Wednesday, February 6

Designer Genes

   Watch out Project Runway...there's a new designer in town!  I may not have been blessed with my family's height (every one including my mother and sister is 5'11 or taller) or their athletic ability, but I was absolutely blessed with the designer gene.  What I lack in sewing and sketching skills, I make up with my imagination and vision of a clothing designer.
   It's never difficult for me to come up with a look.  Finding the pieces to create that look, however, is what usually presents the challenge.  I can never find precisely what I am looking for in stores and I attribute this to my being fashion forward.  The process usually begins by me coming up with a mental sketch of an outfit I would like to wear, but that I don't have all of the components for in my wardrobe.  This then prompts a shopping trip with the mission of scoring all of the pieces necessary to achieve my desired look.  More often than not, however, after searching the stores and internet high and low I conclude that what I'm looking for just isn't out there.  Without fail, within a month or two of searching tirelessly for the exact patterns, colors and cuts I was previously looking for they turn up in stores everywhere.
   Today's outfit is a perfect example of my designer skills at work.  On Monday, I received the royal blue peplum skirt and black silk blouse I had ordered from Express.  While the skirt was a perfect fit, the blouse was too loose and not fitted enough for the look I was going for.  I knew in my head that I wanted to tuck the blouse into the skirt because it was high-waisted and I wanted to show off the peplum ruffle.  Because the silk top wasn't fitted and was instead rather blousey it kept bulging out of the skirt, covering the signature peplum ruffle.  Even if the black blouse had fit, however, because it was a solid blouse on top of a solid skirt neither piece particularly stood out.  In fact, even when dressed up with silver chain link necklaces the outfit was still drab.  I knew I needed the outfit to pop and then it occurred to me to wear a striped tank top, with more texture in it, to provide a nice contrast to the monochromatic skirt.
   Back to the drawing board I went perusing the stores and online websites in search of a fitted black and white horizontal striped tank.  While I thought such a basic tank could be rather easily gotten almost anywhere I soon found out that that was not the case.  The closest I came to finding what I was looking for was a two in one tank top from Express that had a black and white stripe shell with a white chiffon overlay.  It was at this point that my designer genes kicked in.  Despite not being exactly what I was looking for I decided to purchase the tank and make it work with the outfit I had in mind.  Before purchasing the tank top I inspected it to make sure that the shear top layer, which was sewn to the striped shell, could easily be separated from it by detaching both tops at the shoulder seams.  Fortunately the two layers were loosely stitched together and in a matter of seconds I was able to convert the one piece tank into two separate tops!
    Just as I had imagined, the black and white striped tank top really made the skirt pop.  I topped it all off with a black blazer with cuffed sleeves.  To complete the look I added a statement black and gold necklace, opaque black tights and a pair of suede black booties.  Viola! With a little creativity and determination I had achieved the exact look I pictured in my mind.
   Personally I think the designer gene is part of everyone's genetics.  It's just a matter of whether or not you tap into it.  So next time you're out shopping for something and you can't find exactly what it is you're looking for, don't be afraid to buy what's out there and make it work for you.  No one says that just because you bought a garment off a rack somewhere that it can't be transformed into something else.  Be creative and don't be afraid to think outside the box!

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