Secondhand Sartorialism: Remix

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Fashion times three.

Editor's note: The Cat's Pajamas, our fashion blog, is taking a cat nap. But fear not: Some of your favorite CP features will pop up on The Latest Word from time to time -- including TaRosa Jacobs' Secondhand Sartorialism. Here's her latest installment.

When I was in high school, I’d often complain to my mother that I had nothing to wear. She would look at my overflowing closet and tell me, "You have plenty to wear. You just need to find new ways to wear it." She encouraged me to do what she had done for years when she needed to bring new life to her wardrobe -- flip through fashion magazines and look for photo spreads featuring pieces that resembled items she already owned. By looking at the creative ways that other people chose to style similar pieces, she became inspired to wear her old pieces in exciting new ways -- without having to go shopping.

With our economy in its current condition, and the prices of all things, both necessary and luxurious, on the rise, it seems considerably more fiscally responsible to find fun new ways to wear what we already own than to go crazy buying a bunch of new pieces. Rather than succumbing to the desire to buy all new things as we enter autumn, I’d say it makes a lot more sense to buy just a few pieces, if any at all, that help us to play up the great pieces that we already own. That being said, if we’re not going to go shopping for clothes, we are definitely going to need to go shopping for inspiration. And that is why I want to tell you guys about Wardrobe Remix.

Wardrobe Remix is a Flickr community that was created several years ago by a San Francisco based artist and crafter named Tricia Royal. Tricia established Wardrobe Remix because she believes that "the best stylists walk the streets, not the photo sets, nor the backstage of the runways. The real style innovators are you and me: real, fashionable people, men and women alike." When we consider the fact that fashion designers and stylists often derive their inspiration from looking at what people are already wearing, and how they are wearing them, we can see that fashion is as influenced as it is influential -- and we can come to understand that we have as much, if not more, to learn from each other about fashion as we have to learn from any number of fashion magazines.

Members of Wardrobe Remix take pictures of their entire outfit, head to toe, and post the pics along with explanations of where they sourced their pieces, what inspired their outfit and so on. The outfits often feature vintage pieces, but they are as likely to contain elements that are brand new or handmade.

What I love about Wardrobe Remix is the fact that it allows you to take a look at the many different ways people interpret both the trends and the classics, and to learn a lot from different peoples takes on the same things. While one remixer may choose to be overt in her wearing of menswear-inspired clothing -- let’s say a fedora, untucked button down dress shirt, vest, baggy khaki pants and jazz shoes -- another may wear a very similar vest with a high-waisted skirt, bow-necked blouse, and sweet little high heels. The variety of ways that we can wear our pieces are nearly endless, and the incredibly cute and creative ways that the girls and guys in Wardrobe Remix choose to continually mix up and reinterpret their own pieces helps us to see that.

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Some Remixers only post on occasion or post a few times and then disappear forever, while others -- like Piksi who is seen in a photo montage from ArtOfTheSteal.com -- regularly post pictures of their outfits. By scrolling through their individual photostreams, which you can access by clicking on their pictures once you access the site, you can learn a lot about how Remixers manage to keep their outfits looking fresh while rewearing a lot of the same pieces. Sometimes just adding different accessories can make it seem that someone is wearing an entirely new piece when they have simply taken a favorite old dress and accessorized it with a different scarf, purse, belt and tights. It’s all about getting creative with what you have and realizing that the good stuff is oftentimes already sitting in your closet. I mean, that’s why you bought it, right? -- TaRosa Jacobs

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