Remix: Shhhhirt

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Shirt: Princess Highway

Cardigan: Crossroads

Skirt: Portmans

Shoes: Chie Mihara

Today’s remix project is my little secret when it comes to button-up-blouses.

Princess Highway and my all-time-favourite cardigan suppliers Friends of Couture are sister companies, and both have an aesthetic that appeals the the preppy, vintage-loving square that I really am. Cardigans and buttons and peter pan collars and polkadots. Yum!

I live just near Brunswick Street at the moment, and almost every day I walk past the Princess Highway flagship store, which can be agony. The skirts and dresses are little too short for my personal taste, but the blouses and cardigans often leaving me yearning.

But yearning’s all I ever do, because the top size at Princess Highway is a 14, and there’s no way a size 14 will encompass the Rack Of Doom. Open cardigans & stretchy t-shirts, maybe. Blouses and shirts? No.

I saw this, most gorgeous, cream blouse in the window a few weeks ago, and I couldn’t resist. I figured as long as the 14 would fit my shoulders, I might be able to perform my favourite remix, the “gapectomy”, and then it could be mine!

What’s the gapectomy? It’s a necessary alteration that I do to 99% of my button-up wardrobe. AKA, the sew-the-front-trick that anyone with a big bust should embrace.

See, this is the Princess Highway blouse BEFORE the Gapectomy:

DSCF0980_2Boo to you, boobs! Why won’t you let me have nice things?

And this is the same blouse, a quick five minute remix project later:

DSCF0987_2Yay! Buxom, but modest.

It’s pretty self explanatory, but here’s what you do:

1. Button your blouse up and make sure you can actually pull it on and off without undoing it. There’s no point in sewing up the front of something if it makes it unwearable! If you’re working with a narrow neckline unbutton it until the point where you can fit your head through the hole, then make a note of how many buttons need to stay functional.

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2. Set your sewing machine up with thread that closely matches the fabric, and adjust the needle so that it’s closest to the side that the buttons are on. For instance – I buttoned the right side of the blouse over the left, so I had to move the needle as far to the left of the foot as I could.

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3. Take your time, sew smoothly and straight down from the collar (or the highest button that you can keep fastened up and still put the shirt over your head) to the bottom of the shirt. Try and sew as closely to edge as you can.

DSCF09844. And you’re done! No more gapeage!

 

At Heel

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Blouse: Embody

Skirt: Portmans

Belt: Glassons

Shoes: Chie Mihara

You remember how I said a couple of posts ago that I don’t buy shoes online? Well, there’s a few notable exceptions, and Chie Mihara is one of them.

Years ago, a friend introduced me to this wonderful Spanish brand… she owned the most darling pair of Mary-Janes, and when she told me a bit about the brand (Chie’s training in Orthopaedics, her knowledge of foot anatomy, and her determination that you didn’t have to suffer to wear nice shoes) I was intrigued.

Luckily, my local shoe shop stocked Chie Mihara at that point, and even luckier they had a pair of amazing shoes, on sale, in my size. I bought them almost immediately, and I’ve never looked back.

Less luckily, I work in publishing (which automatically means I don’t make a lot of money) and, even on sale, I sank more into that one pair of shoes than I’ve ever paid before or since.

Good shoes are an investment, I get that, and I’ve more than got my money’s worth out of the shoes I bought that day. But still, I don’t earn enough to sink that kind of capital into SHOES, and it was probably silly to have done so in the first place.

Because then I was hooked.

I now own five pairs of Chie Miharas, but I haven’t had to rob any banks. My secret is… eBay.

I know, I know, second-hand-shoes, ewwwww. But seriously, most of them are virtually unworn, some come in their boxes even, with their little heel replacement caps intact and everything.

And because Chie Miharas are one of those brands not many people know about (not like Jimmy Choo, or Louboutin), you can often snaffle a pair up on eBay for a steal.

These, for instance, were just $74 plus shipping from the UK.

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The contrast green strap and bright red heel cap are very on-trend colour-blocking, but the style’s a classic retro mary-jane that will no doubt still be in vogue even after the shoes have crumbled into dust.

The wide footbed, soft leather, and sturdy heel all combine to make a shoe that was instantly comfortable.

And yeah, they’re “second hand”, but I prefer to think of it as “already broken in for me”.

p.s. Gratuitous shot of my earrings, because I bought them in Tokyo, and I love ‘em.

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