After | The Checkered Dress

Oh, vintage secretary dresses. How I love finding you buried on a vintage store rack and reworking you into something I’d actually wear!


Remember what this one looked like before I reworked it? This:


You guys called it frumpy. And you were bang-on with that observation.


My fixes were relatively easy. I belted it with a vintage YSL belt (I don’t even remember where I found it, but I am so very glad I did). I pushed up the sleeves to make it look more laid back and I unbuttoned the high neck so it didn’t look so, well… buttoned up. See? These are things a non-seamstress can do.


And I removed the shoulder pads, which is the easiest fix ever, as long as the piece isn’t so structured that it requires them. Oh, and I had it shortened just a bit. But my tailor handled that part because that is something that a non-seamstress cannot do.

[Thakoon shoes.]

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like


  • Reply aliciafashionista October 6, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Oooh love how you unbottoned it (and I don’t mean that in a pervy way haha :S) The colour and pattern of the dress looks great on you, will remember these tips with my frumpy vintage finds!

  • Reply Melissa October 6, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Nothing looks frumpy on you Kels. I love your before and afters. And I recently bought a dress in a similar colour palette.. so lovely

  • Reply Chelle October 6, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Love it Kelsey! I’m a bit afraid of vintage clothing… but reading your blog always makes me want to go out, find a vintage dress and rework it into something beautiful and wearable. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Xo Chelle

  • Reply camille October 7, 2011 at 5:31 am

    Wow – instant cute dress! Well, except for the shortening, but I’m sure that’s pretty quick too if you’re handy with a sewing machine (I wouldn’t know, haha).

  • Reply Bronwyn October 7, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Ooh, I’ve been looking forward to seeing what you’d do with this dress – looks gorgeous!

  • Reply Linka October 12, 2011 at 5:29 am

    Love it!! Well done!!!

  • Reply kaye i October 18, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    I love the colour and print! Double thumbs up, Kelsey!

  • Reply Number 2 | The Anthology’s Most Ridiculous Moments of 2011 | The Anthology December 31, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    […] Take a closer look at the vintage dress I’m wearing before I reworked it and after. […]

  • Reply Style | Sartorial Soul Mates: A Vintage Skirt and a Clashing Vintage Belt | The Anthology July 17, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    […] pink and black belt in the first few shots came with the vintage secretary dress above. When I reworked the dress as part of The Anthology’s Before and Afters, I cinched it with a vintage Yves Saint […]

  • Reply Style | Upcycling Q&A at the Museum of Vancouver | The Anthology March 29, 2017 at 11:11 am

    […] upcycle. In fact, the early days of The Anthology were all about reinventing vintage pieces like this dress, this formerly comical piece, and even the odd piece of furniture, like these stools from Habitat […]

  • Leave a Reply