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before and after

Before | The floral blouse

Wowee! This is one hot little number. Then again, “Before” shots in The Anthology’s Before and After column always are.

This bright, colourful blouse has big, bold shoulder pads, leading me to believe it’s from the ’80s. But the shoulder pads really aren’t what’s making this blouse so ridiculous. It’s the shapelessness. It’s meant to fit a size small and yet there’s so much extra fabric I could fit another person in there.

It might even be worse from the back — a giant square so big it looks like an oversized jacket.

I’m making some tweaks to this piece so it will be wearable, perhaps even stylish. Stay tuned for the “After” shot! (Imagine if I presented these as “After” photos. Would you guys be polite and say you liked it? Or would you tell me how you really feel?)

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After | The Grey and White Striped Jacket

Sometimes it’s not so much about how you alter an outdated vintage piece, but how you style it. This jacket used to look like this. And truth be told, it still kind of does.

I had it altered ever so slightly. Actually, this is the first time in the Anthology’s Before and Afters that we’ve modified a piece this way — we didn’t remove the shoulder pads (the jacket is structured so it would sag awkwardly without them), we simply cut the shoulderpads so they don’t protrude as much.

Now the sleeves still have volume, they’re just  a little less in yo face.

Speaking of sleeves, I’m going to let you in on a little secret — half the time I just cinch the sleeves on a weird vintage jacket and that does the trick. Makes it more laid back and undone, ya know?

So just like belting a billowy vintage dress will modernize it more often than not, pushing up the sleeves on a strong-shouldered vintage jacket will work insta-magic too.

See? Sometimes change is easy.

[Vintage jacket, scarf and belt, Talula pants, Matisse boots.]

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Before | The Striped Jacket

Gotta love these before and afters. They never disappoint, do they? This “before” shot is especially mugshot (fugshot?) esque. I can’t even imagine who would have originally owned this vintage grey-and-white striped jacket before me — an escapee from Alcatraz?

I would call its style “Jailbird chic” except there’s nothing really chic about it. It’s boxy, its sleeves hit at an awkward spot and the shoulders are just too bold for me to take myself seriously in it. But with a few tweaks, my friends, I’m predicting it’ll be a spring staple. Watch this space for the “after” shot.

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After | The Printed Shorts

Betcha never thought you could get a cute outfit out of a pair of shorts as high-waisted, pleated, printed and billowy as these, did ya? I was doubtful. But I knew these vintage shorts had potential.

First I added a belt (this one’s vintage) because cinching a billowy vintage piece often does the trick. But that clearly did not work so then I tried cuffing them. And because that didn’t work wither, I took them to the tailor, where I had them shortened and taken in a bit, though we left a little volume to allow for the pockets.

And then, after all that, I belted and cuffed them anyway.

I paired them with a turtleneck (because it’s cold out) and a rugged jacket because those floral shorts needed a bit of a roughing up.

And I added a vintage men’s Omega watch. Just because I love the thing.

[J. Crew jacket and turtleneck, vintage belt, shorts and Omega watch.]

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P.P.S. Have a look at The Anthology’s latest Before and After transformations.



Before | The Gigantic Printed Shorts

The Anthology’s before and afters are back, my friends! And because these vintage specimens are oh-so-special, I thought we’d take a look at them through the eyes of my pup.

“Oh hey! Those shorts are pretty fancy.”

“But there’s so much of them, they hurt my eyes.”

“Call me when you fix ’em. I’m out.”

Let’s face it — we’re all thinking the same thing. So I took these pleated, pocketed, printed wonders to my tailor to have them reworked. And what do you know, we turned them into something wearable. Stay tuned for the “after” reveal!

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After | The mint blazer

Ta da!

You’d never guess this jacket used to be this sexy little number, would ya? Just goes to show that scrunching up the sleeves goes a long way.

And piling on the texture (via a striped t-shirt) and the colour (via a rust-coloured necklace) makes the mint seem subdued.

But the real magic was worked by my tailor who added two seems to the back to take in the extra fabric, a material so light it let in this much sunshine when I slung it over my chair this morning. Love how it highlights the texture too.

The jacket’s bright, light colour and easy, breezy fabric seems made for Miami. Or at least Vancouver’s version of Miami — the courtyard at the Burrard. Seriously, that place and that jacket seem made for each other. Maybe that’s because it’s the same colour as the doors.

P.S. It’s hot and sunny on Facebook so add The Anthology.

Before | The Mint Blazer

Oh boy. This ain’t pretty.


But that’s okay. It isn’t supposed to be. Many of you told me you love The Anthology before/after shots because you get a kick out of watching the transformation of these monstrosities. So I’m getting this mint jacket tailored in the hopes that I can wear it for something other than dressing up as your mom in 1986.

Will it be minty-fresh to death afterward? Stay tuned and find out.

P.S. You’ll find all The Anthology’s glorious (and hideous) before and after shots riiiiiiiiiiight here.

After | The upcycled scarf

Like a kindergartner, I’ve got a “Hey ma! Look what I made!” feeling about this project. Unlike The Anthology’s signature before and afters where I take a vintage piece and have it reinvented by my tailor, I did this one on my own.

And it wasn’t hard at all. I wove this striped silk scarf into a plastic chain, skipping a few links at a time, and turned it into one big necklace/scarf combo. (Neckarf? Scarflace? Hmm… I’m going to have to keep thinking about this.)

And because the chain had broken (how? I have no idea), I used a big floppy bow as the clasp. Fancy, huh?

P.S. You could do a lot of vintage shopping on us! We’ve got a Shoppalu x The Anthology giveaway going on right now.

Before | The Upcycled Necklace

Normally “before and afters” on The Anthology involve hideous vintage pieces that I have my tailor rework (see Exhibit A, B, and especially C).


But this, my friends, is a whole new ballgame.


I’m taking two once-loved pieces of my own — a black-and-white silk scarf I bought in Paris and a plastic chain necklace I bought somewhere far less glamourous — and I’m going to make my own “after”. All by myself. I’ll share it with you soon (as long as it doesn’t look like a 6-year-old made it).

P.S. I whipped up my own “After” once before and I kind of love how it turned out. Let’s see if lightening strikes twice.

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.]