In the on-going rivalry between homemade and storebought, homemade wins out nearly every time in my book. Macaroni and cheese? Dude, obviously. I mean, have you had my mac and cheese? It’s fantastic and Kraft is shit. Cookies? Check check homemade. Halloween costumes? Okay. I always wanted the ones from the store but my mom, as usual, was right. They were cheap and always broke before you made it the second block and my brother and I always looked amazing when we went the DIY route.

And I like making/building things with my own two hands. It’s satisfying. And Made By You guarantees One of a Kind. Which is undeniably cool and great and so on.

Here, I’ve put together some easy, no-sew DIY-dress-yourself projects, all culled from unattainably high-end sources.

So look, the prices this Burberry trench at $928 ON SALE. Work the ombre yourself with either dye or bleach, depending on your starting point. Easy peasy. The dress is from Designers Remix and is also on sale but this one goes for EUR 153, which is some higher number in American dollars. I say, if you ever find a lovely silk dress at Goodwill, abandoned there and forlorn because of some unfortunate stain, take it home and splatter wine and/or ink on it. Totally. And instead of spending $600-$1200 on a pair of killer heals, just bling out a cheap(er) pair. You will find both chain and feathers at any craft store anywhere. And don’t overthink it. Hot glue gun. Fun and done. And that clutch? That’s just the awesome.

I am completey annoyed by Marc Jacobs. With few exceptions, what he does for his eponymous lines elicits one of two responses from me: “eh” and “ick.” And this sweater is fine, but for serious, who’s going to pay over $450 for this? You know what else you can get at Micheal’s? Rad, iron-on appliqués for, like, I don’t know, $10 or something. And the breton tee? We’ve already established it’s a ubiquitous basic. Moving on…

Jeans plus paint equals paint-splashed jeans. Duh.

Rope belts! (Really bBelts from anything that can be tied around your waist) Tie dye! More feathers! Wooden beads! Children’s toys!

So what DIY fashion projects have you guys pulled off?

Oh, and is the best source for DIY fashion ideas ever. FYI.


I Would Buy Myself a Gray Guitar and Play

I didn't love it all, but Alexander Wang did grey great for his Spring 2010 show. Deconstruting the American Jock, all gym wear gone couture, Wang continued to show a panache for smart and cool. Here, I love the unexpectedness of the skirt. I think the top would look kick ass with some high-waisted, black, stovepipe pants and chunky, tan heels.

Sartorially, I have been gravitating frequently to gray these days.

This is arguably the penultimate look from the collection, with those killer shoulders and sleeves, the high point color contrast of neutrals, and a tongue-in-cheek slur against sportswear and high fashion. Socks like that make my knees look weird but I'll take the shoes please.

I’ve got this gray, Silence and Noise tank, the tank version of this leotard, that I have been rocking frequently. Out of embarrassment I wore my striped shirt today to get my coffee but then changed back into this comfy number once again home. I’m washing it tomorrow so it can come to the wedding in Philo with me this weekend.

The color palette here is mostly grays and greys and tan and khaki, laced with red and denim. The knits are sloppy chic and I drool. The black looks at the end of the show were no good to me.

I’ve got a treasured, heather gray maxi skirt that hangs off the A quite nicely. It’s a bit moody and a bit blue in some lights but I love it. I got it at a clothing exchange years ago. The silhouette is statuesque yet flowy, and it somehow makes me seem taller than I am. And, again, it’s GRAY so it too has been put into rotation quite frequently as of late.

But I keep thinking about this collection as I keep straying to the gray knits every morning. It's a bit odd, but I'd love it right now. It's so Bay Area weather-appropriate and cool.

Finally, I’ve got that rad fur vest that Erin gave me. This is maybe my favorite thing ever.

Calvin Klein is just one of my favorite brands ever. The tailoring and cool simplicity kicks it out of the ballpark again and again. And Francisco Costa can do no wrong in my eyes, so I of course love this line for Spring 2010.

I want to stress that this does not mean my mood is grey nor should this suggest to anyone Not in the Bay that we are currently plagued by gray weather, because my mood is pretty high and the weather is AMAZING, all blue skies and warm temps and “Man I love it here.” I think the lack of color here has more to do with a desire to pop.

To me it's simple yet interesting, somehow both tailored and voluminous. I love the smoky palette that turns pastel. I love that how ethereal and messy the fabric appears.

See springtime in Berkeley is an explosion of color, the brightest in the spectrum, everywhere, everything in bloom, flowering, bitchslapping my sinuses with their pollen-heavy splendor, Roy G. Biv dropping rhymes all over town, Nature just showing off–so wearing gray is almost the only way to be seen.

Look how the material just suddenly becomes diaphanous. Notice how the crinkles defy gravity. Check out the cool, Asian-inspired shoes.

Plus, gray has always been a favorite color.1 It’s soft or bad-moody, heathered and feathery, cloudy, stormy, smoky and sullen, ash and stone, concrete and cerebellum.

For Spring 2010, Gucci sent out all these amazing hardware splattered dresses and frocks, like this one here. The clothes were all athletic yet sci-fi fantasy.

It’s also a variant spelling word, which as a Grammar Dork and Crossword Doer and Logophile I think is really cool. G-R-E-Y, like the Metric System, appears to be the preferred everywhere but America. “GrAy” in America and “grEy” in England. Both me and Wikipedia have heard that gray can refer literally to the color and grey to the metaphorical mood or state of being. Or says they can refer too to different shades of gray.2

A lot of the great outfits in this collection were white, but this grey monochrome is quite alluring, and I love the idea of a close-cropped, tight throughout suit.
  1. And August and Everything After has always been one of my favorite albums.
  2. Words are so badass.
This is another monochrome look from Frida Gianni that I'm quite taken with. I could done without the all-black looks in this collection, because, well, boring. But the tribal-esque ikat looks were good, and all blue, red, black, and gray. I'll take this coat right now though please. Thank you. Ok, I love you, bye-bye.

Spring 2010: Lava and Lightning

Frans Lanting, Lava river, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

“I Have Never Seen ‘Volcanoes'”
by Emily Dickinson

I have never seen “Volcanoes” —
But, when Travellers tell
How those old — phlegmatic mountains
Usually so still —

Bear within — appalling Ordnance,
Fire, and smoke, and gun,
Taking Villages for breakfast,
And appalling Men —

If the stillness is Volcanic
In the human face
When upon a pain Titanic
Features keep their place —

If at length the smouldering anguish
Will not overcome —
And the palpitating Vineyard
In the dust, be thrown?

If some loving Antiquary,
On Resumption Morn,
Will not cry with joy “Pompeii”!
To the Hills return!

Water and wine at Basso & Brooke, Spring 2010

Basso & Brooke: Okay, I’ll admit it: Technology can be pretty kick ass. Just look at the digital prints coming out right now (Mary Katrantzou, McQueen). Designers Bruno Basso and Christopher Brooke were apparently inspired by the art of Jeff Koons. Now, because I worked for two years at the Academy of Art University I do actually know who Koons is, but I wasn’t an art history major and I never would have caught that reference if hadn’t told me that that’s what these clothes were referencing.

More trippy, molten majesty from Basso & Brooke, Spring 2010 RTW

Instead, because I am a girly geek from Berkeley, my first reaction to this collection was: “These are the clothes that Lisa Frank would design if she dropped acid in the Fortress of Solitude.”

Electric and ecclectic at Basso and Brooke, Spring 2010

In other words? Awesome. I love this collection.

A cut above the rest, Cushnie et Ochs, Spring 2010

Cushnie et Ochs: Though for me this is a somewhat hit or miss collection, out of all of the many, many, many shows with cutout clothes (Gucci, Louise Gray, Christopher Kane and Versus, Wayne, Threeasfour, etcetera etcetera etcetera), I am of the opinion that this was one of the best. The cutouts were interesting, innovative, and when the models weren’t half naked, the clothes were slyly sexy in what was taken away, in which swath of skin was revealed. I mean, how rad is this maxi?

A hit below the belt from Cushnie et Ochs

Mary Katrantzou: Okay, so it doesn’t quite match the fierceness of that very-first, perfume bottle-inspired collection (because that was a freakin revelation) but Katrantzou is one to watch and she’s helping to spearhead this digital print trend. Plus her name is really fun to say.

You can't help but be wooed by Mary Katrantzou.

These silk dresses are feminine, funky, and full of life. The trompe l’oeil patterns manage to suggest movement while also, to me, making it seem as if you’ve hit the pause button on the trippiest scifi/time travel caper ever.

Mary Katrantzou, Spring 2010 RTW

These are the clothes for that superior and super hot alien race we keep hoping will decide to vacation here and take us out to dinner. And, apparently, hopefully, bring us rad party dresses.

Red hot Mary: Katrantzou's saucy lava wonders for Spring 2010 kick ass.

I’ll bet their space ship has a full bar and the drinks are delicious.

U. S. Geological Survey photo by Jim Griggs.