Bleach it, slice it, embroider it: Long Islanders are making style their own

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“My personal style depends on what I feel that day,”Pam Solomon, 56 years old, has a wide range of looks, from funky tops to elegant pantsuits and dresses. “I just don’t want to look like everyone else,”Woodbury’s retired teacher said so. “I like to be a little distinctive.”

That’s why she’s a big fan of having off-the-rack purchases customized. Her clothes have been slashed, fringed and embellished to make a style mark — and she’s in good company.

Alessia Lagattuta (32), a Great Neck editor, has cherished pieces of custom-embroidered clothing in her wardrobe.

Try customizing for size

Dearly Threaded, dearlythreaded.com

Lifestyles Sports1901 Wantagh Ave. Wantagh, 516-781-870, lifestylessports.com

Penelope, 8025 Jericho Turnpike, Woodbury, 516-802-7837, penelopefashionswoodbury.com

Tie-Dye Clothing, totiedyeforclothing.com

“I like that there’s a story attached to them,”Lagattuta says that her personalized items remind her of a pandemic wedding and the tale of two kittens. (More about that in a moment.)

If you’re keen on style that’s all yours, not cookie cutter, local shops are ready to let you try personalizing on for size. 

Keeping LI in stitches

Monogramming can be a traditional way to express your personal style. Dearly Threaded, an online clothing shop based out of Nassau County, stitches names, initials, logos, and unique designs into T shirts, sweatshirts. Hoodies, jackets, crew necks.

Heather Borneman founded the shop in 2017. It is now well-known for its personalized pieces that commemorate bachelorette parties and weddings. 

“About 90% of my demographic is brides,”Borneman, 32. “The trend right now is denim jackets with custom embroidery on the back.” Designs include a new last name, a song lyric from a couple’s first dance, or blooms from a bouquet. Prices range from $98 to $250.

White flowers are stitched into the faux leather jacket Lagattuta wore when she tied the knot with her husband in her parents’ backyard in October 2020. 

“It became a statement piece for my wedding because we didn’t have guests,”She says. “There wasn’t a lot to photograph.”

It is her favorite jacket, which she embroidered with Grey and Swayze. It always attracts a lot of compliments. Dearly Threaded took a photo and captured the furballs having a blast in the iconic overhead lift. “Dirty Dancing.” 

Cats Grey and Swayze embroidered onto a denim jacket by Heather Borneman, who works out of her Nassau County studio. 
Credit: Alessia Lagattuta

“I do a ton of pet portraits,”Borneman. “People are always interested in what I can do with an embroidery machine.”

Lifestyles Sports in Wantagh, a brick and mortar, is known for embroidering names and numbers on uniforms and garments. 

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“We’ve done a multitude of different logos and images,” says manager Andrew Kruter, 30, adding that a local mom had her son’s favorite animated character stitched into a jacket for a gift. “We can kind of do anything.” 

Thank you to technology for turning pictures into a digital language that the embroidery machine understands. That is then translated into personal style statements. 

The digitizing fee can start at $25 depending on the design. Embroidering costs around $12 to $14. 

Life’s a bleach

To Tie-Dye Clothing is all about feeling groovy in your clothes. Marion Schwaner (27), who owns the Long Island-based online boutique, says that bleach-dyed items like jean jackets, tees, and t-shirts are in high demand.

Her bestsellers are her $40 bleach-dyed T shirts that celebrate vintage rock bands like the Rolling Stones and Nirvana. There’s a degree of variability when bleaching so no two are ever exactly alike. The shop will launch a new line this month of $80 bleached jeans zodiac-themed jackets.

“Customizing just makes clothes more personal — more you,” says Schwaner. 

Slice and dice

Ira Banschick, who founded the fashion boutique Penelope in Woodbury, has decades of experience in the clothing business. He’s seen trends come and go — and one thing remains constant. 

“People like to stand out in a crowd,”He says custom flourishes are a way to do that. 

At Penelope, a boutique located on Jericho Turnpike in Woodbury,...

Customers can order customized versions of in stock clothing at Penelope, a boutique on Jericho Turnpike, Woodbury. 
Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

He’s had requests to change necklines, crop blouses and distress jeans. Banschick recently took 10 inches off the bottom of a band tee, trimmed the edges of the sleeves, opened the collar, cut a large slit across the front and small slits along the bottom and edges. Banschick estimates that the customized shirt will cost twice as much as a stock shirt. “I slice and dice,”Banschick laughs. “I’m like the Kitchen Magician.”

Ask Pam Solomon. She’s had V-necks cut into T-shirts from the shop, sleeves capped, patches added to tops and pants, and jeans frayed at the hem. 

“Everyone has a different body. “I’m 5-foot-2,”She says that adding these tweaks helps flatter her figure and adds style. “Customizing is about the fit and the look.” 

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