I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: I would marry Bella Hadid’s off-the-runway stylist if it meant knowing where she got all her clothes. A few months ago, I was doing my daily rounds around Pinterest, when I stumbled upon probably one of my favorite celebrity streetstyle outfits of all time: Bella Hadid in a white cropped backless button down.
I’m no stranger to trimmed button downs, but I’ve definitely never seen that pointed cut on the hem nor that daring back on this kind of top. I immediately did some hunting to find out where I could get it for myself. Jonathan Borge of InStyle made a feature on it in 2017, and after describing why it caught the editorial’s team the way it did, he had a few words about the rest of the top that struck me: “The back is wild too—and looks as though someone took a pair of scissors up to, cut off the fabric, and used the remains to wrap around a bow close to the waistline.” Ding, ding, ding! My inner DIY diva was instantly piqued. The more I looked at it, the more convinced I got that it was something I could definitely make on my own. Afterall, like Borge said, it was essentially just a button down cut in all the right places.
A week and few discarded pieces of cloth later, this is what I ended up with.
Not bad for a top that I made without spending a dime, if I do say so myself! Personally, I knew a full backless top would be a little impractical here in the rainy streets of Manila, so I kept the backside of my own recreation intact and concealed. But for those with a wild side, don’t worry—I’ve got you covered.. or not covered, to be specific. Read on if you want to see how I repeated and documented my whole DIY process on another old button down I had lying around, this time, exactly like Bella’s top! Keep in mind that the top
What you’ll need:
– A button down (the tighter on you, the better)
– A pair of scissors
– * A glue gun/needle and thread/sewing machine/alteration service
1. Start off by laying out your top on a flat surface. If you’re a bit of perfectionist, you can iron it out to make sure it’s wrinkle free before you start the DIY process. But if you’re on the lazy side like me, just be careful HAHA
2. If your top is long/oversized like mine, fold it depending on how short you want your crop top to be. Cut the top following that fold. Keep the excess, we’ll need that for later.
3. Imagine where your chest area is and start cutting 4 inches beneath it. Cut the edges of the top downwards to create rounded tip.
4. Flip out the excess pieces from rounding your edges.
5. Flip the top to its backside.
6. Take 4-5 fingers and place them underneath the collar. Pinch a bit of the fabric with your scissors to create a snip.
7. From that snip, start cutting the fabric in a sort of inverted concave-circle. Don’t worry about rough edges or making it perfect—we’ll fix those later! Leave at least 3 inches of fabric between the seams and your rounded edges to make room for hemming after. The length of this oblong depends on how much of your back you want to expose. The longer/larger, the more skin is shown.
8. Cut the bottom strip in half to create two strips still connected to the top. You’ll be using these 2 strips as ties to be wrapped around your waist to secure the top onto you. Typically, these will be too short to put around your body, so you’ll need to extend them.
9. Take your excess fabric and cut off one thick strip. Cut this strip in half to have two strips.
10. Take your thread and needle/sewing machine/glue gun and attach the end of the strips attached to your top to the strips you’ve created from your excess fabric. This will elongate the strips attached to your top.
11. Remember those rough edges we got after all that cutting? It’s time to get rid of them. When you hem fabric, you’re essentially folding in the rough edges, so the only thing you see on the exterior are clean, smooth lines. You can either do this through a sewing machine, needle and thread, or an outside alternation service. But if you’re like me and have no sewing skills whatsoever, you can line the inside of the zigzag edges with the hot glue and fold it in 1-2 inches. Just for the purpose of this DIY, I used normal hot glue refills from Daiso, but I recommend finding fabric hot glue refills instead for extra durability.
12. And just like that, you’re done! By the end, you should have something like this.
Voila! I just got yourself a Bella Hadid-approved top that took absolutely no money, no sewing skills, and no time to make!
What other celebrity inspired tops are you interested in recreating for yourself? Leave me a comment below or send me a message on my Instagram @frances.beltran!
Remember: The world is your runway, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t dress like a model too.