Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Empire (waist) Strikes Back!

I recently had the following thought. "Dang it! I don't wear nearly enough rhinestones."

I own lots of them, in the form of vintage brooches collected over the years...but honestly, I've never felt - well, like a girl who wears rhinestones. But I saw this fancy frock in the window of a little shop in Seville:

I thought it was so pretty. And I had the abovementioned thought. Dang it, I don't wear enough rhinestones! I wasn't sure what to do with that thought. How would a girl who never wears rhinestones go about such a thing? Especially considering the frock was a size 2 and cost two thousand euros.

Okay, here's the project that came out of this situation. A fashion restyle project, my first ever. And I'm happy to report, it could not be easier.

One of the things that I liked about the frock was the empire waist, and the way the rhinestones defined the bodice.
Since my natural waist has been on holiday for a while (apparently, a long, relaxed, extended holiday in the Bahamas, without wi-fi or cell phone reception, 'cause my waist hasn't been heard from in quite a while!), I do appreciate an empire waist.
Like on this basic cotton top:

Go find yours. Now find a long skinny piece of fabric, because we are going to create a sash. If you sew, you could make a sash from scratch...I just grabbed a scarf.

Here comes the "it could not be easier" part. Take a handful of mismatched rhinestone brooches. And pin them to your sash.

Now tie that sash around the bodice-adjacent area of your empire top. That's all there is to it! Here it is on me...

I like the kitschy fun of it, and I don't feel like I'm "wearing rhinestones" so much as "wearing a vintage-inspired accessory."
That one is closest to the inspiration frock, making it look like the ornament is applied right onto the garment. But there are plenty of other ways to rock a brooch-encrusted-sash. You could wear a contrasting color to make the sash piece stand out:

Instead of rhinestones, you could choose a different theme. Like all one color. How about antique silver on a skinny black sash?

(Confession: the "sash" is a shoelace I bought at the dollar store. Ha!)

How about crazy huge flowers on a denim belt?

You could also tie it over a big shirt for a casual effect:

Those are just examples - you could do so many combinations and looks with this technique. Invent your own unique sash and brooch confection.

When I showed the rhinestone piece to my stylish sis-in-law, she pointed out what would be obvious to anyone with a waist: this is a belt as well as a bodice-hugger. She suggests pairing it with a 50's-vintage, Mad Men-style dress. Of course. (Thank you, Bec!) I don't have a vintage dress handy, but I hope this kind of gives the idea...

Hey, one more observation, then I'm done. W
hen you're not wearing it, your encrusted sash can be a way to display your favorite brooches, handy to find individual pins for other outfits.

Okay, that's it. Maybe some of you will give this a try. Maybe even some of you who never wear rhinestones?


  1. Visiting from Tea Rose Home and I have to say that I L.O.V.E. this idea!!!!! Thank you so much for the inspiration!!! -Kelsee

  2. Oh my goodness, that is GENIUS!!!!! Thanks so much for linking up at Gettin' Crafty on hump day! :)

  3. What a great idea! I love it! I am so glad you stopped by www.potholesandpantyhose and commented about my apron skirt. I love finding new and crafty blogs!

  4. Oh, that's super cool!! I'm over from PonyTails, and love your creative idea! I especially like it over the big causual shirt. Awesomeness!

  5. Most excellent! What a chic and stylish way to kick things up a notch and wear the jewelry that is hidden away. You are clever, girl.

  6. OH, what an idea. I have to confess you almost lost me at the pins on the empire bust line! Nothing I could wrap around me. However, the belt on the blue dress is adorable, love it. Can't wait to try it. I have a large stash of pins from a grandmother and mother that will be perfect. Thanks

  7. Holy moly I LOVE your ideas! I so need some bling to get me out of my "FRUMP-A-LUMPAGUS" Mommy mode..ya know...t-shirts and sweats! Yuck! I'm so going to try something like this!

    P.S. Thanks for stopping by my little blog and commenting on my crazy back splash!

    Have a fantastic weekend!
    Tiffany @ Easie Peasie

  8. I love your blog, and have given you the 'Versatile Blogger Award'! And I've got the doomy envelope, some ideas rolling around... tricks up my sleeve :)


  9. Very cute and creative! Thanks for linking up at PonyTails&FishScales!


  10. LOVE this idea! Thanks for the inspiration! :)

  11. Very nice. I truly like this idea.

  12. genious! Kind regards from Buenos Aires, Argentina