Learn. Choose. Change.

I pledge to learn the true cost, to people and the planet, of what I eat, wear, drive, use and do every day. I choose to consume justly and to increasingly change my habits.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Just Sew: Pretty in Pink

 When Project Run and Play announced their themes for each week, I immediately started sketching ideas.  After briefly considering Audrey Hepburn for the second week's challenge of Fashion Icon, and then moving on because I thought everyone will choose Audrey Hepburn (but now I wonder if no one will because we all went through the same process?), I started listing the traits I value in fashion.  I certainly appreciate vintage pieces and other secondhand items, as well as, when someone exhibits creativity and repurposes one piece of clothing into something else.  This significantly narrowed the field, when suddenly my fashion icon hit me:  Molly Ringwald's character from Pretty in Pink, Andie Walsh.  Aside from Maria making playclothes from curtains in Sound of Music, the construction of Andie's prom dress has to be the most iconic upcycling scene caught on film.  Plus, Andie and Duckie Dale made wearing thrift store clothing look pretty cool, when everyone else was buying matching outfits at the mall.
Although this movie came out the year before I was in high school (and my parents would not let me see it in the movie theater due to its questionable language), it quickly became a staple at most slumber parties.  Our family was planted pretty firmly in the middle class, but I did identify with the frustration of not fitting in (or even caring to) with mainstream high school culture.  By my sophomore year I was buying clothes at thrift stores and raiding my dad's closet for suit vests and cardigans.  I also had a pretty great hat collection.
To recreate Andie Walsh's style I converted a sweatshirt into a blazer (tutorial found in this post).and paired it with a vest repurposed from a flowery woman's blouse, and a simple jersey skirt made from the bottom half of a black t-shirt.  The hat was a score from one of our favorite consignment shops and I just added leftover fabric from the blouse to wrap around the band.  
But my most favorite detail of this outfit is the embellishment on the blazer made from doilies.  The jacket seemed a little plain, but I wasn't sure what to add, wavering between an embroidered crest or some tapestry.  Then after watching the movie for easily the first time in twenty years the answer was obvious.  In the opening scene there is a shot of Andie's bedroom and there are doilies everywhere, on the bedspread, her vanity, and in the details of her clothes.  A quick run to the antique store (half off at $2.47) and a dunk in some pink dye made the perfect final accessory to this look.  I actually cut the center piece out of a large doily and gathered the edges together yo-yo style to add a little dimension.
It turns out the DVD for this movie has a lot of great Extra Features, including a section interviewing the actors and the costume designer about the wardrobe.  They had footage from the time the movie was filmed, as well as, some more recent interviews with everyone.  I was already impressed with how well the film has held up after all of these years and felt both Andie Walsh's outfits and Ducky Dale's looks were pretty timeless.  But then both Molly Ringwald and Jon Cryer talked about how they were allowed to keep certain items from the movie and how they still wear them to this day, which just confirmed:  the best fashion advice is to find the style that really represents you. Use classic, well-made pieces to express yourself, customizing them by swapping out buttons or adding doilies, even, as long as it says "This is who I am" to everybody else.


  1. yeah! Someone chose Molly Ringwald! Very cute rendition, I love it!

  2. Just followed your blog over from refashion co-op. I love your philosophy, i have been starting to follow similar principles myself. I haven't seen Pretty In Pink for years, and had completely forgotten about the upcycling scene - thanks for the reminder!