Cutting My Clothes — It's An Addiction

002_002_002__MG_5623Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
The R29 office kitchen is a bustling hub of Paleo-diet discussions, bad coffee-making, and daily snack-hunting escapades. It also happens to be compliment central. Get three people from different departments all making cereal, and I guarantee you'll hear at least two proclamations of outfit adoration. And, we're not flippant or insincere with our flattery. On the contrary. There's a large population of style-conscious individuals here, of course, and, on top of all that admiring, the kitchen is also the perfect place for trend spotting.
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Case in point: A few weeks ago, while in line for the watercooler, I looked down to see associate market editor Willow wearing the perfect pair of skinny denim (she's kind of a jean queen, in my book). The conversation went something like this:
Me: Did you cut your jeans?"
Willow: "Yes! I copied Jess (our managing editor)!"
Me: "This is brilliant! I want to do it, too?"
Willow: "Uh, yes!"
And, that was it.
I promptly went home; found my old pair of perfectly worn-in, high-waisted Gap skinny jeans; and snip-snipped away. Instead of that awkward, twice-rolled, too-thick length, they were ankle-skimming and lovely. For some reason, I'd considered doing it ages before but just couldn't bring myself to take the blade to a pair of non-thrifted pants. And, yet, my lazy-girl alteration felt so good. Satisfying, like when you find that missing earring or finally realize how to style that impossible top.
But, that was just the start.
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I'd bought this divine, structural, white turtleneck from Zara (a real splurge for me) and wore it a mere two times before it needed a little trip to the dry cleaner. Then, disaster struck. My typically trusty cleaners returned it with new stains along the bottom edge. I felt betrayed. And, instead of sensibly storming back and throwing a proper fit (Who has time for that?), I decided that this was a sign from the universe. My Zara splurge was begging to be a crop top. So, snip snip. In mere minutes, it was the perfect mate for all my high-waisted pants and pencil skirts. And, I've been wearing it nonstop ever since.
By then, I thought I'd had my scissor fix. But, the next week, New York decided to turn a positively lovely 28 degrees. Sick of wearing the same black boots I'd been sporting since August, I slipped on my brown, vintage Ferragamos and decided to wear socks with them, as I'd seen our ultra-chic news director, Piper, do before. But, after hemming and hawing and awkwardly lifting my leg up to the mirror (I should really get a full-length one of these days), I decided it was simply not right. Then, I remembered. Snip, snip. It didn't look exactly right, but I sure felt cute in my short, white, grade-school-like socks.
I know, I know — taking the scissors to your clothes is certainly no revolutionary DIY. However, it is intensely freeing in regards to your relationship with your clothing. Hemming is a desirable skill everyone should know, but a raw edge? It's cool, easy, and we all should do it more often.
The same week as the socks incident, I also shrunk my favorite high-waisted jodhpur pants — no doubt, my memoir title will be Shrunk It, Again — but I didn't mourn. And, my hunch is that it has to do with my recent scissor-happy habits. Clothes should have a long and happy life span, and while I'm all about the heirloom piece, we should never hold things as too precious. I say: Live recklessly, and live out those secret Project Runway dreams.
Altered anything yourself recently? Regretted it? Revolutionized your look? Let this girl know.
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