Scissor Sisters

Over the weekend I met my husband at Cowboys & Angels, where he gets his hair cut not often enough.

I’m wearing this:

• Tan Current/Elliott cords, sliced at the knee

• Denim Current/Elliot cropped biker jacket, slit at both shoulders and one elbow

• Grey + white Black Crane tank dress, chopped shorter in front to create a top

• Isabel Marant black + white Bekket wedges (left alone, thank god)

His stylist, Rory, loves my pants and asks if they came with the sliced knee.  I tell her no, that I cut them myself. I point out my sleeveless-T, which was formerly a long-sleeved dress. I proceed to put on my jacket and show her how I cut that up too. She wants me to teach her how I do this, and asks if I can come back and cut up some of her clothes for her.

You get how ironic this is, right? She cuts things, in this case hair, for a living. She spends eight hours a day using scissors. She studied at Bumble+Bumble and is an Allure Magazine best stylist and she’s asking me to help her cut clothes.

My desire, as Tim Gunn would say, to “make it work” plus my supreme laziness (sewing is too much work) means I spend hours on my bathroom floor altering my clothes with nothing more than a pair of drugstore scissors. Since I’ve always loved the deconstructed clothing styles of Comme Des Garcons, Undercover, and Martin Margiela, unfinished hems and ragged edges “work” for me. The process goes something like this, based on the clothing category:

Pants: If I’m tired of them, I can first slash the knee to toughen them up. If I’m not happy with the outcome, the slice becomes a full-on cut, turning the pants into knee-length shorts. If I’m happy, I stop.  If not, I cut higher to create short-shorts, which also means they rarely see daylight as those days, sadly, are over. The above cords made the first cut.

Dress: If I’m tired of it, I can hack the bottom to form a top.  I do this a lot to great success. See above.

Top: If I’m over the sleeves, I can chop them off to form a tank. Since I like boat-neck collars, I end up broadening neck holes to create this effect.

Shoes/Boots: Yes, I’ve even taken scissors to kicks. When I’m tired of the silhouette, I’ll cut out the toe. This often requires an X-Acto knife for back-up. My first attempt was to a pair of Lanvin flat black knee-high boots. The open-toe boot trend hadn’t happened yet, so it was really risky in so many ways. Thank god I loved the result. I like to think I started that trend, at least in my own mind.

So the next time you grow bored with a particular item in your closet and you need a change, grab your scissors and give it a cut. Just remember that unlike hair, if you don’t like the outcome, it won’t grow back.

2 Responses


    Words of wisdom from one with such effortless style. So gutsy.. I love it. The whole look is balanced with the amazing Marant sneakers. Maybe I’ve got to give my DIY a bump to the next level.. Great post.

    Love, Jen

  2. Paula

    Thanks Jen! It really is fun and trust me, I have sweated many bullets over certain attempts (those boots for one.) And you are right, balance is key. Head-to-toe rags is a problem. xoxo

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