Wardrobe planning

20 Dec

I have friends who are have completely and utterly organized wardrobes.  Clothing is arranged around color schemes, with lots of pieces that mix and match.  They know exactly what they own, and on identifying a hole in their wardrobe they quickly purchase something to fill it.  My friends have enviable, organized closets.  Everything is pared down and streamlined.

Look… I’m never going to be that person.  For one thing I lead a strangely eclectic life, which requires both teaching clothing, nice dressy church clothing, and formal wear or evening styles for performances.  I essentially require 3 wardrobes, none of which even touch on the clothes I live in when I’m not working.  I love bright colors and many different styles.  Most of all, I prefer that my clothing evoke some sort of a reaction from me – in other words, if I don’t love it I’m not wearing it.   I’m not into matchy.  I’m not super trendy, but at the same time I do like interpreting what’s current in a way that (hopefully) doesn’t make me look like I’m trying too hard.  However, I want my wardrobe to be more organized.  I don’t want to end up with oodles of clothing that I never wear, but not a single button down shirt (a situation that I currently have going on.)  I want to fix this, but let’s face it.. I’m not going to the mall.

To that end, I’ve signed up to take the Wardrobe Refashion pledge.  Starting in January, I have pledged to thrift, create etc items for my wardrobe for 2 months.  My husband points out (quite rightly) that this is actually not a challenge for me, considering that I have only bought one item of clothing for myself from a real (ie non thrift/vintage) store in the past 6 months.  Bah humbug I say – I’m looking at this as an opportunity to get organized with my thrifting, knitting, and sewing.

There are some items that I find quite readily while thrifting.  There seem to be a plethora of sheer pretty blouses and nice basic skirts.  There are lots of knit tops, though often not ones that fit me (I find that while I am quite short waisted, I also have a long torso.  Store bought tops are almost always too short for me.)  I am always finding cute purses for under 5 dollars.  Jackets are pretty easy, and often good quality.  But there are something that I cannot find, and that I really am starting to need to be a part of my wardrobe.

I have a folder on my desktop called “inspiration.”  There I save pictures of items of clothing I would like to have in my wardrobe, and scheme ways to either make them, or refashion thrift store finds into something similar.  Many of the photos are probably from Anthropologie or Modcloth, my current favorites for this type of not shopping.   I also like to browse the runway shows at style.com – I like seeing what’s coming up, and often I get good ideas.   I also browse a lot of vintage shops, and have a few other haunts.  The first items that I cannot find are blouses.  Not sheer ones (remember when they were huge a few years ago?  Yeah, now they languish in thrift store hell.)   I need blouses and button down shirts that are: A. Long enough for me and B: Actually flattering.  This is harder than you might think.


I really love the return of plaid.  I’m all about trying to work some plaid into my wardrobe – I think I have at long last managed to brush off the taint of grunge.  The first shirt is made of flannel and I love it… I have been looking for a suitable plaid, but have found none locally, so I guess I will have to order one.  It’s also really similar to Simplicity 2501 (on the right.)

The next item I don’t have much of in my closet?  Dresses.  I experience severe sticker shock whenever I visit a department store, and end up leaving with some cheap item from the junior’s dept that I don’t care for anyway.  I really want to sew some of my own dresses.  I notice that lately I’m seeing many dresses that mimic a dress/skirt combo.  I like this idea, as tucking things in never looks so neat.

Other random dress styles that I like…

1. I like the effect of the straps in a different fabric.  Similar to Macaroon by Colette patterns.  2.  I like maxi dresses, but I hate how low cut some of them are.   Someday it will be warm again, and I will want a breezy long dress.  3.  I have a really similar fabric, and a vintage vogue reissue.  Perhaps an outfit for a summer wedding?  4.  Again with the plaid, plus denim!  5.  I’m obsessed with this sort of neckline.  Love the 60s vibe.

Sadly, I need some pants.  This is that hardest part (isn’t it always?)  I’m not proportional – I am a bit pear shaped, and I have a hard time finding pants that I like at all.  I am not at all up to making my own pants yet, but I’m confident that determined thrift shopping will score me some finds.   I never buy pants because I find shopping for them depressing, what with never ever knowing what size to try on, and nothing ever fitting the way I want it to.  And to be honest?  I’d usually rather wear a skirt anyway.  I used to wear skirts/dresses every single day, and I miss it!

And finally… I require a fabulous faux leopard jacket.  I don’t need one.  Just want one.  I have been stalking them on Etsy for ages, so despite the fact that I have half a closet full of coats, I am determined that one will be mine.

If you’ve made it this far, your reward is a terrible photo of me modeling the muslin for the Vogue cowl neck.

For a test run this is surprisingly wearable – and I thought I hated the color peach!  Well, it’s not my favorite, but I look less dead than I expected (I bought this on the clearance rack at Joannes… I was not being picky for muslin fabrics.)   I really love how this came out, so I’m hoping it looks as good in the actual fabric!

I’m so pleased to be off this week… I plan to get in plenty of sewing and knitting.  Salina will be finished.  It’s actually almost getting there, and I seem to have found my temporarily misplaced mojo!

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16 Responses to “Wardrobe planning”

  1. Amy December 20, 2009 at 6:32 am #

    So many good things here! All of those dresses are great. I have the Simplicity pattern for that cute top and have even been considering making it out of plaid. :) Last time I checked, Denver Fabrics had quite a few plaid shirtings, so you might try there. Your cowl neck turned out great. I like the peach.

  2. Maryse December 20, 2009 at 7:28 am #

    Have a great holiday! Looks like you will be keeping busy!

  3. Batty December 20, 2009 at 9:27 am #

    You have an amazing sense of style! And, unlike me, you’re not too lazy to put some planning into your wardrobe. Me, I just pull slacks and a blouse or sweater out of my closet. That’s it.
    That’s why you look fabulous and I don’t.

  4. merp December 20, 2009 at 10:00 am #

    I love your pledge! Wish I could join you (not this year), but I’ll look forward to seeing what you come up with.

  5. ladylulu December 20, 2009 at 11:58 am #

    Long-time reader of your blog…

    I have a very similar shape to you and share the difficulties you have in finding clothes that fit.

    When I lived in the UK (now in Canada), I used to shop here for trousers:

    http://www.toast.co.uk/catalogue+page.htm?categorypath=AW09_3/AW09_3_PG113&pageno=12

    Have a browse through their site, I think you may find some inspiration…

  6. Sherrill December 20, 2009 at 1:00 pm #

    Wonderful idea. Just yesterday as we gazed upon a Rowan book at knitting meet-up, we ooh’d and aah’d over the sweaters, the actual dresses and skirts caught our attention.

    More dresses is what I need…I think I have just one, in black. It’s a shirt-dress to boot.

    Good luck on your Wardrobe Refashion.

  7. Natalie B December 20, 2009 at 1:22 pm #

    wow! the cut looks fantastic!

  8. martha-california December 20, 2009 at 2:35 pm #

    Girl, I think you missed your calling as a fashion designer. You have such a gift when it comes to putting things together, whether it be knitting or sewing. btw, the peach blouse looks lovely on you.
    And, I tend to do the same and lurk around style.com and The Satorialist to see what fashion is out there.
    Thanks for sharing. It sounds like we think alike.
    Have a great week!

  9. Darlene December 20, 2009 at 6:47 pm #

    Enjoyed this blog and find we are somewhat in the same boat. I laugh at the department store prices and can’t find what I want very often at the thrift stores. However, today I wore to church a Christmas cardigan I bought at a thrift store last year for under $5 and got umpteen compliments. But, I have looked everywhere (including department stores) for a long sleeved, button down the front, dressy red blouse to wear this Christmas season. Maybe in a polyester, or silk, or anything like that and never found a one. Everything was either of a knit fabric or cotton. Oh well, there’s always next year.

  10. Debby December 21, 2009 at 11:04 am #

    My wardrobe is pretty organized, but like you, pants are a problem for me. It’s rare to find any that fit well, and when I do, I try to buy a couple of pairs.

    What I really want to wear are skirts, dresses, and all manner of girly, retro pieces, but since I have been unemployed, and before that, worked at home, I’m not sure the cats would be impressed. I’m trying to develop a style that incorporates vintagey accessories with more classic pants and tops, so I can enjoy them without looking costume-y.

  11. Yarnhog (Suzanne) December 21, 2009 at 12:43 pm #

    So, the yoga pants and t-shirts I wear every day aren’t fashionable?

  12. Maria December 23, 2009 at 4:57 am #

    Hi,
    Looking in to your website every now and then from Sweden, your knitted items are just lovely. Speaking of blouses, have you heard of the Swedish brand Odd Molly? Check in to their website oddmolly.com. Some of their items are more crazy than others, but they do have some really wonderful, especially for your weekend days, things to wear. Interpreting your dressing style you look more in to the dressed ones, and I am thinking of the tv show Mad Men, clothes from the 50s. Even your pants could perhaps be a 50s or 60s style, with high waist and slim legs, and no pockets or pockets on the side, the legs maybe a little shorter than usual trousers? Good luck with your wardrobe project, you seem to the the most creative person, I am certain you will succed. Have a great Christmas and New Year.

  13. Angie December 23, 2009 at 1:20 pm #

    Inspiring. I should do the same. I’m pretty simple, have worn the same pair of True Religion jeans for the last month straight. Um, yeah, they hit the washer and dryer. They are 100% cotton, so that’s easy. Currently, I have three dressers, a closet, and a giant pile of clothes at the foot of my bed. January sounds like a good time to organize…

  14. Knittripps December 24, 2009 at 11:58 am #

    You have a fabulous sense of style. What a great project for you!

  15. Zoe Edwards January 5, 2010 at 5:31 pm #

    Hi! Thanks so much for your very helpful comment on my knitting post. Good luck with the Wardrobe Refashion pledge! Sounds like you are practically following it already, so hopefully you´ll find it an enjoyable breeze! Doing the pledge has changed my life for the better more than I thought possible. Good luch with filling in the gaps of your wardrobe. I love the simplicity blouse pattern, and each of the dresses you pictures ticked my boxes! All the best

  16. Anya January 12, 2010 at 3:59 pm #

    I am so so glad you are doing sewing now, too. It is rare to find a good sewing blog, and while your knitting entries are great, I am really looking forward to reading about more sewing pattern reviews you have made! Thank you for writing an excellent blog.

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