Make an Old Dress New, Vol. II

This time its lifespan has a few more years under its belt


I still refuse to purchase a by-modern-definition new dress, namely because I wear pants every day but also because, like I said the last time I tried to force a renaissance onto a garment, I’m sick of buying stuff. This is precisely where the birth of a new series on Man Repeller came to fruition.

In the first installment, I took last season’s (and therefore not that old) Simone Rocha white eyelet, knee-length, short sleeve dress and turned it into a glorified blouse. It’s gotten colder, though, and colder means layers, which took me back to the foxhole that is my closet where I found a so-light-blue-it’s-almost-silver (but only in the same way Richard Gere’s hair is) strapless dress by Camilla and Marc.

I bought it on Shopbop in 2009, which was roughly a year before I christened my relationship with digital shopping carts. It was three markdowns on sale, which, according to the rules of “Final Sale” meant that if it didn’t fit me properly, our life together was over, but even more devastatingly, that I couldn’t even recuperate the $139 I spent.

Luckily for both of us, we went together like lamb and tuna. So I wore it. Several times, in fact, to any slightly dressy event this city would take me to and now, four years later, sometimes I look at it and wonder if it feels like a prostitute. Like I used it and used it and then forgot it and never even so much as thought about calling, let alone sending it flowers. So I took it off its hanger, tossed it on my bed and started the restoration process.

First (as photographed here) I wore it with a white button down blouse that features fun nuances like two thick black bands across the sleeves and a plaid collar to make it seem slightly less formal, though not entirely inappropriate. While I paired the set with socks and pumps, I would bet socks and brogues might work really well with this, too. The oversize handbag is by Reece Hudson and, again, reminds me of a pillow. A PILLOW!

If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can always try your luck with a regular t-shirt (all regular t-shirts say Tomato on them — it’s a known fact) and a menswear-style, double-breasted blazer which will look really neat with knee high boots that feature side fringe so that every time you walk, you’re compelled to stop, dance, and yell, “Oh shit, this is my beat.”

So say it with me now: “Oh shit, this my beat.”

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  • CDJ

    LOVE how you put the items you’re describing below the paragraph! My finger was really getting sore from all the scrolling.

    • Leandra Medine

      happy to hear it! am now also hyperlinking captions in the slideshow with credz and what not.

      • CDJ

        awesome. so FAWNCY.

  • I love both of these looks — especially the first one. I am super into your black ankle socks after you mentioned them on Twitter a while back and then proceeded to wear them with your Supergas. And that button-down isn’t too different from the Asos one, right? We use that should we want a plaid collar.

  • Hereshoping Themayanswereright

    I adore it with the button down…one of your most charming outfits.

  • Oliver Lips

    “Oh shit, this my beat!” Now the only thing missing are my fringe knee-high boots, for guys of course.

  • Natali

    You’re always such an inspiration!

  • Courtney

    Do you just wear what literally feels good on your bod, or is there some other kind of metaphorical “matching” that takes place? Do you hate matching? What’s your recipe? I grew up in the South, where your bag, shoes and eyeshadow had to color coordinate or you’d get the stink eye in church. Thinking of branching out…

    • Leandra Medine

      I really seriously literally DO just wear what feels good on my bod. Sometimes when I’m in not-me gear, this strange sense of urgency to put ripped jeans and a sweater washes over me and then I feel warm on the inside and that feeling of warmness–that’s the secret

      • Courtney

        Well that’s just the best reply ever! I love this blog so much. I almost squealed when I saw you replied! Yippa dee doo dah!

  • “Oh shit, this my beat.”

    I’m a new follower of that blog! Saw it on Elle Spain and decided to have a look, I have been reading every post since a week, and I laugh so much!!
    You’re all funny writers, and I love it!
    (well, and the fact that you are from NY! ;))

  • Ohhh … Tomato-Blazer-Boots … wonderful!

  • Selena Aponte

    Don’t ever get rid of this dress, truly one of a kind and (as you have solidified) ridiculously versatile.

  • Hannah

    Leandra! Check out a photo of you in that fabulous red suit on h&m life!! “A Suitable Lady”

  • Lauren Macready

    OMG! 2nd CDJ! Love the visual images of the items! Xxx

    Check out my latest 2nd hand and vintage items here:

  • Seema Gohil

    Love the looks and the new installment! We hate FINAL SALE too and thought a way to make an old dress new would be to rent it between fellow fashion lovers! So its always new to someone…and you get to buy a new outfit from the rental.

  • This is definitely going to be a great series and a great excuse to go back into my old closet…

    Your Friend, Jess

  • B.

    I just took unpacked my winter clothes boxes and its empty now because summer clothes are obviously winter clothes too. I mean I will OBVI just be wearing the dresses over jeans and now button ups and tshirts. Thanks, Leandra.


  • Overmycloset

    Oh so many prostitute-dresses hanging on my closet.. being a much more classy and afraid-of-layering kinda girl, I must try your recipe. Just to see how much of a CPR do they need for salvation.
    You’ll see my bored-fashion-kingdom here:

    • Overmycloset

      I meant classic, not classy. Ahaha.

  • monkeyshines
  • Pualani@TheRustedKey

    There are few things great than finding a new purpose/love for something you’re getting bored of or thinking about tossing. I have a dress that I absolutely hate and my friends already know what I mean when I say “the ugly dress,” but after looking at some layering tips, I wore it under a skirt and I magically loved it again.

  • I’m not particularly fond of the dress, but I love the white and tartan shirt, as well as the grey coat.

    Mafalda ❤

  • Houney

    You picked some really nice dress styles! I don’t wear dresses very often but this has inspired me to be a little more outgoing with them! diamond supply co

  • a.n.a.l.u

    I love this, especially because is not an “everyday” dress, but you made it casual. Seems like something I must try.


  • Oda

    i have a question, though about dresses in general I suppose. there’s gonna be a prom at my uni soon and apparently this one is important (why proms are important in med school I ask myself daily). I’m from Europe so I’m not used to this whole prom tradition the US has got going on and I never went to a proper one. what do I wear? prom dresses are awful? prom heels are awful? i kinda want to put on my cut out balenciagas, but my friends kindly told me no. do you have any ideas on how to possibly do this?

    • Leandra Medine

      Don’t run it by your friends! Wear the outfit you want to tell a story about, girl.

    • Sasha Leon J

      oh my gosh girl, totally wear those cutout balenciagas!! wear a flowy midi dress and they’ll look amazeballs. I promise you.

  • Hayley Mitchell-Gardner

    omg that dress is beautiful! Im loving both of those outfits! the first one is my fave though 🙂

    Hayley xx

  • sarah

    i did buy aforementioned purchase on final sale on s-bop, and not only did the shoes fit weirdly, but i decided they were downright ugly and beneath me ( in the sense that they looked cheaper than i wanted to)…need post on what the hell to do with ugly duckling orphan shoes in the robe. help seriously, and then “oh shit, this my beat”

    • Leandra Medine

      eBay, man! It’s a magical place.

      • sarah

        well yes there’s that ( actually not in my country, but similar), but i mean in a styling sense, because if furkenstocks can be deemed chic, then surely some of our other ugly shit can too….post it you repellant one. please?

  • Une petite Bruxelloise

    Hahaha, thanks Leandra for the inspirational post!!!

  • alejandra

    i love how you are clutching on to your blazer for its’ dear life because you are not using the sleeves lololol

  • I LOVE the second look – with the graphic tee, blazer and boots it’s so edgy glam. But, the first look is a little too out there for me. Dresses are pieces i keep for a long time. I have a HARD time purging them – they are, you know, a top and a bottom which also justifies the cost for me on most occasions.

    xo, Nina

  • myblissisthisway

    I miss seeing you in an outfit like this.. Gorgeous as usual!

  • the coattail effect

    I must be running a brothel in my closet with all the dresses I wore only once though I swore our love was the real thing

  • Van Heusen

    nice dress……
    Van Heusen Shirts

  • Hahahaha! I love how you described the knee high boots. Definitely something I’d do with all that fringe on the side of me.

  • arin antoine

    you have such an incredible eye for textures. Love this series!! love it!