DIY (But don’t sometimes.)
I have to start by saying that today’s age has made me hate acronyms and abbreviations. I think it’s rude to assume everyone knows what the sam you’re saying. While you save time and brain wrinkles not spelling out words, the rest of us live in a fog until we can get to a computer with google because our flip-phone is the intellectually challenged cousin of the smart phone. That’s right. I’m 28. Literally a child of technological revolution, social media and the information super highway (kids today are like whaaaat? The internet….it’s the internet.) Still, I refuse to upgrade. For that, I feel my brain continues to function well in manual and I am present in life for things like stimulating conversations and enjoying a rainbow through my eyeballs instead of an instagram square from my camera phone. But on with it before I start to wrinkle, acquire 80 years of piss and vinegar and really start to complain about kids these days.
Aside from my seemingly turn of the century mobile (hey, I can text tweet), I am a with-it person. Pretty quick. Down with it. But like any human I have had moments. Two maybe. The day I finally voiced how sick I was of seeing that feat. guy in everyone’s music videos, I got schooled by my roommate that feat. meant featuring…after she stared at me for 30 seconds trying to figure out if I was for real. Yeah. I was for real.
So when my soon-to-be-sister-in-law kept referring to things as DIY, I would just nod my head and be like, “Oh, yeah, cool!” and then wonder why in the world I haven’t heard of them. I would rack my brain through new designers I’ve seen in Vogue. A store? Target’s featured brand? No, no. Just a lovely new way of dumbing down a complex set of words: Do. It. Yourself. Now that I figured that out, I’m glad to be a participating member of society once again.
Growing up we had other words for DIY. Crafty. Resourceful. I feel like it was less trendy and cool back then, though. I didn’t sell a whole lot of old rummage clip-on earrings with my own puffy paint designs no matter how many doors I knocked on. I think that particular enterprise made me 47 cents and some Dutch mints. For a short stint in high school I used Hello Kitty bandaids to hold together rips in my jeans…and my mother was a seamstress. Sometimes I’d just wear one on the knee of my jeans even if there was no hole. I thought it seemed cool. Nouveau. It never really took off.
It got me thinking, though, of DIYs that probably should never have been DIY-ed. Taking a scissors to clothing seemed to be a reoccurring theme in my thought process. My dad loves to cut the sleeves off almost anything. I now have to preface with “don’t cut the sleeves off this” after a few things I’ve bought him underwent Ron shirt surgery. The man hates sleeves. Tumors for shirts.
In college, destroyed jeans were huge. Hollister and Abercrombie had to have made a killing from student overage checks those years. It was a trend that gave my grandmother heart palpitations and possible night-sweats. “You mean those are brand new?! You paid for them! I could just give you some of grandpa’s work jeans.” If you asked for some for Christmas, believe you were NOT getting them. The alternative to paying was…of course…to DIY. Grab a scissors, some sandpaper, do your thing then throw them in the wash a couple times. The whole idea was alright. I didn’t mind a little distress in my jeans for a certain look, but I realized the trend had no chance at longevity or dignity the day one of the most consistently inebriated girls on campus wore hers to a basketball game. It was basically a belt with some dangly stuff that wrapped around the legs a few places. Either they were just really worn out (which, feel free to throw away then) or she was the kid in first grade who always ended up over-cutting her construction paper hearts (not so much a heart anymore). She was asked to leave. I assume to find actual pants.
For me, taking a scissors to clothing has always been a wrong and unpleasant experience. I should have just stuck with that sentiment. But one night before us girls went out I had this great idea to turn one of my favorite t’s into a cropped I-don’t-know-what to wear over a tank. Cropped was in and so were Ed Hardy cut up t-shirts. A few weeks later looking at pictures, I blamed my roommate for letting me go out like that. She said she didn’t know what I was doing, but thought I had a vision. “Yeah, it wasn’t your best idea,” she said. No, it wasn’t. It should have been somewhere with a can of pledge dusting a coffee table. It will perpetually haunt me.
Really, unless it’s Ed Hardy or any denim between 2003 and 2006, a good rule of thumb is just to trust the intentions of the person who made it. If there isn’t a gaping, frayed hole right below your butt cheek, it’s probably because there shouldn’t be. And if your jacket isn’t crop rows of crystal studs, it’s probably because you’re not a disco ball. But shooting up your clothing within an inch of it’s life with a Bedazzler is possibly a whole other story altogether.