The Shredder

When I first stumbled across Raquel Allegra's beautiful shirts I was intrigued by how a basic t-shirt could look like a piece of couture. The fact that Raquel sources her shirts from the LA County Jail adds interesting history and depth to her pieces. Just imagine the story behind that shirt - it was likely worn by a convicted felon while he served kitchen duty, cooking up meals for his fellow inmates! While I'm not brave enough to march into jail and ask for their old, unwanted t-shirts, you can get the same look with a Hanes or Fruit of the Loom undershirt from any supermarket.

What You'll Need:

Seam ripper


First, cut the hem off your t-shirt, and style it as desired. You can leave it plain, but I cut a scoop neck and rolled up the sleeves for a more feminine look. Now, decide what section of your t-shirt you want shredded. I found that one side panel (pictured above) or a section of the back usually looks best. Stretch the shirt horizontally between your knees to separate the threads. Take your seam ripper, and pull loose a panel of threads from the bottom of the hem. Using quick, stabbing motions, work your vertically up the shirt, until you have a stripe of loose threads running the entire length of the t-shirt.

I've tried lots of shredding techniques, and found this one works best. Repeat this process for as large a section as you want shredded. After many hours, you'll end up with a one-of-a-kind conversation piece!


Helpful hint: If you're shredding a large section of the shirt, buy one size smaller than normal. The shirt tends to get bigger the more you shred it.


The Hook-Up

Famed brother-sister jewelry duo Giles and Brother are known for their unique brass and sterling silver pieces inspired by everyday objects such as safety pins, paper clips, horseshoes, and fishing hooks. Most of the men in my life seem to have an affinity for fishing, so I've inevitably picked up some knowledge on the subject. Though a day spent casting for bass in the hot sun and muddy waters sounds less than ideal, this wraparound bracelet is the perfect accessory to sport to a candle-lit seafood dinner. Follow with a romantic post-dinner harbor cruise, and your date will surely see you're the best catch ever!

What You'll Need:
Brass hook
Leather cord


Fold the leather cord in half and tie to one end of the hook. Place knots sporadically down the length of the cord. When the bracelet is long enough to wrap around your wrist several times, finish it off with a double knot. Make sure the knot is loose enough that you can work the hook through it to hold the bracelet on your wrist. Cut off any excess string.

You'll reel in the most stylist stares with this tough, yet luxurious bracelet!



Rodarte + Topshop

Rodarte F/W 2008 (left), Topshop S/S 2009 (right)

Topshop, get thee to New York immediately!



Diversified Assets

I've heard lots of scary rumors in the past few months regarding the current economic climate. Without a doubt, the most frightening was that bankers at Goldman Sachs hypothesized US currency would become worthless. Can you imagine what would happen to our society if money ceased to exist? Take a cue from Mary-Kate and Ashley by diversifying your portfolio - invest in bullion pieces such as gold and silver, then flaunt your wealth on your sleeve!

What You'll Need:

X-long white shirt
Earrings or two charms
Jump ring



Lay the shirt on a flat surface. Fold the fabric vertically, slightly off center. Sew together the fold with a few small stitches. Attach the two earrings together with the jump ring. If you're using earrings, make sure you take off the hooks! Center the connected charms over the fold, and secure them down to the shirt with a few stitches (tip: place the charms so they will hit about at your hip bone level when the shirt is on).

The Elizabeth and James Bullion Slub can be worn open or closed. Personally, I think the draping is what make the shirt unique, so I plan on always wearing it closed. I stitched my shirt together to hold the fold in place, but you can easily unhook the charms by replacing the jump ring with a jewelry clasp. Instead of sewing the shirt fabric together, just make the fold and sew the charms down.


Side note: How much does the Revolve Clothing model look like Blake Lively? Weird. Maybe it's the hair?


Haute Wheels: Leading the Way!

If, like me, you grew up with brothers around the house, you likely found yourself tripping over their huge mess of toy soldiers, Transformers, and mini racing cars. I never understood the allure of pushing a toy car with your hand while making annoying car noises. However, thanks to a cute feature in last month's NYLON magazine, I finally found a good use for the multitude of Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars now sitting untouched in basement storage. Swiss designer Jackie Heinsohn takes toy racing cars and turns them into turbocharged accessories (sold at a turbocharged price to match). With a few extra materials, you can turn your brother's toy car into a kitschy cool bracelet for under $10. Shhh, you don't need to tell him what you're doing; he's too busy playing X box to notice one of his prized childhood Hot Wheels is missing...

What You'll Need:

Toy car

Metal chain (approximately 4.5 inches)

Two jumprings

Two pieces hardware

Jewelry clasp



First, flip the car on its hood and fix the two pieces of hardware on both ends with superglue. This serves to connect the car to the chain. You can use things such as an earring back or pinback. The key is that the hardware have a flat bottom (to glue to the car) and a hole (to put the jump ring through). Let it dry.

With the assistance of pliers, attach the chain to the car using a jumpring. Attach the charm to the jumpring as well. On the opposite end of the car, attach the chain to the jewelry clasp with a jumpring.

Now you're raring to go!



When Bloggers Collide

You may have noticed that I try to keep knowledge about my personal life to a minimum on this blog. I rarely photograph myself sporting the items I make because I want you to take my examples and inject your own personal style into re-creating them. However, something so fantastically exciting happened Wednesday night that I can't resist sharing! Part of my duties as President for NYU's Fashion Business Association include finding guest speakers from the industry to give lectures to our members. I sent an email to Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist about a month ago, and he agreed to fit a FBA lecture into his schedule between work gigs in Moscow and Rio.

Scott was so nice, down to earth, and sarcastic - just my sense of humor! When asked about how his blog was first received he recalled"People would think ‘Satirist? Is that a comedy website? Maybe he doesn’t know how to spell?’" He graciously stayed well past the Q&A session, speaking individually to every student who waited in line.

The FBA Executive Board poses with Scott

I was thrilled FBA was able to pull off this event for our members. We even made the front page of the NYU newspaper the next day! If you want to see more coverage from the event check out:

Maybe this Carbon Couturiere has a future career in event planning?


Perennial Favorite

With the temperature dropping on a daily basis, I find myself longing for the warm days of spring. Which also means I'm looking through spring collections! Who could forget Erin Fetherston's runway debut in 2007? She sent girls down her New York runway with the idea that they were "a flower sprouting from a sidewalk in an urban environment." Everything from the petal and tulip skirts to the daisy chain headbands evoked a sense of breezy freshness. Just because you're bogged down with winter wear doesn't mean you have to lose that lightness in your step. With a simple color alteration, and you can wear floral accessories all year round!

What You'll Need:

Fabric flowers


Take your wire and mold it into a circle to create the base of the crown.
Fold the wire flower stems around the crown , working your way around the entire ring. Sew on other details such as small flowers or tie on raffia ribbon bows for a fuller look.

I recommend dark colors, such as black, navy, or eggplant to stay on trend with the current season. Can't you just picture this black crown with a opaque tights and patent heels for a holiday party? The vibe is so Gothic romance, practically right out of a Brontë novel!

Instructions and images via Alix of The Cherry Blossom Girl
Alix's photos are so inspiring, they could slip right in the pages of Lula Magazine!


P.S. Apologies for my recent lack of updates. I've had lots of side projects, school, etc. However, I have some great ideas to bring to fruition this weekend, and Thanksgiving break will serve as a crafting extravaganza (not to mention visits to the best antique stores in GA with my creative partner Mama Couturier)!



Move over Jackie O., there's a new first lady of fashion in town! Michelle Obama ignited a fashion frenzy all along the campaign trail. She won over the masses with her accessible buys from J. Crew and H&M, while also garnering admiration from the more sartorially apt crowd with her penchant for designers like Narciso Rodriguez and Thakoon. Now that the new Mrs. O is officially our first lady, her style star is only sure to grow brighter. Rumors are swirling over a potential Vogue cover, and designers are clamoring to get their dresses on her for inauguration day. If you missed your shot to pick up the J. Crew cardigan she wore to an interview with Leno (which sold out the next day, natch), worry not! You can easily achieve Mrs. Obama's conservative-yet-chic style with a just a few wardrobe staples found in every girl's closet.

What You'll Need:

It's pretty self explanatory, but...

Button the top button of your cardigan and cover with a decorative brooch. Now that's a style statement sure to make Americans proud!



Adventures of Agent Skully

Ever have those moments where you reach into the back of your closet and pull out something you totally forgot you had? It's like finding gold in a pan full of rocks! This morning I found my homemade Alexander McQueen skull scarf buried behind a stack of sweaters. This scarf was seen adorning the neck of every celeb and socialite under thirty circa 2005 (see Sienna, Nicole, and Ashley pictured below). Though some may argue the skull trend is "dead," I always enjoy feeling a little extra hardcore walking the streets of NYC (read: I am not hardcore and need all the help I can get).

What You'll Need:
Large square of chiffon


Black Sharpie

Skull stencil

First, make your skull stencil on the computer by zooming in on the original scarf. Print off three different images of the skull, all in different sizes. Next, lay your chiffon square flat. Decide the placement of your different size skulls using a ruler. My skulls are about five inches apart. Mark a small dot every spot where a skull should be drawn to make sure the pattern is symmetrical. Next, lay your chiffon over your printed skull image. Trace the skull outline with a pencil. Repeat for as many skulls as you want on your scarf. Lastly, fill in all the skulls with a black sharpie.

Note: In 2005, I was lusting after a McQueen skull scarf so badly that I actually traced the label onto my "impostor." I do not condone this sort of copyright infringement. I've since learned to take a little creative liberty with my designs to make them my own!



Elbaz Puts on the Razzmatazz

Though things this season seem to be graying (the economy and weather, to name two), Lanvin's Spring/Summer 2009 show was a much needed exception. Never one to disappoint, Alber Elbaz lifted the spirits of fashionable women everywhere with another superb collection. Classic colors and simple cuts segued into a shocking finale of electric blue, leopard, and bejeweled accessories. Signs of a bright future on the horizon? Let's hope Spring 2009 turns out to be. Even if it doesn't, these sparkly heels will help boost your optimism.

What You'll Need:
Black heels (found at Old Navy)
Gold paint

Masking tape

Paint brush


Assorted crystals

First, paint the heels of the shoes gold. (Hint: use masking tape to section the heel off from the rest of the shoe, so the paint line is even). Allow to dry overnight, depending on the type of paint you use. Next, organize your crystals and decide the design you want. Lanvin's were very haphazardly placed, so that's the look I tried to channel.

Use the superglue to attach the crystals to the shoe heel. Be sure to cover all four sides of your heel if it's squared.

Slip on your heels and they'll put a little extra jazz in your step!