From Granny to Chic: Tailoring a $9 Thrifted Dress

I love grandmas. They’ve been around the block a few times and know what’s up. At that age, they’ve run out of patience for bullshit. Grandmas are badasses and that’s why I wanted to dress up as one for a costume party.

If you look at Iris Apfel and the ladies of Advanced Style, older women can be the most stylish women around. But for my costume, I was more of a sitcom granny. That means an ill-fitting dress with shoulder pads and an elastic waist.

I bought this floral fuchsia dress for $9 at Value Village. The colour and print is lovely so I decided to salvage it for everyday wear by getting it tailored.

Dress Before Alterations

From Granny to Chic: Tailoring a Thrifted Dress
Grandma CostumeGranny Annie kicking a tomato out of the shot.Granny Kicking a Tomato

Even with the elastic waist, the dress doesn’t do anything for my figure, but you can see the potential, right?

Dress After Alterations

Thrifted Floral Dress with Rachel Comey Baan Crossbody PurseValue Village Floral Dress with Everlane belt

Tailored Thrifted Dress with Black Sydney Brown Heels

The alterations are subtle, but they make a big difference. I took out the shoulder pads and the elastic from the waistband. My tailor took in the waist and shoulders, and shortened the sleeves. Now I’m wearing it as a casual and comfortable summer dress. Thrifting is pretty fun because you’re bound to find something unique. I have a feeling the original dress was home made because it has no signs of labels anywhere.

I started going to second-hand and vintage shops last year because I wanted dresses and skirts with longer hemlines. Most of the dresses at the mall are way too short for me. Maybe I’m just old fashioned.

Here, I belted the dress with Everlane’s versatile High-Low Belt, made in San Francisco with Italian leather. The purse is from Rachel Comey, ethically made with wicker from the Philippines and vegetable-tanned leather from Italy. The heels are by Sydney Brown, an amazing sustainable luxury footwear brand. The sunglasses are Saint Laurent. I don’t have enough information on Saint Laurent’s factories to recommend them as truly ethical or sustainable, but what I do know is the sunglasses are made in Italy, and the company that owns Saint Laurent, Kering Group, are taking some sustainable initiatives.

The dress cost around $40 ($9 + $30 tailoring), so it’s as cheap as any dress from a fast fashion store. If you know how to sew/tailor yourself, it would cost even less. Or you might a find a dress that fits well enough that you wouldn’t have to do any tailoring. Thrifting is an awesome option for anyone on a budget because the quality of older clothes is often better than fast fashion stuff.

BELT – EVERLANE (see it with other outfits)

PURSE – RACHEL COMEY (see it with other outfits)

SUNGLASSES – SAINT LAURENT (see it with other outfits)

HEELS – SYDNEY BROWN (see it with other outfits)

Do you thrift? Let me know in the comments below.

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  1. […] fashion news, here are a few interesting posts by some of my fellow ethical writers. Annie shares an adorable update to a vintage dress. Holly reflects on the meaning of her father’s treasured possessions, and Leah explores the […]

  2. […] my $9 granny dress? This is another thrifted dress, tailored. The original’s skirt was down to the floor and had […]

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