Finding a way to wear something backwards and make it look like it was meant to be that way is my joie de verve. Well, one of them anyway. I get a thrill knowing I’m doing something that wasn’t intended. It’s how I get to feel like a rebel when actually, I’m just a nice girl from Fargo, North Dakota.
Inspired by my wearable art years
As a sewer back in the wearable art chapter of my life, fabric stores were what the Container Store is to me now: crack cocaine. I never drove by a fabric store without stopping and shopping. Sometimes I’d pull a bolt of fabric off a shelf, put it on the cutting table of the store, and realize I loved the “inside” of the fabric more than the outside.
That happened with a deep indigo denim fabric I found in Morro Bay when we were living on the Central Coast. The “wrong” side of the fabric was a pinky shade of denim. I wasn’t sure how I’d use it but it went in my stash.
The day arrived when I’d put that fabric to use. When dear four-year-old Erin lost the coat we’d purchased for her a week earlier, I decided I’d make her a coat using that dark indigo fabric. I’d use the pinky side for most of the coat and the indigo side would be used for the front and back yokes. I’d sew her name inside of it so if it got left on a playground someone would find it and possibly return it. I mean really, could someone named Mary Jeanne Laude pick up a coat that said Erin Maja Kinsel in big letters and wear it?
Did I giggle inside because I was breaking the rules and using the wrong side of the fabric? Oh yeah, you betcha! Did I think of my mother when I labored over that coat and Erin never wore it? Oh yeah, you betcha, but I still had fun making it. It serves a great purpose in our home. It decorates the door handle of the front hall coat closet in our home. Every time anyone comes over and Erin’s there, she grabs her coat and shows everybody. It wasn’t appreciated at the time but she’s very fond of it as an adult.
(Read about the coat Mom made for me and my horrible teen attitude about it…before I realized it was so cool!)
Let’s move on to backward dressing for the modern woman!
How I work “backwards” into my outfits
Here’s how this backward obsession played out this month. Remember my post about the versatile Misook jacket I styled three ways? What I didn’t highlight at the time were the backward parts.
This is how I wore the Misook slate gray knit tank with the multi-topstitch Misook jacket and the long Sol Sister pendant. Nice, right? The knit tank totally picks up the gray topstitch parts.
Here’s my secret: I’m wearing the tank backwards in order to create a higher neck. Why? Because I wanted the tank to be as long as possible in order to accentuate the equally long pendant. Long and lean, that’s what I wanted.
Here’s how the tank looks worn the right way. It’s more of a high scoop neck.
It’s fine with the jacket but it wasn’t quite right with the pendant. With the tank backwards, the necklace was just right. See how it looks when it’s all together?
Turing a necklace to the wrong side so it’s just right with a different outfit
In one of the versions where I’m wearing the Misook topstitch jacket, I wore a crinkled Petit Pois longsleeved T-shirt.
Remember this outfit? This was my urban interpretation using the Misook jacket. I love the color thread of the mushroom T-shirt, the dark mushroom Calleen Cordero handbag, and my olive Lanvin booties. Talk about joie de verve!
I knew I wanted a necklace but the long pendant was not going to be it. I wanted to add urban texture to the neck. I got the idea to use my gunmetal colored necklace with rows of round metal disks that makes it look like an Elizabethan collar (if you use your imagination).
Except that I wanted to use the back side of it. The front side has the disks, the backside looks like mesh chainmail.
What made me want to wear it this way? I love how the necklace mimics the top-stitching on the jacket. Isn’t that cool? The round discs would have been a distraction!
Oh, the joy of getting dressed! Finding joy may mean showcasing the backside of things. Plus, you get the bonus of feeling like you’re breaking rules and not getting caught. What’s more fun than that?
Do you break rules when you’re getting dressed? Please share your secrets so we can all be rulebreakers together!
Ida MaeDecember 12, 2017 at 6:56 am
Reminds me of being in high school in the early 80’s. I had a cardigan I wore backwards. I thought I was “all that AND a bag of chip”. LOL
BrendaDecember 12, 2017 at 8:28 am
And I bet you were!!! I too tried to think up stuff when I was in high school. I do believe there’s something about being the age I am that’s bringing out that rebellious nature again. It’s my Act 2 or more likely, my Act 12-1/2. Time does march on! Thanks for sharing!
TamiDecember 12, 2017 at 7:20 am
I’ve been following your blog for a short time. I have never commented on anyone’s blog before, but I really feel the need to say this to you. Thank you. I am seeing a lot of things differently because of this blog entry. I’m in my late 50’s, I make jewelry and it’s helped me to look at that differently also. So.. thank you 🙂
BrendaDecember 12, 2017 at 8:26 am
Tami, you are more than welcome. And welcome to the blog!! We’re a great group over here. I learn new things every day from readers! Maybe you’ll teach us a thing or two about jewelry, too. In any case, it’s fun to have you here.
Brenda NDecember 12, 2017 at 7:55 am
Hi Brenda, first of all, I love this jacket & the whole outfit is very sharp. I especially like the reverse of your disk necklace. Like you, I often wear my tanks & tees backwards, especially if the scoop or V-neck is too revealing. It also gives you that nice canvas for any necklace type. I had a favorite cardigan that I preferred to wear reversed, I liked the buttons down the back. Finally, a friend had the cutest little lace jacket on this weekend, with a zipper up the front, she revealed that it was actually on backwards. I say why not, try it you might like it. 🙂
BrendaDecember 12, 2017 at 8:25 am
I love your backwards fashion spirit! What a great idea wearing the cardigan with the buttons up the back. I’m running to my closet right now!!!
Sandra Sallin-Apart From My ArtDecember 12, 2017 at 8:10 am
Oh, you’re so much fun. Wear it backwards? Not on purpose. Sometimes I wear tops backwards without really realizing it. Does that count? Love the way you put it all together. Backwards or forwards you always get it right. Do wish you lived next door.
BrendaDecember 12, 2017 at 8:24 am
Oh, you’re so funny! I haven’t to my knowledge worn something backwards without intending it to be that way but I did run around all day in a top that was inside out. And also, wore a vintage Chanel sweater to an art event inside out. Do they count? Wish I lived next door too. What fun we’d have!
AnnDecember 12, 2017 at 11:00 am
I have often turned tanks as you did to get a slightly higher neck….sometimes it just works better! Clearly the backwards thing is something I’ve done all my life. When my mom would come in to wake me in the morning, sometimes I’d be sleeping with my head at the foot of the bed, and my jammies would be inside out or backwards. When she would ask why I did that I’d say “why not? it’s boring doing things the same all the time”…..
BrendaDecember 18, 2017 at 11:13 am
You’re a true genius! Love your response! I think we should be doing things out of the ordinary. If not now, when?
KathyDecember 12, 2017 at 2:20 pm
I adore Erin’s jacket. Interesting take on inside out and backwards dressing. Thinking out of the box is a good cerebral stretch.
BrendaDecember 18, 2017 at 11:14 am
Love those words: cerebral stretch. I think you’re right!
Trinnie QDecember 12, 2017 at 10:16 pm
So gorgeous, all of it! I am going to look at my clothes differently now!!! I love the little Erin Jacket! What a clever mum ! Sending love at this busy time, to you all X, love from Oz xxxx
BrendaDecember 18, 2017 at 11:15 am
That jacket was a labor of love and even though she didn’t appreciate it at the time, it is awfully gratifying that she appreciates it now! Love to you in Oz!!
JanDecember 12, 2017 at 11:15 pm
Back in the eighties when my best friend and I were in our teens, we discovered that the fabric of the pockets in our jeans was just beautiful. We turned the jeans inside out and put them on backwards with the buttons on the back. Then we drove to the city center by bus and walked through the shops like this. Together we felt so brave and daring.
Since then I have never worn anything backwards, because the clothes didn´t fit right that way.
BrendaDecember 18, 2017 at 11:16 am
Oh my gosh, how I wish I’d have seen this in person! Brilliant! Thanks for sharing that visual image!
Mary Ann DoerzbacherDecember 13, 2017 at 8:46 am
I have a short torso. Most of the sleeveless tanks reveal way too much cleavage for a lady my age. I am just not comfortable with that. Since the back of some of the tanks are sometimes higher, I turn the tank around to create more of a bateau neckline.
BrendaDecember 18, 2017 at 11:16 am
And I think a bateau neckline is really attractive. Good for you!
Laurice GilbertDecember 16, 2017 at 2:02 pm
Another brilliant idea from my favourite fashion idol. The last few things in my wardrobe that I haven’t managed to make work this year (and are in danger of leaving the family) are going to get turned backwards to see if they get a stay of execution.
BrendaDecember 18, 2017 at 11:38 am
It sounds tense over there. I hope those pieces get that stay of execution! Your imagery has me grinning from ear to ear!
Laurice GilbertDecember 17, 2017 at 1:48 pm
Here’s a story for your Brenda-as-miracle-worker file: I took out a plain black dress that I really love the look of, but had stopped wearing because I never quite felt comfortable in it. It’s on The List for removal (see above). I’ll try it backwards, I thought, and put it on. Holy cow! It’s comfortable – turns out I’ve been wearing it backwards all along! Now, though, I don’t like how it looks (which is probably why I put it on the other way to start with), so I get out another item from The List – a multi-coloured A-frame tunic with a bulky front that I bought because it’s beautiful, but which doesn’t really suit my shape. Put it on backwards over the first item, and more sacred cattle, it looks amazing! Brenda, you are responsible for the saving of 2 perfectly good and beautiful pieces of clothing that have now found each other. Thank you.
BrendaDecember 18, 2017 at 11:40 am
Oh my gosh! I want to come to the wedding. This is a beautiful story!