3 Ways to Create Truly Original Red Carpet Couture

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Nicole Longstreath is on a mission to save women from the dysfunctional shopping experience. She is a virtual wardrobe stylist working with women across the globe to build personal brands that command attention and influence. She believes that all women are entitled to their own, unique brand of personal style, regardless of age, size, shape or amount of disposable income. And that's why we've asked her to be our red carpet host for our upcoming awards show!

This week, she helps to get you ready for our big bash honoring the best in handmade... all on a budget.

For a long time, I didn't think that the annual "Fashion Week" season was applicable to me.

Even as a wardrobe stylist, it never really held my interest. For one, my clients are women focused on their career - trying to create an authentic brand that goes from work to play. They're just not really interested in making the absolute latest trends a priority. Plus, the clothing of Fashion Week is very expensive, well out of my financial reach, and most of it is so impractical.

Or, so I thought.

This year I decided to stop snubbing and take a look. To my surprise, what I found was totally applicable and inspirational to my life. Although I might not be buying any official Fall 2014 couture, it doesn't mean that I can't use it to create something truly special for my wardrobe. I'm crafty and I love being a designer. And I've got wicked-good imaginary skills. So when Sharon and KC from The Academy of Handmade asked me to host a red carpet event for their upcoming first annual awards show, I gave them a very enthusiastic "yes!" and immediately decided I was going to create my own couture for the event. After all, I am nominated with my collaborative partner for a "Best Blogging or Website (Business Focus)" Award, and I definitely want to impress.

If you're also attending the Academy of Handmade Awards ceremony April 26th, here are 3 ways you can create your own red carpet look:

Original Creations

Are you a ninja with a sewing machine? If so, why not make your own dress from a pattern?! Making an original creation means that you get to pick the garment shape and material - full design control. If you love vintage designs, but don't want to actually buy someone's old dress, cruise Etsy for vintage patterns.

In addition to simply sewing a dress from a pattern, you could go full-on Pretty in Pink and create something truly original from a few different pieces. Just don't cut up any heirlooms, like a grandmother's wedding dress.

Now, if you're making your own couture, you'll need a dress form. But there's no need to go buy a custom one, just make one yourself - it's easy!

A Little Bit of Everything

Maybe wearing just one piece - like a gown - isn't the way you want to go. Maybe your personal style is a bit more eclectic and you want that represented in your look. For this, I suggest going with multiple pieces. The great thing about this is that you can include a nice array: vintage, secondhand, thrifted, brand new, handmade.

This is actually the route I'm going with my look for the Academy of Handmade Awards.

Back in the day, I was so inspired by Sharon Stone's 1998 red carpet look that featured a white button-down shirt and a satin skirt. Although I don't intend to copy the look completely, I'm pairing a yellow, secondhand button-down shirt with a full skirt that I'm sewing. I'm a novice seamstress, so I went with a pattern that was very simple. Here's a peek at my inspiration for this look:


Gowns Off the Rack

Sometimes you just need something easy. Maybe working with clothing just isn't your thing, maybe you don't have time for another project on your plate - nobody's judging! If you just need something you can put on and wear, then no one said you need to create a sartorial masterpiece. To find a gown off the rack, you can search just about anywhere.

Thrift stores may not be the best place for this if you don't have the time or resources to re-work a gown, but you can still find secondhand gowns in great condition on eBay. If you are under a size 8, vintage gowns may be a very good option for you (sadly, plus size vintage garments are next to impossible to find).

Which ever route you choose with your attire for the awards show, definitely make it a great statement about yourself and your brand. Everyone will be watching!

Thanks Nicole for dropping so much knowledge and inspiration on us! You can find her at her home base, theWardrobeCode.com, on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.