My Brain is Biased: Will Fix Thrift; Not Fast Fashion?

I wore this to: go to work; listen to annoying people who'd never taken the subway before be annoying the entire local-train ride home (picture: the cast of Dance Party USA )

f21 dress, 2 years-old
aa black tee via beacon's closet
payless flats

I actually hate this dress. For some sicko reason I leave it in my closet anyway. I wear it about once a summer, then think about getting rid of it because of the ill-fitting cut of the top. Until the next summer. Where I think, "Maybe it'll work this time."

The tragedy in this dress is that I like the bow and skirt, but the top is just god-awful. When my mind was wandering away from Dance Party USA-type babble while on the subway (see above), I thought, "Hey, I'll try it as a skirt. Wardrobe Remixers do that all the damn time."

So I did.

Obviously a different shirt would be better than this t-shirt, but something this high-waisted just makes my rack look huge and obscures my natural waist. I'm not a big fan but I'm unsure if it's just that it's outside my comfort zone? The elastic is meant for a ribcage so getting it to fit further down might not be possible. And I'm not sure how much I want a tailor to touch it...since the pattern isn't my favorite. Maybe if I had them fix the elastic to fit lower, make a shorter skirt, keep the bow?


The funny part is that I know I paid about $15-20 for this a few years ago, which makes me less likely to spend another $15 on tailoring. But why does that matter? If I got it at a thrift store, the fact that I'd paid such a low price for something would make me more willing to tailor it.

I am confused as to why my brain doesn't treat a f21 dress and a thrift store dress as the same thing -- when in reality, they're in the same situation. A cheaply-purchased garment that would look better tailored and last longer. Granted, some thrift store items might be better quality and that might be cause for this bias. But not necessarily (I've had some H&M stuff last for years).


  1. I have quite a few H&M pieces that have held up really well, and they are also thrift store pieces. I have a couple of pairs of pants from there which I bought new, but otherwise it's all secondhand.

    I never get anything tailored, more because I am lazy than because I am resistant to paying for alterations to inexpensive clothes.

  2. Hmm - a good rule to go by - if you're going to keep and tailor an item that's just been lingering in the closet - is that there should be at lest one thing that you really love about that item. A unique print, a great detail, etc. If overall the dislikes out weight any likes. I don't keep it.

    I like it how you wore it as a skirt though. I have a dress with the same cut and have thought about wearing it with a lace tank style slip under it. Saw it done in the UO catalog and it looked cute.

  3. I was going to suggest wearing it further down until you said that won't work. So now I'm all out of ideas! Maybe you could wear it like this but wear something over it, untucked, so it wouldn't look like anything high-waisted. Maybe a sweater would be good for that, because it would be thick enough that it would be easier to hide what's going on underneath.

    To me, tailoring depends not on the price I paid, but on the quality of the garment. So whether I got something for $15 on eBay or paid $100 retail, if it's a good garment I'll be willing to invest more in it. If I pay $15 retail, it's usually (although not always) crap fabric and construction and tailoring costs aren't worth it because it will just fall apart in a season anyway.

  4. I have a similar issue with a dress I got as a hand-me-down. It's a style similar to yours, but fits me poorly up top as I am busty and broad shouldered. I think I'm going to cut mine off an just put in a wide band elastic waist. You could do this- put the dress on, get some 4 inch elastic and pin it onto the dress at your natural waist, or where ever it flatters. Then sew it down with a couple rows of stitching and cut off the excess. Or, here's a wierd, no sew idea: put the dress on, braless. Put a smooth bra over the top. Put a slim fitting t-shirt on that ends in a flattering place. Maybe?


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