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As we've rung in the New Year, we’re all pondering the ways we can evolve into more positive, mindful and healthy people. While I would never knock someone for trying to make a substantial change by getting fit, eating healthy, or saving money, I’d also like to suggest an alternative to starting your year off right so you can feel like you’ve really accomplished something after that ball drops (or the last firework pops)!

Instead of a resolution, perhaps think about a restoration. Clothing can change the way we feel and we sometimes find ourselves collecting new pieces or saving others because we just might find a way to make it work someday. And the word “someday” is so elusive and indefinite. We shouldn’t spend too much time and effort trying to force things when the better option may be to simply edit or change them to our liking.

As an experiment, pull out a few things you find yourself consistently avoiding. Think about the reasons you're not wearing them. Is it because it's uncomfortable? Too big? Too small? Is the print too busy? Once you identify the problem, you can think of the best solution. There are so many creative possibilities to alter those items in an impactful way.

It could be as easy as a hem or letting out a seam. This could be a great solution for items that aren't fitting properly. For example, if the length of your skirt or dress is hitting you below your knees around the widest part of your calf, like many midi skirts do, you might find that you feel like your legs look bigger than they actually are. This is because when horizontal lines cut at the biggest part of your leg, it gives the illusion that your whole leg may also be that wide.

Your restoration could also mean something a bit more dramatic like adding fur to a jacket or tailoring wide leg trousers into a pair of skinnies. This could be a good solution for items that feel off-trend, dated, or overwhelming to your figure.

Making a significant style update could even be as easy as swapping out big, distracting shiny buttons for smaller, matte or horn-shaped buttons. This will elevate the look of a worn out coat tenfold!

You may find that you have pieces that you love but the color or print overwhelms you. However, don’t think you have to avoid wearing it forever. It may not be working for you because there’s just too much of it. Removing some of the fabric by taking off the sleeves or bringing up the hem could be an effective way to make it wearable. For instance, this neon dress was too bright and since color reflects upwards, it wasn’t flattering for my friend’s complexion. She decided to edit the dress into a skirt to minimize the fabric on her upper half and keep the color away from her face. Now, she has more styling options, and feels confident in her “brand new” closet addition. This quick edit only cost 100 RMB and it was such a simple fix.

For my own New Year’s restoration, I’ve taken these black slides that were sitting in the back of the closet gathering dust. I added fur detail; to take a simple, uninteresting shoe to a whole new level. This particular style is on trend right now and buying them brand new could be costly. To make these mules as a fun DIY project, you can purchase real or faux fur (a strip of about 15cm. should do) for about 50-70 RMB then cut and glue it on yourself in the shape of the front of the shoe (if the shoe has a pointed toe, the shape will be more triangular). If you’re unsure about getting the best result, you can take the shoes to a shoemaker and he’ll do it for just about 20 RMB. Then, you have a totally revamped flat that will leave people asking where you bought them!

If you’re in search of an excellent tailor, I’d like to recommend Gao Ayi (Tel: 138-1831-0523). For trims and embellishments, check out this crafty market at 388 Renmin Lu (人民路388号).

***Originally written for City Weekend

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