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December 24, 2014

Style upcycled: Rethinking bling makes a fashion statement

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Posted: Sunday, March 30, 2014 1:05 am

Fashion is an industry centered on youth. Want to know the latest trends? Just ask the babysitter who’s wrangling your offspring to pay for college while looking like she jumped straight out of your “dream closet” Pinterest board.

Right now the designer hit list is so youthful it reads more like a baby shower registry. Think Peter-Pan collars, Mary Jane flats, bibs, even onesies (you can thank Miley Cyrus for that one). None of which really scream stylish grown-up.

Luckily, youth is fleeting and so is fashion; what’s “in” this very second will be “out” by the time you finish reading this sentence. So instead of spending a lot of money on trends that can’t be worn next season, invest in the classic and repurpose for the now.

By taking advantage of what is already in your closet, and junk drawer — you know you’ve got one — you can repurpose a few dated items into one-of-a-kind, custom-made accessories and, more importantly, putting use to useless items will finally validate the slight hoarding tendencies you have developed.

Once you’ve successfully repurposed one item, you will feel as though the shabby chic gates of the crafting heavens have been opened and you will never discount anything just lying around again. In other words, you’ll think twice before tossing out your kids’ old art supplies and realize a broken necklace has a much higher calling.

Getting the hang of the whole idea is pretty simple and to help along the way the crafting gods have bestowed upon us a gift, unassumingly called E6000. Do not let the industrial name and look of this adhesive fool you — pageant mothers swear by it for attaching bling to those cupcake dresses. (Hey, if it’s good enough for Honey Boo Boo, right?) In addition to a good adhesive, tweezers are another must-have and then the journey begins.

First up, ballet flats: easy, comfortable and (shhh!) cheap. A few years ago the fashion elite smiled upon the poor souls who have to work for a living and declared these glorified slippers acceptable work attire. Before the footwear charade comes to an end, use what you already have to turn your old, broken-in flats into something brand new.

Use your tweezers to effortlessly pick up and arrange rhinestones or beads from an old piece of jewelry around the rim of the ballet flat. Add as many or as few embellishments as you please. Or it may be more your style to add one large brooch to each toe. Just understand that after it dries, E6000 now owns your brooch and your shoe and will never let go.

Statement necklaces are another accessory that’s so hot right now but in a few years might seem outlandish (think scrunchies). You will look back and wonder why you spent $50 on big, colorful wind chimes to hang around your neck. But today this is what we want so back to the art supplies, namely felt.

Felt is not just for … well, who knows what felt is officially used for, but it makes a great backing for a homemade statement necklace. Tweezers, check. E6000, check. On two separate pieces of felt, trace and cut out a Peter-Pan collar shape. Using your tweezers, cover one piece of felt in embellishments. An old de-stringed strand of pearls works really well. After the felt is covered, attach the second piece, add two lengths of ribbon to the back and tie one on.

That’s right — “tie one on” because now you deserve a drink, at a trendy establishment, wearing your trendy new necklace. So call up the babysitter, and when she asks where you scored such a fabulous find you can reply, “Oh, this old thing? It’s just been lying around the house.”

Find these and other DIY fashion ideas at www.pinterest.com/starfeatures.

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