Before and After: 3 Not-So-Great Pieces, Redone

Reissued Style: A New Way to Shop Your Own Closet

Almost everyone has that one thing in their closet–that item that’s perfect in every way except for the fit, or that has incredible fabric but isn’t versatile enough to wear more than once a year, or that you were inexplicably drawn to in the store despite the fact that it doesn’t seem to go with anything else you own. These things exist in what I call “closet limbo,” a kind of purgatory where clothes we don’t know what to do with but can’t bear to part with hang out for eternity–or at least until something intervenes. That something might be Reissued Style–a service that reworks old clothes into custom-designed pieces, born out of designer Felicia Zivkovic’s decision to turn her hobby of reworking old clothes into more than just a side hustle. (Recently, she also added another component to the business–Upcycled by Reissued, a collection of one-of-a-kind pieces sewn locally with heirloom textiles and dead stock fabric). Felicia’s philosophy is focused on promoting sustainability and cutting down on mindless consumerism by extending the life of things you already own–a.k.a. things that might be languishing in closet limbo. Below, three members of Team MR take the service for a spin in honor of Second-Hand Week.

Mikaela’s Candy Striper Uniform Was Transformed Into a Cottagecore Dream

Styled with Blundstone boots (left) and vintage boots -- similar here (right)Styled with Blundstone boots (left) and vintage boots -- similar here (right)

Background on the original piece: The original dress was from a really tiny vintage shop in Cobble Hill, and I’m pretty sure it’s an old candy striper uniform! I fell absolutely in love with it when I saw it, but wore it about two times over the course of two years. It just needed something, but I couldn’t put my finger on what.

Why you wanted to breathe new life into it: As much as I loved the print, cotton fabric, and big pockets, it was just ill-fitting! The elastic was kind of in an unflattering spot given the length of the hem, so I was really keen to see what it would look like elongated and tailored to fit me better.

Thoughts on the end result: I love it. And it arrived just in time for me to feel included in the cottagecore resurgence :). Styling will be a good challenge for me, especially with these white organza sleeves (muy elegante!), but I’m up for the task. I feel like I can still rock my tennies with it (the Air Maxes from every style story I’ve ever been in—you know the ones!). This time I went full countryside with black cowboy boots, but I’m itching to see what it’d look like prepped up, with loafers and layered under a sweater vest. The possibilities are endless.

Amalie’s Denim Jacket Got a Really Good Haircut

Background on the original piece: I won’t lie to you, I did not have the original piece for long before I was ready for its transformation. I picked up the denim jacket on a whim from a Housing Works (a chain of non-profit thrift stores in NYC, which supports efforts to end homelessness and AIDS)—the almost military-style shape appealed to me, but seemed completely oddball. I hoped there was an “elegant butterfly spreading sinewy wings” inside the “frumpy, oversized militiaman” cocoon.

Why you wanted to breathe new life into it: I wanted this jacket to be something I would actually wear regularly. In its original form, the jacket was so dense and had what seemed like 15 different flaps of excess denim. Denim that could be repurposed! Denim that could be used elsewhere! I also believe denim jackets, in general, are one of the true staples of a wardrobe—and you can only have two: One can be a statement, and one must be simple. I have my perfect simple denim jacket I acquired last year that I spent way too much money on but will be in my closet forever, so I wanted this jacket to be my statement, one that I could scoot around in and have people ask, “Where did you get that?” and I’d say “I’ll never tell” but then I’d say “Actually it’s a completely repurposed thrifted jacket, how do you like them apples.”

Thoughts on the end result: Comment dit-on completely different jacket?? I love the cropped cut, the raw edges, and frankly the embroidered floral trim around the edge and lapel is the definition of “surprise and delight.” In Merriam-Webster. The beauty of it, being a denim jacket, is that even though the garment feels fully improved, it’s still a chic denim jacket that I would wear with virtually anything, except maybe polka-dots.

Lorenza’s Ill-Fitting Dress Became a Versatile Shirt

Reissued Style: A New Way to Shop Your Own Closet
Styled with vintage boots -- similar here and Levi's jeans (right)Styled with vintage boots -- similar here and Levi's jeans (right)

Background on the original piece: I picked up this dress at a resale store in Harajuku about a year ago. I love thrifting and vintage stores, so one of my last days in Tokyo was dedicated to scouring shops and inevitably purchasing things I clearly had no room for in my suitcase. Spring was also in the air, and I was feverish to purchase some sort of dress or frilly thing I could wear in the sunshine.

Why you wanted to breathe new life into it: Although aesthetically the dress ticked a lot of boxes, reality eventually hit and I realized the shape was unflattering. It was about two sizes too big, so it didn’t hug in the right areas and looked somewhat matronly. I never ended up wearing it because the fit was so off, so I figured a little editing was in order. By the time I finally decided to do something with it, I was over spring and ready for fall, hence my desire for longer sleeves.

Thoughts on the end result: The end result is exactly what I was looking for. It’s much more versatile as a shirt, and can be styled with shorts or pants, weather permitting. It still has the same great energy the original piece had when I fell in love with it–floofy and delicate, with perfect little embroidered fruits. I’m excited to grunge it up a bit with black leather or layer it with a mock turtleneck and jacket to spice up the neckline!

Photos by Beth Sacca.

Harling Ross

Harling is a writer and was most recently the Brand Director at Man Repeller.

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