Top Up: Something old and something new

In the 2016? NAS, I got this gorgeous Vince silk shirtdress, chiffon overlayer and sleeve, in a really nice cut. I love a collarless shirt! I wore it a bunch in its first two years, but honestly, it was a bit short for my preferences even then, and more so, now. I tried wearing it as a tunic over leggings or skinnies but while I adore long-over-lean on others, the silhouette doesn't flatter me and I'm never happy wearing it. I kept intending to donate the dress, but I had happy associations with it (trip to London with Mr. Suz...) so I kept hanging on to it despite my best judgement. 

Finally it dawned on me -- have it made into a blouse! Why not? So here it is, with my new Liverpool pants. 

Next up, a new top from Aritzia, also final sale (and cheap as chips). Made from modal and lyocell or tencel (not sure which) with a long 70s collar -- it reminds me completely of that era. I think the colour works well with the suit and it is easy to wear. Wore it yesterday layered under an old cashmere tee from J. Crew. 

Warning: if you are considering it, this top is not for the large busted or broad shouldered -- it fits narrow. Lots of stretch but it almost gaps on me (30DD, wearing S, which is what was recommended.) 

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Tanya replied 10 months ago

    I remember when you got the NAS dress, Suz, and you wearing it afterward!  It was and still is gorgeous.  That is a very clever idea to shorten it and repurpose into blouse, that I may copy for some of old silk tunics.

    The new top is super cute and a great find!  Love the way you have styled it with the plaid suit.  Floral & plaid is one of my favorite pattern mix combos.

  • Jenni NZ replied 10 months ago

    New blouse from old dress looks awesome!
    Funny, I still love long over lean and have had trouble learning how to wear other styles :)

  • Angie replied 10 months ago

    Clever dress hack, Suz! A fab way to evolve and up-cycle a sentimental piece to elevated levels :) LOVE it with the new pants! Pretty and polished. The colour is sublime with your complexion. 

    KILLER '70s shirt. Soooo fun! LOVE it tucked and with the loafers in #4. Chic and flattering!  Love it with the blazer! You can wear your navy loafers in #5 too. Yummy pattern mix! Jonesy's heart will be happy ;) 

  • LJP replied 10 months ago

    Wow - great refurbishment for that dress! I had it too , and never really figured out what to do with it. It was too lightweight for winter and too much for summer . I ended up donating it quite soon after . Colour was also wrong for me . Classic lemming purchase that was not carefully thought out . I love the new iteration with your suit ….and that new blouse is great too - well done !

  • Irina replied 10 months ago

    Love the dress hack, Suz. Looks wonderful!
    I never liked long over lean myself so don’t miss it one bit. 

  • Firecracker (Sharan) replied 10 months ago

    These are knockout looks! I love the two "new" blouses with your suit.
    Does the silk shirt still have the two layers? Just curious; it looks très fab.

  • slim cat replied 10 months ago

    Beautiful new blouse - smart alterations!
    Pretty looks with both tops!

  • replied 10 months ago

    Great idea for a treasured item! Both shirts are awesome. Your hair is looking spectacular!

  • jussie replied 10 months ago

    Both great outfits! You have nailed it as usual :) :)

  • Brooklyn replied 10 months ago

    Great upcycle Suz. That colour suits you so well. And I love the floral plaid pattern mix.

  • Dee replied 10 months ago

    Such a great idea, it looks fantastic as a blouse with those plaid pants and that’s a fun 70s vibe top too.

  • SarahD8 replied 10 months ago

    These are all great looks! The color palette here seems a bit warmer than your usual fare, but it is SUPER flattering on you. 

    VERY smart hack of your dress to turn it into a top. I have a dress in a similar style that I'd like to turn into a skirt (the underarms have gotten sweat stained, and it has a really lovely border print).  

  • Runcarla replied 10 months ago

    Ooooo!  Love the burgundy top with the suit‘s plaid.  Have you worn the suit IRL yet?  I’ve worn the pants x 3, and the jacket x 1 - but as separates.  Not as a suit yet.  

  • Jaime replied 10 months ago

    I can date that dress! I wore it to my son's Bar Mitzvah which was in 2015. I think. Need more coffee, but you are so clever to have converted it. I sold it long ago, because it was too short for me too. Anyway, looks great and I absolutely love the pointed collar on you - especially with the pink sweater!

  • Peri replied 10 months ago

    I remember that dress! I ordered it too but returned it. I don't remember the exact reason but I think it was around then that I formed one of my shopping guidelines..."if it works for Suz and Angie it won't work for me". :) Cause of the busty and broad shoulders issue. :(

    Great idea to convert it to a blouse if it was no long working for you!

  • Debbie replied 10 months ago

    What a great idea. I love both outfits.

  • Aquamarine replied 10 months ago

    I too remember that dress. Love it as a blouse…great idea.

  • Barbara Diane replied 10 months ago

    What a brilliant idea to turn the dress into a top. The color and style are gorgeous on you.

  • Suz replied 10 months ago

    Thanks, all. It was a very easy conversion to a blouse -- it's long enough to wear untucked if I like (but I mostly tuck in front anyway.) And yes, Sharan, it's still double layered and the sleeves are chiffon while the body of the blouse is crepe de chine (I think) with a silk chiffon overlayer. 

    Jaime, you are quite probably right -- it may well have been fall, 2015. Long time! And I could not get rid of it. Partly because I know the colour is good for me, and partly the cost, and partly the happy associations. 

    Peri, chuckling....I could say the same about several forum members whose clothes always strike me as I actually try them. 

    Sarah, these colours may look warmer but IRL they are not -- it could be the photography and my need to fiddle with lighting. The pants and jacket are a dark blue plaid against charcoal (so cool). The burgundy is a dark purplish burgundy tone. The print shirt is a pale cool lilac background. The pink sweater is a cool toned pink. 

    Carla, I haven't worn it as a suit yet. I've worn the jacket twice and the pants 3 times. Considering I only got the pant back from hemming 10 days ago, that's a pretty good number, LOL. Will wear it as a suit in a few weeks when we head to Vancouver. 

    Irina, we are on the same page there. I wish I could make it work for me -- but nope. 

    Brooklyn, thanks -- your own upcycling and adaptation projects were a huge inspiration for this. I figured -- what is to lose? 

    Angie, Debbie, Dee, Jussie, Slim cat, LJP, Tanya, Jenni -- many thanks. And Jenni - it's so funny, right? The silhouette that is just everything to one person never feels authentic to another. <shrug> who can explain it?? MAYBE Kibbe...but in this case, I am not sure....

  • pirouette replied 10 months ago

    Suz your dress worn as a top is really lovely. I did the same with an old All Saints dress that was too short but I loved the dress. I am posting a picture but please excuse the state of my hair and lack of ironing as it was a photo I took during a try on  session. 

  • suntiger replied 10 months ago

    Love the burgundy especially! Good overhaul!

  • Janet replied 10 months ago

    I love that you turned that dress into a top! I always liked that dress but totally understand your feelings about it. Nice new top too!

  • ChristelJ replied 10 months ago

    All around success! Great fits, colors, and combinations. That pointy collar and the pattern mixing with the floral shirt are just delightful. And you glow in pink.

  • unfrumped replied 10 months ago

    Great call! I also have trouble sometimes fretting about whether something can be made over. Dresses that are too short for me eventually get donated as I just will not do the ledgings or pants thing. But a burgundy blouse— so many possibilities!
    And I agree that collar, lack thereof, doesn’t compete with blazer collars and is a nice alternative to knit tops.

  • Cardiff girl replied 10 months ago

    What a lovely way to hang onto a piece of clothing that is no longer getting worn.It would have been a shame to lose it as the colour is so lovely on you.New blouse is fab too,nice to enliven a suit with abit of funky pattern from time to time l think.

  • cat2 replied 10 months ago

    What a great rescue of the dress! The top is gorgeous. I have a terrific tailor and have been wearing two lace dresses I had chopped from full length to maxi, and a cotton blouse with the bell sleeves removed.

  • Suz replied 10 months ago

    Cat2, I'd have been removing the bell sleeve, too. Pretty but so impractical, right? 

    pirouette, I love that blouse! Wow -- great save! It works! 

    Aquamarine, Barbara Diane, Janet, Christie, unfrumped, Cardiff Girl -- thank you. I do really like burgundies (if they are cool ones) and all reds, really, at least from dark cool tone to bright fire engine and true red. Once it goes over that hump it is too orange for me but I have a few coral items in the summer wardrobe nonetheless! 

  • Jonesy replied 10 months ago

    So smart to tailor that dress into a top--it looks like it was made that way! I totally get having deep sentimental attachment to an item: I have this Ann Taylor top in a sort of cut-out/relief velvet fabric (popular at the time) that I wore to a friend's engagement party when I was newly-pregnant with my first child. I still have it because of the attachment, though I don't think I will ever wear it again. The fact that you can keep your dress/top and continue to get lots of use out of it is fabulous!

    Yes, indeed, I do love the floral top paired with the plaid suiting--florals and plaid are such a beautiful, classic combo :)! Though I have to admit that I am pattern mixing less these days--perhaps a slightly more minimalist turn in my style? Hmm... That floral looks gorgeous on you and I love that slightly oversized collar.

  • Suz replied 10 months ago

    Thank you, Jonesy! That sounds like a beautiful top -- who knows, maybe you will put it to some other use some day...the fabric, at least. It's funny how some items just demand to stay in the closet. 

  • Sal replied 10 months ago

    Love the new and the old - very good idea!  These both suit you so well

  • Kate replied 10 months ago

    Gorgeous dress, and what a clever hack to repurpose it. I ordered it as well, though in navy, but returned it because it was too short. Both the old and new shirts look great on you!

  • morethanbeige replied 10 months ago

    Suz, I love the repurposed dress with the plaid pants. The burgundy looks great on you. Also great pattern mixing with the floral blouse and plaid pants. You look terrific!

  • Sally replied 10 months ago

    What a great idea to change an item so it can get more use and wear.  It is very pretty and works well as a blouse.  Great outfits and it is giving me ideas on how I can use my new to me loafers.  

  • Zaeobi replied 10 months ago

    The blouse hack works lovely on you! Slight side note but your hair looks fab here too - with the longer, slightly sideswept fringe :)

    Perhaps you could hack it open into a pseudo topper? My mother-in-law has done that with a few of her old tops (she likes to pin the collars or wear a collar clip! Optional, of course, but something to consider)

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