How to create a whole new wardrobe

Fashion designer Jennifer Rothwell shares her tips on customizing your closet.

We all want to look our best and stay style savvy. Sadly, our budgets aren't keeping up with our lust for trends. With incomes squeezed and increasing demands on what cash we have many women feel that something has to give - and that may be her style. But with clever customising last year's wardrobe doesn't have to look quite so, well, last year. With a tweak here and a bit of customising there, it's quite possible, says designer Jennifer Rothwell, to create something fashionable and stylish from forgotten clothes.


And the talented young designer will be showing women all over Ireland how to revamp their closets, as part of a new fashion slot on RTE’s Four Live. "The idea is to encourage people to make the most of what they have,” she says. “We are asking viewers to send in a picture of an item of clothing they haven’t worn in ages because it’s out of date and needs to be given a new lease of life. It could be a coat that’s in a lovely fabric but the style is out of fashion - it could be transformed into a funky looking jacket or a bag – the options are endless.”


Jennifer tells me the idea for the show arose as a response to the recession: “During the Celtic Tiger years, many of us shopped till we dropped and have wardrobes stuffed with clothes that we just don’t wear,” she says. “This is all about digging those garments out and giving them a new lease of life. We want people to think differently towards clothes by showing how anyone can alter their own clothes or mix and match existing items to create their own individual style," she explained.


And the weekly fashion slot will also be about encouraging women to become more creative with their style by creating their own unique looks. “When Ireland was booming we all bought labels and slavishly followed the trends. Now, probably because we have to, we are becoming far more creative with our style. By customising your clothes, you can create bespoke, one off pieces that are more individual and will certainly make you stand out in a crowd.”


If you’d like to have your wardrobe transformed, as part of this exciting TV show, please contact: corrinacunnane@greeninc.ie


TOP TIPS FOR CUSTOMISING


(1) An old lace evening dress can be transformed into a fashionable blouse and teamed with a pair of skinny jeans.


(2) Look at damaged clothes with fresh eyes. Got a tweed jacket with holes in the sleeve? Why not stitch on some elbow patches – they were in all the collections this season.


(3) Jazz up a boring black dress by adding a dramatic feathered trim.


(4) Transform a maxi skirt into a mini or pencil by raising the hem.


(5) Cut off trousers to make into cute shorts.


(6) That boring cream shirt can easily be dyed in the washing machine into this season's vibrant purples and reds.


(7) Embellishment is an easy way to update - try sequins, flowers or beads.


(8) More is more. Add a fur collar or cuffs. Think feathers, buttons and bows.


(9) Add jewels to cheap plain flats.


(10) Update last season's tunic dress or longline cardie with a wide belt. Try one over that chunky knit of your gran's for a folk look.


(11) Cheap fashion fixes like coloured tights and bright gloves and scarves will give dated outfits a lift.


(12) Take the best bit - eg, the image on an old T-shirt and sew it on to a plain jumper or bag.


(13) Hats are the quickest winter update. Use corsages, feathers and, wait for it, pom poms.