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.
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.
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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