Double outfit post today....actually triple outfit (including the one i posted on Monday). Recently i've been focusing on my Europa Geisha Blouse,which i made out of cotton Geisha printed fabric using La Fred's Europa Blouse pattern.
|my Europa blouse - pattern by La Fred|
I've worn three pretty different outfits which each feature this blouse over the last 2-3 weeks, and it got me thinking about what made this blouse so versatile for me. After all, while it's not completely over the top in pattern, fabric, or styling, it's not a plain black tee shirt or button down blouse. Flexibility is the key to avoiding boredom with a small wardrobe, so how to pull off this type of manouevre?
First, color. I've explained before about color in the small wardrobe. My two 'foundation' colors are black and beige, so the parchment/tan of this fabric fits right in. I chose beige as one of my colors precisely because there are so many variations of beige: taupe, khaki, tan, ecru, dark ivory, eggshell, on and one. They all play nicely together and all play just as nicely with black. Grey could play the same role in a person's wardrobe: charcoal, ash, cobweb, pearl grey.........although for me grey falls under the 'watered-down form of black' category. Any other colors in my wardrobe have to go well with both beige and black in order to make it in. As it happens, that's not much of a restriction, so how do i choose?
Secondly, choose only pieces that flatter your particular physical form. We all know the many many items out there that we can't wait to get our hands on - they're so cute, it's the color of the season, vinyl is so fashion forward, i've always wanted to rock a PVC corset ever since i saw one on Sarah Jessica Parker, it looks just gorgeous on my kid's first grade teacher, Tim Gunn says every woman needs a trench coat, if i just belt it and hem it and wear that scarf near my face to 'take care of' the color.......blah blah blah. You don't want these type of clothes, as fun as they may be.
Then there's you standing in flourescent light wearing two-sizes-too-big grey sweats, with a 102 degree fever, and you put on the floppy aubergine paisley blouse and all of a sudden you look like a million bucks. It's not in style or out of style, no spectacular 'features' to it. You can ball it up in your hand and it's nothing special there. But when you put it on, you just look fabulous.
You want those type of clothes. The 'you look like a million bucks' clothes.
Certain colors, fits, shapes, textures, types of patterns, sizes of patterns, and hem lengths will flatter your form while many others will not. You can determine these characteristics by actually trying on a bunch of different items and taking pictures or notes, then studying them. Look for clothes that you don't have to 'work with' in order for them to make you look great. There are plenty of looks you can pull off - with work. This exercise is about finding the effortless pieces. You don't have to buy anything, especially before you've nailed down what really flatters - it may take time to determine how to work what flatters in with your lifestyle, comfort requirements, etc.
Even if, to begin with, the really flattering items might seem a little all over the place, with time and observation you will begin to find the common threads. Clothes that truly flatter you will tend to 'go together' because they will have so many commonalities. These commonalities are determined by your own physical aesthetic. The Triumph of Individual Style by Carla Mason Mathis and Helen Villa Connor is an excellent explication of this concept. (Click 'show more formats' to see the really cheap older paperback versions - the information is just as good.) It will instruct you on everything you need to know about color theory, proportion, art history, and how all this relates to dressing your body beautifully.
Thirdly, clothes that have 'built in' flexible styling options will be easier to style in multiple ways. That's why so many 'top twenty' lists feature the white button-down shirt with collar. White goes with all colors, you can button it all the way up, leave it open, tie it at the waist (buttoned or open), tuck it in, belt it out (buttoned or un)....all with the collar turned up or down. Not to mention what you can do with the addition of scarves, necklaces, camis, tees...
|the geisha ladies on my Europa blouse|
Pieces with removable collars, fastenings up the front or back, different necklines back and front (so you can wear it backwards for a different look), loose fits in thin fabrics which can be belted in or layered over, pieces with ties which can be tied or bowed in different ways, skirts which can be pulled up to look shorter or pinned up at the hem - pieces with these types of features allow you a lot more room to play.
|me having maybe a little too much fun with my clothes|
So, my dear readers, do you have any tricks of guidelines for getting more 'looks' out of your clothes? Is it possible to have too much fun with your clothing? Tell all!
Europa Geisha Blouse: La Fred Europa Blouse
Plaid Sundress: Liz Claiborne
Olive Drab Turtleneck: Macy's mens store, rapidly becoming vintage
Shoe Boots: MaineWoods
Sage Crochet Sweater: April Cornell
Tee: Merona at Target
Skirt: own design, inspired by some girls wander
Shoes: Bass Lacey Heeled Oxfords
Belt: vintage Coach
Monday's outfit post