Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Upcycling with Glamspoon's Tina Witherspoon

Tina Witherspoon is a Northwest textile designer whose one-of-kind line of women's clothing, under the "glamspoon" label, is made from recycled materials and natural fibers, many of which she finds at Seattle Goodwill. Over the next year Tina plans to branch out of fashion and add a lifestyle line of home accessories, including throws and pillow shams from recycled cashmere, as well as totes, tea towels and aprons from recycled linen.

An avid thrift sale shopper and a Glitter Sale regular, today Tina shares her Glitter Sale shopping tips.

You're a veteran Glitter Sale shopper with a real understanding of upcycling, or how to turn used merchandise into pieces that are valuable and valued. What do or don't you look for when you shop Glitter?

It might surprise many of your shoppers, but labels and sizes are the last thing I look for. That being said, I do have a few guidelines I stick to pretty instinctively: special details, classic cuts and unusual or striking colors. Special details might include beading, sequins, pleating--anything that makes the piece stand out. Classic cuts are essential in order to avoid faded trends or fads. I look for fitted silhouettes and designs with cinched or empire waists. I also seek out A-line dresses and skirts.

What other tips can you share with novice upcyclers?
No garment is going to be perfect for you. Go for 80%. Swap out the buttons, shorten the hem, remove the sleeves, add an applique to cover up a tiny hole, dye your garment a different color and for Pete's sake, tear out those shoulder pads! You can make the changes yourself or get to know your local tailor.

So, make your local tailor your new BFF.

If you don't do any sewing yourself, you'll want to find a trusted tailor and build a relationship. Tailored clothing--even the smallest alterations--are the next best thing to a custom-made wardrobe. If you're even a little bit handy you might want to sign up for a beginning sewing class which will give you a little more confidence when taking something apart. Simple changes can make your garment look unique and make you stand out in a crowd.

Any other simple changes?
Another way to make a vintage piece work for you is through styling. If you find a great dress that fits you everywhere but the waist, grab a belt and cinch it. Hats, gloves and scarves can dress up an outfit for day, and vintage jewelry, wraps and heels can dress it up for evening. Mixing current pieces with classic vintage items creates a look that evokes the past, yet still looks fresh and modern. Don't forget to combine textures to create an overall aesthetic--cotton blouse, wool skirt, suede boots, knitted cardigan or poncho. And add accessories!

Anything else you look for when you're at the Glitter Sale?
Another wonderful part of hunting through vintage racks and fancy frocks is that sometimes you find a piece that inspires you, but that you would never wear. I come across clothing and accessories that I just want to hang on my wall.

What time will you be heading out for the Glitter Sale this year?
Last year my girlfriend and I got to the sale at 7 am thinking we would be first in line, but we were 150th! We still got a jewelry ticket and found plenty of things to purchase. But this year we'll shoot for 6 am! I tell people, "dress warm and bring folding chairs and a thermos of coffee." The wait in line is a lot of fun!

1 comment:

Mom said...

Great article, great ideas, and a great picture Tina !!!