Before you buy that one shoulder dress….

by jennine on November 14, 2008

Back in 1997, around the time Princess Diana died, one shoulder shirts hit the high street. I was working at a coffee shop back then, and I distinctly remember my co-worker coming in wearing a one shoulder tank. She wore it a few days in a row, and I didn’t want to say anything… but… I think she knew what I was thinking. She leaned over to me and said, “I gotta wear this shirt as much as possible, because it’s going out of style any second.” I laughed… and I never forgot it… and in reality, I’ve subscribed to that logic on many occasions since. One shoulder dresses and shirts, actually never went out of style… heck, I just posted a SS09 collection loaded with one shoulder dresses. And I’ve been seeing them all over the internet. I’ve been thinking, ‘Hey… they just look like a skirt worn diagonal.’ So I tried it. Not bad. Then I remembered that I had this pair of tie dye gaucho pants that were huge, so huge, I’d have to eat a lot of banana muffins to fit in them. I don’t know why I bought them aside from I liked the idea of tie dye. So I tried to see if I could wear it as a dress… and it worked.

So before you run out and buy your one shoulder dress, check to see if you haven’t given your gauchos circa 2005 to charity… I”m sure it will work. Heck, I’m going to go foraging through my closet now to see what else I can make into a one shoulder dress, or blouse… and maybe I’ll wear it until it goes out of style any minute from now.

i bet you can wear gauchos like a one shoulder dress…

or… make a skirt into a ruffle shirt

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WendyB November 14, 2008 at 9:40 am

Brilliant DIY.

Separately, people are crazy. I think one-shoulder never goes out of style. It’s even better when not so many people are wearing it. Much better, actually. I have vintage examples from all different decades.

Poochie November 14, 2008 at 9:41 am

You amaze me!


Andrea November 14, 2008 at 10:00 am

Genius! I am going to find my ole gauchos and give it a whirl. ps- i love your booties with the tie-die outfit.

the love artist November 14, 2008 at 10:04 am

this is priceless (& valuable)

thanks jennine

xox tla

Joede November 14, 2008 at 10:18 am

I made a one shoulder poncho a few years ago and everyone thought I was nuts! (Yes, I said poncho). I admit, I still wear it, mainly because it’s green and made from mohair and that’s just about my favorite combination.

Casey November 14, 2008 at 10:19 am

Wow! I love when I see inventive repurposing of other garments into a “trend” piece (did one-shoulder garments ever really go away???). The gaucho-to-dress one is complete genius!

Paulette Wilson November 14, 2008 at 10:22 am

I never thought about making one of my old long skirts into a top. I’m so going to give that a try. I love wearing off the shoulder tops and dresses. However, sometimes wearing a strapless bra isn’t as fun when it drops down to your waist. lol. Yes, it has happen to me.

Melanie November 14, 2008 at 10:37 am

I like the gaucho’s worn as a dress, but because of the button-hole (?) in the skirt, I don’t think it works.
Amazing talent though <3

missmilki November 14, 2008 at 10:50 am

Wow those trousers were huge! Its like on Ugly Betty (last week maybe?) when Amanda turns Betty’s leggings into a skin tight dress - funny stuff!

jennine November 14, 2008 at 11:18 am

@wendy… oh cool… i’m sure you do… are we going to see a post on this?
@andrea… yay! well, thanks… i never thought tie die would look so anti-hippy, and yet, hippy at the same time (recycled clothes)
@joede…oh ponchos were huge! i’m glad you made yours into a dress… it sounds sexy!
@casey… i’m not sure, i think one shoulder has always been lurking around.
@paulette… oh dear! you know i have trouble with strapless bras too… but you know whats strange? i took a pair of spanx tights that had holes in them, and cut off the top, no i used that as a strapless bra, and amazingly, it works way better than any strapless bra i have.
@melanie…yeah, in the pic it doesn’t look as good as it does in real life. i like the slit… maybe i’ll re work it.
@miss oh dear! i miss ugly betty!

Market Publique November 14, 2008 at 11:22 am

Amazing DIY! I wish I had some gaucho pants now! (I never thought I’d ever say that!)

Joede November 14, 2008 at 11:37 am

@jennine Thanks for the tights/bra tip - I’m using that tomorrow for a party I’m going to!

jocelyne November 14, 2008 at 11:43 am

Those pants look amazing as a dress, nicely done!!

Grace November 14, 2008 at 1:50 pm

You are so awesome. I love your creative ideas!

Sonja November 14, 2008 at 1:55 pm

Jennine, you crack me up. I love your writing and how creative you are. I never woulda thought to convert gauchos or a skirt into a shirt. Awesome!

Summershoegal November 14, 2008 at 2:25 pm

OMG I just love the gauchos dress!! I have to go home and try making a top of one of my skirts!!

Cas Ruffin November 14, 2008 at 4:02 pm

Whooooooooaaa at turning pants into a dress. I thought someone told me that they wore a sweater on their legs and all of a sudden, they were drop crotch pants. But I heard wrong. It sounded like it could work in my head.

Hey Jennine, did you get my IFB e-mail?

angela November 14, 2008 at 5:13 pm

yes, i like this gaucho as a skirrt trend.
ms. jane over at sea of shoes also wears hers well:

the shoe girl November 14, 2008 at 7:44 pm

LOVE the gauchos!! Seriously you make that look hot!!

Fashion Fille November 14, 2008 at 7:59 pm

the gauchos look pretty nice! the skirt looks like…well like a skirt worn on one shoulder. i’m gonna try the gauchos thing!

val November 14, 2008 at 8:22 pm

omg fab! one shoulder is definitely in. i just listed a one-shoulder resort 08 prada dress on ebay and it got a ton of interest immediately. i think asymmetry is here to stay

enc November 14, 2008 at 9:38 pm

I’d love to try this. Alas, I don’t have any suitably loose or drapey garments.

Cammielle Rashelle Best November 14, 2008 at 10:00 pm

Omg I love how creative you get with your clothes! Those pants definitly make a better dress. I had to stare at the picture for a few minutes to convince myself that they could have started as pants. Genius.

Allison November 14, 2008 at 10:18 pm

You’re a genius you know that?

Samantha November 14, 2008 at 11:01 pm

Also you can try a really large womens shirt with a slightly larger collar.

jennine November 15, 2008 at 3:53 am

@joede…let me know how that goes! i was pissed that my spanx got ripped, until i figured i could repurpose them somehow.
@cass ooh I’ve fallen behind on IFB emails recently b/c i just started a new job. But working getting all the emails returned this weekend.
@val… yeah, i bet! the one shoulder thing is pretty hot!
@angela… oh dear… i hate it when that happens. thanks for the links.. i only periodically stop by her site, and i didn’t see this. or maybe i did, but i couldn’t remember where b/c there’s a lot of one shoulder bits on the internets. woops.
@enc.. well, the beauty of it, is you can probably find one at a thrift store pretty easy.
@cammile oh yeah… they’re pretty ugly as pants.
@allison… hahahaha you’ve obviously never heard my mall-girl accent. ;)
@samantha… ooh, i think i have that on board i’ll definitely try that!

megan November 15, 2008 at 7:04 am

i love the one shoulder gauchos! so cute!! i love one shoulder tops and dress!!!

daisybabie November 15, 2008 at 7:33 am

what a BRILLIANT idea!

Tavi November 15, 2008 at 9:54 am

This is brilliant! Especially the gauchos.
New rule: pants are not pants until they can be worn as a dress :D

thealchemist November 15, 2008 at 10:58 am

love! you amaze me

SOS! November 15, 2008 at 12:25 pm

that tie dyed one looks amazing! who would have thought.. thank you for another brilliant idea.

Shen-Shen November 15, 2008 at 10:33 pm

The gauchos as a dress is brilliant!

Shay November 16, 2008 at 12:38 am

oh, you rock so much. That is the most inventive thing I’ve seen in ages.

songy November 16, 2008 at 4:22 am

gauchos are beauties. they look like it was designed that way.
I haven’t got any so I’d better hit my local op-shop which is pretty much non existent. :|

Mallory @ MissMalaprop November 16, 2008 at 1:14 pm

When I first saw both of those pictures on Lookbook I never would have suspected that they were gauchos and a skirt. And actually it wasn’t until I read this post that I realized the first one was gauchos! Brilliantly inpsired… I’ve got to admit, I don’t think I ever would have thought to do that.

madam0wl November 16, 2008 at 4:01 pm

Very inspiring! I tried it too!

Eyeliah November 16, 2008 at 5:56 pm

that’s so cute, I just might have some that would work. :-)

susie_bubble November 17, 2008 at 9:07 am

No gauchos unfortunately but I definitely do the skirt/one shouldered thing all the time…

Nanó November 17, 2008 at 11:02 am

Oh I love your tights!

belle fantaisie November 18, 2008 at 3:27 pm

i love your tights<3

Iheartfashion November 22, 2008 at 5:11 pm

i especially love the first dress on you.

freya February 18, 2009 at 7:44 am

this was in style? well, in 1997, i was 7 with no idea about fashion and now i do this often in my bedroom with my skirts and i never knew that this was in style once.

samuel August 18, 2009 at 12:36 am

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fitness girl February 2, 2011 at 1:39 am


You are such a clever girl….
Loved your intuitiveness in dresses. And your boots
it’s beautiful.

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