Thursday, October 8, 2009

DIY Thursday: How to Give an Off-Trend Jacket Fresh New Style

Yesterday, this little number caught my eye in my local Oxfam. For £12/$20 it wasn't exactly a steal, but this is a fair price for an unworn, decently-made little wool jacket that could act as an instant updater for the other old standbys in my closet (plus add a layer to my always-freezing frame).

The biggest problem was its trendiness--back in 2007. The smock cut paired with oversize buttons tacked with cross-hatch stitching: pure Marc Jacobs. In the early noughties he nicked these style markers from the late-1950s (think Lucy Ricardo pregnant with Little Rickie). From his runways the look trickled down through the fashion strata, until every shop in the land featured a variation on the theme.

I'm not enough of a seamstress to change the basic silhouette (plus the volume appealled as an offsetter to skinny jeans and leggings). On the other hand, I could easily do something about those buttons. Off they came, replaced by a Deco-style pair that caught my eye in Aladdin's Cave shop of my local button lady.

Fifteen minutes of sewing time later, the jacket is no longer Marc's by way of some factory in Guangzhou, but mine. I'm having fun introducing it to various fixtures in my closet, like the polka-dot flamenco blouse, which needs toning down, and a classic denim shirt, which could use classing up.

This is a great kind of project if you can sew a button and want to stretch your wardrobe on the cheap. Remember: if a button is making you fashion history, it's the easiest part of a garment to renovate.


  1. I am sew with you on this (sorry!) In fact I have often changed buttons on newly purchased jackets and coats over the years. Even high-end high street buys are often let down by poor quality or not quite on 'trend' buttons. And as you say, it can be an instant update on an earlier year's garment. In the 80s I had a red Harvey Nicks jacket with black velvet collar that I changed from Princess Diana style velvet buttons on front and cuffs to gold military style buttons as the fashion changed. (Although the gold buttons version was much admired by my fashionista friends, my OH did ask if I'd joined the Grenadier Guards!)

  2. Great idea!
    I love anything that involves hand sewing. It's my therapy. I have a great collection of quirky vintage buttons that I need to use in something :-)