Style on a Shoestring by Jillian Lewis

Jillian Lewis gives advice on staying recessionista chic!

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Jillian provides some fabulous advice on how any woman can stay recessionista chic!

What are some easy ways to save money on clothing?
o Sewing is a great way to re-use would be throwaway materials. Embellishing and re-working old clothing is not only cost-effective, but eliminates waste.
o There is a lovely artsy trend in fashion right now. A great way to incorporate this trend into your clothes is to add layers of embroidery into pieces of clothing that you already have. Machines like the “Project Runway” LB6770 PRW come with built-in designs to make embroidery easy.

What are some fun and easy projects that a first-time sewer can execute?
o Follow fashion week coverage for spring 2009 designer collections online and in magazines for inspiration. Never copy other designs, but learn from what trendsetters are doing and identifying as the next hot styles. Also, take a trip to a designer store and study the construction techniques used. Learn from what already exists, improve it, take it further, and think about how designs can enhance the lifestyle of its wearer.
o Take apart a piece of clothing with a seam ripper and challenge yourself to put it back together. This is a great exercise.

Can you provide easy tips for how to DIY or embellish existing pieces in your wardrobe? Toward the end of a season, before the weather changes, it feels time for a new wardrobe. Stretch the use of seasonal clothing with manipulations. I look at everything as raw material. I went through a phase where all of my fiancés shirts were taken apart and made new and unrecognizable for me into tunics and things! I have purchased head bands from the convenience store and embellished them with feathers. When Ponchos became a less desirable trend, I started wearing mine as dresses; turtleneck became the top as a strapless dress. Sometimes it is just a matter of taking things out of context. Old peasant skirts can easily be changed into bubble hem skirts. How about experimenting with an airbrush, thinking about, perhaps a Georgia O’Keeffe watercolor wash on clothing with layers of embroidery for added textures? That could transform a tired wardrobe, but be sure not to overdo it.

Where do you get inspiration for your collections?
I can take inspiration from nearly any topic. I typically refer to equal parts history and future. I find inspiration from artists like Gustav Klimt and Egon Shiele, illustrators like Ruben Toledo and Patrick Nagel, architects like Antoni Gaudi and Santiago Calatrava. From the modern design world, I look to the latest iPod design and the latest in technological advancements.

What is your favorite, money saving tip for fashion?

I have always thought, need is the mother of creation. My interest in fashion developed from a need and desire for something that was unavailable to me. When trying to avoid spending on the new, dig in to the tired closet and re-create the old.

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