We are now only weeks away from that loveliest time of year and the festive revelry is well underway.
As we begin to plan our social calendar – the who, what and where – the most important consideration is, inevitably, what are we going to wear?
Party season brings out the fun in our personalities and so should, by extension, do the same for our style. We are keen to make entrances, dress with a sense of occasion, and bring our sartorial A-game to all encounters, occasions and gatherings. It is a time of glitz, edge, style and sparkle; sometimes the only time of year that we allow ourselves indulge in continuous seizing of the stylish day. And this day may come in many forms: the neighbourhood drinks, the office party, the secret department-only gathering, the school-girls lunch, the mums’ dinner, the hockey supper, the festive date, the ‘we-better-have-that-couple-around-as-it’s-been-a-year-since-we-were-at-theirs’ nibbles… It’s a minefield of social engagements, and one where armour is key. And so to planning ‘the looks’.
When considering what outfits would work well for aforementioned engagements, we rarely consider those pieces already hanging in our wardrobes (particularly those lingering at the back or living in our ‘spare room’ and ‘just in case’ wardrobes). Instead, we get dazzled by the rails of beauties ‘winking’ at us from the seasonally decorated high-street stores; we become mesmerized by the celebrities shining out from the social webpages; we lose ourselves to the many, many ‘must have’ velvet / sequin / metallic features luring us into the high-gloss magazine pages. And from this virtual consumption comes conspicuous consumption: those are the pieces that will make us festive-ready; those are the items that we should spend our hard-earned cash on. And then we’ll feel good. Probably as good as the dozens of other people wearing the exact same outfit on the exact same day in the exact same venue as you. Yes, those are the pieces you shall wear for that one night, never to be worn again. Sorry? What’s that you say? ‘Never to be worn again’? Oh, you mean like last year’s purchases? Oh yeah, those…
Enough! Not this year! We shall rise and become restyling-wise! Let’s be savvy enough to recognise the impulse-shopping traps into which that we fall; let’s offer ourselves a much more satisfying, economical, individual, greener way of dressing this year. Let’s dance to the beat of our own dapper drum by creating inimitable style through our existing garments. Time to rethink how we choose to dress by looking to the experts for advice on the many remodelling, restyling and upcycling options presented by our existing wardrobe collections. This will offer not only a completely individual look but also both purse and environmentally friendly ways of investing in our style whilst breathing new life into the previously loved.
Last Friday, alternations boutique The Zip Yard were once again featured on RTE’s Today show.
The Zip Yard specialise in exactly this garment reinvention, as well as being experts in body shape, fit and fabric.
During the fashion slot they showed how they apply these skills to create stunning new takes on existing garments, inspired by the catwalks and worthy of any festive occasion.
Starting with six different looks, style staples that most of us have hanging in our wardrobes, The Zip Yard’s expert tailors transformed each outfit into a completely new, bespoke offering, catering for an array of different tastes suitable for a variety of different occasions.
Knit and Lace Dress
The knitted jumper is one of those garments that comes in a variety of forms and is worn day in, day out for weeks during the colder months. Often an investment piece, the quality of the knit tends to endure, sometimes longer than the love of the wearer for the style. For this reason, it is a great starting point for a bespoke creation.
The Zip Yard expert tailors looked to the red-carpet for inspiration when creating this knit and lace dress. They first tapered the knit whilst keeping it slightly oversized to give a casual, wearable feel. They then created a completely bespoke full length soft lace skirt with a short underskirt in a similar tone, stitching both together to create this totally unique dress, finishing the skirt with a scalloped edge. The result? A perfect Christmas day look that offers comfort and glamour.
Total cost of alterations: €60
The Party Jumpsuit
Second up was one of the style staples of summer: the culottes jumpsuit. This tomato colour is hugely appealing at any time of year, and the fabric is breathable and light, making it a great choice for a party restyle.
The Zip Yard experts began the style update by removing the collar, and changing the cut of the jumpsuit to a one-shoulder style. They then added pockets, giving that designers, high-end feel (and offering somewhere for us to put our hands when making our party entrance!). They then utilised fabric from another garment, creating this festive gold band which was the finishing touch that brought this jumpsuit from a basic daytime look to a one-of-a-kind glamourous staple.
Total cost of alteration €55
Next up for restyling was a simple navy velvet tunic, similar to so many of the high-street styles right now. Taking its nod from the 60s it has clean lines, long sleeves and a high neck – prime canvas for remodelling.
The Zip Yard experts had the incredibly effective (and rather genius) idea to make use of old necklaces that were no longer fit for purpose, by taking their jewels and using them as embellishments. Having removed the high neck, the tailors stitched and glued each jewel in an appealing, stylish design. They then used a fabric of similar tone but contrasting finish to create an oversized cuff. These three simple steps enhanced and remodelled this plain garment into an eye-catching party ready dress that is completely unique yet still on trend for AW16. And all for a very purse-friendly price.
Total cost of alterations: €35
The Showstopper Gown
Taking a fitted cocktail dress, a style that we all have many of in our wardrobes, already beautifully cut and shape friendly, The Zip Yard team looked to the runways once more for inspiration in creating a red-carpet ready transformation.
Beginning by shortening the original dress and removing the straps, the tailors created a stylish silhouette as the new dress base. They then transformed the piece into bespoke evening wear by adding a full length skirt with a dramatic front slit. They created this by layering three different fabrics to give a rich textured look. Black and green fabric were joined together to give depth and complement the existing colour; a stunning black sequin mesh fabric overlay added the finish. The entire look was completed with a bespoke choker, made using the surplus dress fabrics. The result is a head-turning occasion piece that is the ultimate in evening style, totally unique to the wearer.
Total Cost of alteration €95
The White Shirt, Suede Skirt Revamp
Has there ever been an item of clothing more ubiquitous than the white shirt? Both men and women always have at least one hanging in their wardrobes, sometimes ill-fitting and often in need of a little style TLC. The suede skirt has once again been enjoying its moment in the fashionable sun with many versions available on the high-street (real and synthetic). This combination offers an irresistible case for restyling, bringing the two somewhat tired items together to create a much more exciting offering.
Considering that suede comes around in some form every single winter, investing in the restyling of this skirt is a great way of adding something a little more high-end to an old look. By adding a panel of a darker berry coloured suede to the front, The Zip Yard experts create a beautiful feminine silhouette which celebrates existing curves, and gives the illusion of them for more straight up and down figures. To complete this new, edgier look, the tailors shortened the standard white shirt, making it into a boxy style and adding pleats to the front and back. The creation of the band on the waist is an example of how the team always utilise existing fabric to add designer touches. This is a great trick to bring the eye in to the waist. Gold buttons were then added to complete the look. The finished outfit is a gorgeous two-piece that would take you from day to night with attitude, ready for any post-work surprise get together.
Total cost of alteration €50 (Skirt €30 Shirt €20)
The Cut Out Panel Dress
This red shift dress is a beautiful colour, and traditionally a style that is a great fit. It is the kind of piece that you might have in your wardrobe and one which owes you nothing in terms of wears. It may be that the fit is no longer appealing or the design simply needs an injection of personality to make you fall in love with it once more. This is an ideal garment for party-season restyle.
With a nod to celebrity style, this dress was given a Hollywood overhaul by taking inspiration from the cutout trend with peekaboo detail and illusion panels. The black panels were added on the sides, front and back to create the shapely cut and incredibly slimming appearance. The cut out panel in the mid-section is super flattering as it sits on the narrowest part of the body. Should you like the cutout trend but feel a little less brave, The Zip Yard team will create a similar style using mesh or skin coloured fabric. These details combine to create a stunning look that will take you right through the party season (and beyond!)
Total Cost of Alteration €45
So six totally unique transformations, all created using existing styles and clothing. Party season is definitely the time to look to your own wardrobe for what gems may be waiting for restyling. As the above looks illustrate, the most surprising of pieces can be reinvented with some expert advice and know-how. Take the time to look to your own collections to begin the creation of totally individual, envy-inducing fashions. You can bring these pieces, along with any images you might have for inspiration, to The Zip Yard where you will have a one-on-one informative consultation about what can be made, specifically for you. Not only will they offer suggestions on styles but they will also advice on fabrics should you require the creation of new pieces or additions to your existing garment.
The Zip Yard team are experts in interpreting key trends and will advise you how to work them into your existing garments.
The Zip Yard now have 27 boutiques nationwide. Each ground floor location boasts roomy, private fitting rooms for comfortable personal consultations with their expert tailors.
For those looking to have a garment made from scratch, The Zip Yard team can copy an existing piece or they can create it using a customer-supplied pattern.
The Zip Yard also offer a quick 48-hour turnaround service for regular alternations, as well as a 1-hour express service for minor alterations or repairs. Customers will receive a text message on completion of their garment which ensures they can collect it as soon as it is ready. Customers can also enjoy a loyalty point system.
See The Zip Yard Ireland on Facebook for more examples of their excellent and exciting work.