With a little ingenuity (and the help of an ace tailor), Creative Director Joe Zee pillages vintage stores, boys’ departments—even his assistant’s closet—to reinvent already-loved treasures. From old to new!
Found at: Salvation Army, NYC Price: $40 Okay, this checked tweed Trussardi pantsuit isn’t quite Yves Saint Laurent, but it’s made with quality textiles and good Italian tailoring. The jacket fit well, but the pants needed work: They were too short and too roomy, in the worst possible way. Howto Style It:Lose the androgyny. To make this feminine and youthful, turn the pants into chic summer shorts, match it with a short-sleeved blazer that’ll look equally dynamite with jeans.
Found at: Kaufmann’s Army-Navy, NYC Price:$30 For guys, Army-Navy basics easily mix with anything already in the closet. But for women, the look can be too masculine, not to mention figure-obscuring. How to style It: Remember the “cold shoulder” detail Donna Karan did so well many seasons ago? Slash open the shoulders of this traditional Army anorak. Lop off the excess hemline, too, and voilà: a date-worthy jacket.
Found at: eBay Price:$15 plus shipping. The original emerald-green lining of this dress reminding of a piece from Tom Ford’s new collection, but when it arrived from the seller, the lining was scratchy acetate. How to Style It: Much as you love the color, comfort is key, so out went that awful lining. Chop the hemline, keeping the beading intact. When summer’s over, you can take off a few more inches and convert it into a top—priceless with a pencil skirt!
Found at: ELLE assistant editor Sarah Schussheim’s closet Price: She can’t recall. Sarah, has her own, very unique sense of personal style that is often months (or years) ahead of the mainstream. So of course, with everyone from Céline to Max Mara showing red pants, Sarah has already been there, done that. How to Style It: In the early ’90s, Martin Margiela burst onto the scene with long skirts made by splitting the inseams of old jeans, then sewing the legs together. Why not lift—uh, be inspired by—that idea?
Found at: Housing Works thrift shop, NYC Price:$50 One law of “discovery shopping”: You never know what you’re going to find in the men’s and boys’ departments, which can be troves of well-cut classics in durable, high-quality fabrics. How to Style It:Don’t worry about proportions here; love that the jacket’s a little boxy. Cropped to the hip, with quarter-length bracelet sleeves and a fake-fur collar, this menswear staple becomes unmistakably ladylike.
Found at: Buffalo Exchange, NYC Price: $5 apiece. Maybe you’ve got slips left over from the Courtney Love era; or maybe you collect them because you can’t resist the beauty of vintage lingerie. If the darting is too high or too low, or the shape too roomy, don’t hesitate to have underpinnings tailored too. How to Style It: Integrated the ruffles and bodices to create one easy, flirty dress. Pair it with a classic, slightly more downtown denim jacket, and you’re good to go.