Thursday, October 18, 2012

DIY: Anthropologie Style Part 2

I promise you I'm not wearing some make-shift neck brace for an insurance scam. Our fall mornings have been just crisp enough for a little scarf-age. Of the neck-swallowing variety. Outfit details: belt and hair clip: Anthropologie, sale room (I don't even bother with the rest of the place); boots: Frye; scarf: Germany; dress: Anthropologie-copy made by me!

So I once heard in a meeting that the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. I have many a problem, but my biggest one of all is (drum roll, puh-lease): Starting 5,000 projects. And finishing one. 

I blame it on my begats disease. As in, one idea births, or, begats another. For example, my students are currently learning about how the first hot air balloon flew over Paris. Which begat the (unfinished) Hot Air Balloon Applique Dress. But there were a few hiccups in that project, so my frustration begatted (?) another Halloween dress. Which begat-a-micated a third Halloween dress. This one with a skull fabric. And then I saw these amazing skull flower pots on pinterest which lead to the begatimacation of some Day of the Dead painting. 

And when all of that became too overwhelming, I decided to feed my other addiction: online shopping. At which point I stumbled upon the above dress at In the sale section of course. What a dream dress for an art teacher, right? But for $129 (and that's the sale price, people!) I declaired: "I can make that!" and another idea was begat's'ed.

Oh sad, rumbled Target dress. I thrifted you for a mere $7.99 but your boringness put you at the back of my closet.
What's that? You wanna make a Anthro-knock-off? Lemme tell you, it is so stinkin' easy. Here's what you need:
  • demin-ish dress. Or really any dress that's drab and just sitting around in your closet unworn
  • fabric paint. I picked up Tulip Soft Fabric Paint in Matte Sunshine Yellow, Marine Blue, Turquoise, Chocolate, Linen Matte and Azalea at Joann's. By the way, never go in there without coupons: they have a mailing list (get on it), feature them in the Sunday papers, they take all competitors coupons and they offer 15% teacher discounts.
  • paint brushes. Duh.
Now you might recall that this isn't the first time I've tried my hand at replicating Anthro looks. I made a copy of another too-expensive sale dress and a pair of sandals. So much of their clothing has a DIY look about it that it's easy to mimic.

Now I have to tell you, I am not an abstract painter. In fact, not long ago, I took a class on painting abstractly and the instructor laughed at my work. Laughed, I tell you! So I was a little nervous painting on this dress. I attempted to copy the Anthro dress at first...but that was...boring. After I started loosening up, I thought of my amazing kindergarten abstracts and realized: if they can do it, so can I!
I really enjoyed painting with the Tulip fabric paint. It worked just like acrylic. In some cases, I had to brush on two coats but that seemed to add to the dry-brush-stroke look. I used the brightest of colors like yellow and turquoise, for accents.
And then I went all crazy town and splatter painted my shoes. This is, of course, what the students liked best. I used the same fabric paint just diluted a pinch to make it more splatter-able. You can see more DIY shoe madness here , here, and here.
The fabric paint is dry within four hours. After 72 hours, it can be washed. But I was too excited to wait that long. I spent two evenings painting it (I had to allow paint to dry before painting other areas. That slowed me down a bit). Just enough time away from the other 4,999 projects I've yet to finish.
Today a kindergartener said to me, "Mrs. Stephens, your legs are purple!" To which I replied, "That's what happens when you eat too many grapes." Looking at me in horror and taking a step back she whispered, "...really?"
I gotta tell you, painting this dress was a lot of fun. I hope you'll be inspired to do the same! And save yourself $129 while you are at it. Thanks for dropping by!


  1. Great look! My daughter dresses exclusively from op-shops (she became quite thrifty when she got her first job & became responsible for her own clothing!) and even made herself a dress out of an old pillowcase because she liked the fabric! I'll end her your link, I know she'll love this, especially the stockings :)

    1. I would love to see your daughter's creations, please send me the link when you get the chance!

  2. I love you, Cassie. You are the best!!! This dress is just amazingly exactly like the Anthro one! I can't even imagine how much your students love being in your class.

    1. Aw, thank you, Jenny! You are too sweet.

  3. Love how your dress came out!!! How dare that teacher laugh at you! :0 Great quote from your kinder!

  4. Your dress is sensational! More painterly than the Anthro dress, and the colors are amazing. Yours looks like the design inspiration, and the other like an imitation. The light in the last picture captures the whole composition perfectly.

  5. Yup, love the purple tights with this outfit. I have purple tights! I will have to hold a little closet styling session.

  6. mallory10/22/2012

    I LOVE that dress, you are inspiring me right now!

  7. I'm smiling at the little girl and the too many grapes! Classic!

  8. Anonymous11/14/2012

    OMG...I am an elem art teacher as well. You have a wonderful attitude and I love how you have fun with the kids. Your humor is hilarious. That sounds exactly what I would tell a kid. I love making them laugh AND think! Love your blog!!!


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