Saturday, October 23, 2010

To Alter or Not to Alter...

Sifting through the racks at your local thrift store, a dress catches your eye. The print is great. You love the neckline. But the hem is too long and the sleeves are too puffy, and you wouldn't wear it as is. Do you buy it and alter it, or do you walk away and leave it for somebody who loves it the way it is?

Some people would call you a vintage-killer if you were to make alterations to it. From their view, vintage clothing is like a historical document, and altering it is like taking the Declaration of Independence and turning it into a rap. Once you cut up vintage clothing, it's done forever. You can't go back and restore it to its exact original state. You're taking out of it what's so valuable about it; the fact that it's old fashioned.

Other people would say to go ahead and buy it. Cut it Bedazzle it. Do whatever you want to do to it. It's yours and nobody can tell you what you can and can't do with your own clothes. Besides, isn't it better to be contributing to the recycling of clothes, rather than purchasing mass-produced garments that harm the environment and the people who make them? From this perspective, the cutting of a vintage garment is not the end of the world. If you don't like the way something fits, but you see a way to make it fit you better, there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to alter it.

So what do you think? Is it a cold case of vintage murder or innocent alteration in the name of fashion?


  1. I think it's great to alter items...I love re-worked vintage. Hyoni Kang is doing amazing things at her store Reborn Process...I think tying the old in with the new is a great way to conserve out resources and have a totally unique outift!


  2. I tend not to alter just because I run out of time or because I forget. I wish I was better at reworking vintage clothes.

  3. I think reworking a vintage piece is a great way to give a discarded item new life. A little tailoring makes an item unique and isn't that what style is all about?
    Great post.