In Which the Directrice Borrows Trouble

Since I often show clothes that have been altered or re-purposed — sometimes, significantly — I thought it might be helpful, or at least interesting, to see what these treasures look like before those radical changes are implemented. Here goes!

I like colorful tops to wear underneath jackets and sweaters. Even though they may only be fleetingly visible, a great blouse can add a lot of depth to an outfit. So, I am always on the lookout for interesting things. These two caught my eye on YOOX many months ago, so I put them in my virtual shopping cart to see whether they would go on sale at some point . . . and they did.

Carven Top

Carven Top, which I though would look good with a denim jacket, khakis and purple flats in the fall

MSGM x YOOX "Dress"

MSGM x YOOX “Dress” is clearly too short to be worn as a dress by The Directrice, but would look cute as a top worn with a navy jacket (possibly with a white blouse underneath) and khakis


Not very flattering, you say? This shall never be forgotten

I am not crazy about the way this fits. I am also not crazy about v-necks on myself. I asked my husband what he thought and he said, “Wellll, it’s not very flattering.”
That hardly ends the discussion. More like, it’s an invitation to negotiate. And I don’t mean negotiate with my husband; I mean me negotiating with the blouse and possibly a third-party neutral like the tailor.

What if I turned it around?
Much better.
The very best part of this picture is the cat's tail, in the lower right corner

The very best part of this picture is the Posy’s tail, in the lower right corner

So now I only have two problems: (1) there is a slit down the front (formerly the back) from the neckline to drawstring waist that will lead to indecent exposure if it is not closed; (2) the design features a hem that is longer in the back than the front, but when the blouse is turned around, the hem is longer in the front and that’s a little weird.

Hem = longer in back than front

Hem = longer in back than front

Slit in back (barely visible) would be a problem even if I hadn't turned top around;

Slit in back (barely visible) would be a problem even if I hadn’t turned top around; bra strap is revealed

This is child’s play. The slit is on-seam and can be easily closed. The hem can be fixed in one of two ways: either the front (formerly the back) can be shortened by 2 inches to make the hem even the whole way around or the paisley trim can be removed, rotated 180 degrees, and re-attached so that the back is longer than the front.

Long ties

Long ties

One last detail: long ties are used to gather the drawstring waist. Very long ties. I could have them shortened, but here it’s just easier to tie them in a double-bow.
Remember, no trailing ends!
Double bow

Double bow

The dress is even easier. It only needs to have 10-12 inches cut from the bottom and a new hem. This is a very inexpensive alteration. The skirt (which will soon be a peplum) has stitched down pleats; I may liberate those myself (easy to do with a stitch-remover or a small, sharp pair of scissors) or ask the tailor to do it, or I may just leave them alone. I’ll have to try this dress on with a pair of pants and see how snug or roomy those pleats feel.
Stitch remover

Stitch remover, an essential tool if you like to fiddle with your clothes

If you’ve visited YOOX, you may be aware that MSGM did make a top in this very fabric and you may be wondering why I didn’t just buy the top?

MSGM tee: boxy

The easy road: MSGM tee

The road less traveled: dress-as-top

The road less traveled by: dress-as-top

I bought the dress because it had more shape to it: a defined waist, more graceful sleeves.

So there you have it: a quick glimpse into the circuitous mind of The Directrice.

10 thoughts on “In Which the Directrice Borrows Trouble

  1. This is fascinating to me — thank you for posting. I tailor almost nothing — one of the deal-breakers for me on an item is if it doesn’t fit right off the hanger. This is why, at 5’2″ I don’t generally look beyond the petites section, and have all but given up on second hand finds, which are almost never petite-friendly. But I have read so many fashion bloggers talking about the importance of tailoring that I am starting to question my approach.

    Question(s) for you: how long does this kind of tailoring take? Do you have to put it on at the tailor, have them pin it up and so forth, to do the alterations? And what are the costs like?

    • Hi Bubu — These little jobs are quick and I think most tailors would be able to do the work in a week (actual labor would probably only take 2-3 hours). These alterations are also not the kind that require doffing and donning of clothes because the issue here isn’t fit, but simply adding or redoing seams. I’ll let you know the cost when I pick them up!

  2. I liked this too as someone who does alter my own, sometimes redesigning. I also have fun repurposing or upcycling garments of mine that have fabrics worth recutting. Thanks for the ideas. Kate

    • Hi Philomela — So glad you are enjoying the blog! I had not seen this piece — I think a response is merited, though it may be more in the vein of delving into and soliciting others’ opinions than a full-throated rebuttal.

But what do you think?