DIY this Fall!

By Karen R. Smith


There are some years in fashion where you just have to run out and buy the new stuff -- because it is absolutely innovative, totally different than anything you own. But in other years, you can purchase just a single piece or two and make do with the rest of your wardrobe from last year.

This year, the boldest news in fashion is the smallest details, and it is precisely those small details that you can DIY with ease, changing clothes you already have into of-the-minute styles with just a little time and effort.


If you’re a hippie or gypsy in terms of fashion, get thee forth to the nearest fabric store (my favorite is SAS on Speedway!) and start looking at tassels. Big tassels, small tassels, trim with tassels by the yard…

Tassels actually started appearing two years ago on the runways, but it’s been in the months since that they have taken over the bohemian sector of the industry. Thread several onto a plain hoop earring and you’ll be copying half the styles in the department store jewelry counters -- at a fraction of the cost.

Don’t stop with earrings. Did you buy one of those off-the-shoulder tops this past year? Bring it into the moment by adding tassels along the neckline, or the edges of the sleeves. If you choose a tassels-by-the-yard trim, this will take all of four minutes at your sewing machine and the look is rich.

Last year’s wrap skirts do not have the same proportion of the new ones for 2018, but instead of retiring them, tassel them and bring them into the new gypsy moment. Big individual tassels look marvelous along a hem.

And don’t forget your accessories -- update a boot or bag with one giant tassel and it will look like the best of the new collections!


While a tassel or two will suit this style, where you contemporary ladies want to concentrate this season is with pearls. Because every designer is showing pearl embellishments, and you can easily DIY the look.

Simplest and truly elegant, just swap out the buttons on one of your white mantailored shirts for pearl buttons. This is truly subtle, and looks as good under a business suit as it does over a pair jeans.

For a bit more pizzazz, head to the fabric store and buy large individual pearls and a heavy duty needle -- the kind they sell for canvas repairs and such -- and a spool of button or craft thread. Take a look at the Gucci pearled booties (and everybody else’s) and then attack a tired pair of yours. Those velvet anklets that have wear spots? Pearl them. Or those stretch booties that lost their oomph? Pearl those too.

While you’re buying those big individual pearls, get enough to scatter over a pair of black dress pants. Or jeans. Or a denim skirt.

Embrace the sock trend with inexpensive pairs, and then pearl the edges. For this, you can buy tiny seed pearls by the yard, and attach them to any fabric edge with a simple overhand stitch.  Use the same tiny pearls down the side seams of your jeans.

Bring your oldest sweaters into the new season with a pearl or two,,,or scatter hundreds. The choice is yours!


If your look is glam, you will want to embrace embroidered details this season, on just about everything if the designers are guessing right! If you know how, start stitching. If you don’t, start looking at embroidered appliques, which are how the rest of us capture the look without the skillset!

Amazon has a huge selection of embroidered appliques, and even an amature can stitch them into a shirt or run a dozen of them down the leg of a pair of jeans. Dress a blazer by covering the lapels with embroidered roses, or cover a beat up pair of booties with tiny embroidered star appliques! You can sew them on, or use a fabric glue. Check the adhesives for washabiity/dry clean ability to make a choice you can live with.


If you’re looking for a down home wardrobe, you don’t need anything new this year. The shredded trend continues to be strong, and now includes ripping the edges of everything and anything.

Buy a pair of wide legged jeans at one of the thrift stores, and make them current buy cutting to capri length and just leaving the edges raw. Do the same to your sleeves and your shirts will look new too!

Personally, I’ve got a fairly eclectic style, so you’ll see me stocking up on just about everything at SAS -- this is the season to DIY!

About the Author:
Karen R. Smith is an award-winning journalist and publicist. Her book, "Stylishly Sexy" is available online and she takes private style clients throughout Arizona and across the country. Visit her at