingill, to create new looks. "I get compliments all the time," said Small, "People are like where that blouse? And I'm like this actually was my grandmothers. So that's probably been the major response, that I've been able to keep a wardrobe that looks fresh and people are responding, too."
First, a hot pink dress that had 'grandma' written all over it. It's long sleeved, oversized and outdated. But not for long!
"We took the sleeves off to make it sleeveless and then we took it in on the sides so it's more fitted.We cut eight inches off the bottom," said Joy Massingill, seamstress.
"It's so me," said Small, "It's fun, it's bright, it's flirty. I just love everything about it, it's flirty and fun!"
With a few simple changes and by adding a belt, the pink dress takes on an entirely new look. Joy also made a matching pink hair bow to go with it.
"Whenever you go bring in your garment to the seamstress ask for the leftover pieces of fabric so you can make little accessories, little fabric bows, roses, headbands," said Joy.
Now, how many of you have an old pair of capris or pants laying around that you don't wear anymore? What about making them into something more versatile?
"I'm not really into capri's right now," said Small. "I do like shorts, a nice pair of shorts to put on."
The capri's quickly went from frumpy and plain to sassy and short!
"We cut them off and made them shorts and then added some velvet to the bottom and then we added pockets," said Joy.
"I think the shorts are fun. They are probably my favorite piece," said Small. "I like the idea of pairing them with some boots, long sleeved blouse or even an oversized sweater."
And, a dated silk skirt is a beautiful color of light blue, but the thought of wearing it like this made Ashley blue!
"I believe my grandmother actually made it. A lot of the items, if you look at them, I believe she may have made it herself, because there is no label," said Small.
With a few additions, this silk skirt is now a one of a kind dress!
"We pulled it up and made it a dress," said Joy. "And we just added some extra ribbon that we had laying around and made unique criss-cross straps."
"I really envision myself wearing it to one of these nighttime events, social events," said Small. "I like that it's very wearable for many events, very functional!"
These new, fresh and fun looks are made from clothing from decades ago. They are all clothing transformations that are saving Ashley big bucks.
"Ballpark, can save in the whole entire year anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000," said Small. "Because I spend a lot."
But in the end, Ashley says it's not just about the money.
"I do think when you are challenged and you don't have a choice but to work with what you have in your closet you get pretty creative," said Small. "A lot of it comes from the creative corner in my brain. I think if grandma Virginia saw me wearing her clothes, she'd be very proud and surprised. I don't imagine that she knew what her clothes had the potential to do, that her wardrobe could be passed on. I think my grandmother would be very proud."
If you have old clothing you would like to turn into something new, here are some of Joy's tips for working with a seamstress:
- Have an open relationship with your seamstress. Bring along pictures from magazines or drawings to show what you like in clothing. Bounce ideas off each other so you can come up with something you truly love.
- Discuss a budget - make sure you both agree from the start how much the services will cost.
- Expect to pay a deposit
- Expect several fittings
- If you change your mind mid-way through the project - speak up!
- Bring along shoes to try on with the outfit