Dressed for: Making it Work

Already Pretty outfit featuring paisley shirt, pleated skirt, maroon pumps

Paisley shirt, thrifted – similar
Pleated skirt, Banana Republic via eBaysimilar
Pumps, Tsubo Amset courtesy Tsubo (no longer available) – similar
Bracelet, repurposed vintage – similar
Earrings, Quince – similar

I thrifted this shirt several months back and I SWEAR it fit when I did … but now it seems a bit loose. So I cuffed the sleeves and knotted the tails and just about made it work. But I may need to find it a more appropriate home than my closet. As Allie recently pointed out, sometimes the philosophy of “make it work” just doesn’t … work.

Are you ever willing to “make” something work? Or do you avoid or cast off items that need special styling?

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  • Kenzie

    If I can put it into a couple of outfits I like, to me it’s worth it.

    Or if the DIY is simple – like I have a dress right now that needs the straps shortened about an inch to avoid showing my entire cleavage to the world, that’s worth the effort. Then again, I’m the girl who saved a sweater with holes in the seams for four years until I finally got around to learning how to sew. If I like something, I’ll do anything to make it work. My roommate was very confused recently to find a pair of my flats in the freezer with bags of ice in them to stretch them. This was an $8 pair of payless flats. I get a little too invested in pieces I like.

    I guess my thing is, why buy something new if you can go Tim Gunn on something old?

    • Anneesha

      Tell me about stretching shoes in the freezer!? I’m so curious.

      • Kenzie

        Fill giant ziplocs with water, put them in the shoes, stick in the freezer till the ice freezes and since water expands as it solidifies, it expands the shoes. Then put the shoes on immediately after you take the ice out and wear them around for a couple hours so they don’t shrink back as they warm up.

  • I adore that skirt. Sometimes I have pieces that I have made work, sometimes I can’t see what in the world I was thinking when I bought something. The entire bottom half of my outfit today is full of WTF pieces, but I think they all work together. Trying on a piece with all sorts of pairings can sometimes reinspire. If I can’t pull together a handful of potentials, back to donation it goes.

  • The tiny pleats on that skirt are soooooo pretty! If I already own something that doesn’t fit great, I’ll try to sew/layer/tie it to make it work. But I’ve finally learned not to buy things that need too much tweaking!

  • leah

    Don’t re-home it, it’s gorgeous. Sometimes a bit of looseness is a good thing – the more relaxed fit of the shirt gives the outfit a bit of nonchalant elegance and tempers the rigid lines of the sunray pleats perfectly!

  • Kate K

    I think you more than made this work, Sal! I love the entire look and the shirt looks perfect.

  • I have a great tailor. (If anyone in NYC is looking for one, it’s Jean at Ghost Tailor on West 27th.)

  • Kaitlin

    I think it looks lovely! It totally “works”! It would be adorable styled the same way but with some capri pants.It would also look really cute under a sweater vest or graphic t. And you could always wear it as is, a little too big, as a swimsuit coverup! That’s be really cute.

  • I love this outfit. At least in this picture, the shirt looks fashionably loose, not ill-fitting. (But I can understand if you wouldn’t want to tie the waist every time you wore it.)

  • LOVE this color combo, Sally! So beautifully put together!

  • That skirt is so lovely!! Depending on the garment, I will make it work.

  • Anne

    Well, I routinely have most of my pants hemmed, I have to have about half of them taken in at the waist, having a few darts put in a shirt doesn’t phase me much. If I really like a garment, and I think the quality is good, then I will have it altered if I can. That said, I am just now learning to let go of things that aren’t going to work or are too costly to have altered.

    You look lovely and the skirt looks like the twirly kind…my favorite.

  • If you’re looking for a new home for the shirt, send it my way…I love it! Of course, you’d have to send the skirt along, too, since it’s such a good match. I’ll pay the shipping! 😉

  • I think it looks great on you like that! Not every blouse needs to fit as tightly, I bet this one would look fabulous worn with jeans and a white tee, with this blouse left open and cuffed like in this outfit.

  • Patrice

    I agree with Leah – that shirt looks totally at ease on you! I have a pleated cream chiffon skirt that I thrifted and have been looking for styling inspiration. When I saw your photo, I thought, “Oh! That’s a great look”, so I was surprised when I read you were considering giving your shirt a new home.

  • after decades of ‘making it work’ due to lack of funds, i’m now only acquiring pieces that Work For Me. In fact, this is a recent mantra that popped into my head – clothing lives in our closets upon our own sufferance, we don’t have to twist and pretzel ourselves to please our clothes.

    How is it only wearing clothing that i love every which way, that fits and flatters and doesn’t take anything but throwing on to make me look and feel great?

    It’s fantastic, that’s how it is! steph

    • Becky

      “we don’t have to twist and pretzel ourselves to please our clothes” — I love this thought! I have a tiny closet, so every piece that needs special effort to work drains the energy and space that I could devote to something that makes me happier.

      It took getting over a scarcity mentality for me. I would think, “oh, I’m never going to find such a flattering print again, I’d better buy this even though it’s a little tight. I’m sure I’ll lose weight over the summer.” Now I’ve changed my thinking to, “this print is gorgeous, I need to keep an eye out for something similar that fits better.”

      • Thank you Becky! i also live in a smaller place, hubby and i hope to live in a very small space (500 sq ft or less) someday, so this is always on my mind.

        “…“this print is gorgeous, I need to keep an eye out for something similar that fits better.”” Wonderful! That scarcity bugaboo can really bite a person in the be – hind, you’ve come up with some wise thoughts on how to leave it behind, instead 😉 steph

  • That skirt is awesome!

  • Mel

    What??? I was so surprised when you said you didn’t like the look. And here I was, thinking oh! what a cute outfit! That loose fitting shirt is the perfect counterpoint to the skirt!

    Goes to show you, what do I know! 🙂

  • chrissandra

    My philosophy has become “I don’t have outfits, I have clothes.” I really have tried to move in the direction of having things that will work together, which for me has been part of moving towards a simpler life that is less about consuming and having stuff. Something that has to be tweaked doesn’t justify it’s hanger space for me, buying it, storing it, maintaining it, figuring out how to style it, seems like too much of a drain on my resources. That being said, I ineveitably end up with at least a few pairs of pants that need a little tweaking, I am always so pleased to find ones that actually fit.

  • Jan

    Sal, you look amazing!

  • Allie W

    I love this skirt. LOVE THIS SKIRT.