Sunday, March 25, 2012

...And Then Remove One Piece......

Remember that old 'rule' about getting dressed so that you look like a classy lady, and not some overdone tramp?  "Get dressed, and then when you think you are finished remove one piece of jewelry...." Kinda boring, but i can see the point of it. After all, it's nice to have the focus be on you, rather than all the stuff you're wearing. This method can help you to achieve this goal. On the other hand, this rule has a little nastiness to it as well: don't trust yourself, always second guess your instincts, you need to make sure you don't stand out, better to fade into the background...

For good or for ill, this cliche did come to mind as i put together this outfit. Here in the SF Bay Area we've had a pretty mild winter this year. Only one frost or two, with weeks of temperatures in the 60sF. Plenty of clear blue skies. That's nice, but it does have it's drawbacks, namely air pollution and worries about summer drought and fire danger. So when March rolled around and we started to get a lot of rain i was very grateful. As the weather systems swept through the landscape, they took the particulates and pollen with them, creating relief for many allergic eyes, throats, and noses.

But i am growing tired of grey, overcast skies. It's a little gloomy.That's why i decided to whip up a nice, bright, sunnily colored look. I don't know how apparent it is in the pictures, but the over the knee socks i'm sporting are pink. The shade is quite close to my skin tone, which helps me feel okay about wearing them. Otherwise i would feel like they were too overwhelming! Normally with a look like this one, i'd wear some type of scarf around my neck or on the hat. But I found that this outfit was right on the edge for me. Any more color or distractions and it would feel forced and overdone, like i'd been caught in some type of tangerine tornado! Auntie Em!!!!

I had luck on my walk. In the park up the street i had a long visit with our resident coyote. I'm guessing this could be a mother coyote, as i thought i could spy a teat or two, and her (?) tail had lost most of it's hair (some mammals pull hair out of their tails to line the nest or den for the babies). After this encounter, and a ways down the road, a man walking his teensy dog said, "Pretty outfit!". I don't often get compliments like that on my daily walk. I took the opportunity to let him know coyote was out and about. He thanked me sincerely  while we both looked down at his friendly, pint-sized (coyote snack sized?) pooch.

Thank you again for your advice and commiseration regarding my recent bellyaching on the blog. I can report that i have purchased two lengths of fabric suitable for making structured blouses (shell pink linen and white eyelet). I have sketched up two versions of this Kay Unger blouse as guidelines for these fabrics, and i've in the middle of developing patterns for them. I really don't like to go on and on about how something bugs me, come up with a great solution based on other people taking the time and trouble to help me out - and then not do it! Your comments and putting my thoughts out here in public help keep me on track to accomplish my goals. I can't tell you how much i appreciate you all!

I sketch in pencil with a light hand. I punched up the contrast in GIMP a bit so you can see my ideas a little more clearly. The pink is very warm and beautiful with a lovely sheen to it, and heavy enough that this blouse will end up as more of a shirt-jacket than just a shirt. I had been keeping an eye on this eyelet for months. It was $18 a yard, and when the store marked it 'Half Off" i jumped on it. The dense, geometric embroidery takes care of any overly girly or underwear-ish connotations as well as providing plenty of ventilation. I'm very excited about finally having a proper 'white shirt' for daily wear - the Kay Unger's silk is staring to get a little fragile, which discourages me from wearing it too much. But when i do wear it i enjoy it so! It's very fun to see things taking shape.

Have you made any progress on wardrobe resolutions?  If not, what stands in your way?


  1. Nice to see the fabric you scored! I love the idea you shared about creating a body 'transparency' and overlaying concepts to try out different silhouettes. The variations on the Kay Unger blouse are perfect examples of how this technique can work well when you've made an investment in fabric, and can be extended to the idea of a potential investment in a rtw garment too. I'm going to mess with some photos today to create the transparency and play around with some ideas I've had about what works on my body.

    I've recently been working on building capsules within my wardrobe, and identifying the missing pieces so I can purchase more wisely. Last week I started working on orange, and it's rolling along quite well. I had my eye on a wardrobe-extending piece, and found a second one by happenstance while in the process of acquiring the first. Both were inexpensive purchases but well-made garments I can wear for years. Having a plan in mind has made all the difference for me.

  2. It must be so wonderful to see your coyote on your walks. I really like this walking outfit, and your cheery colors (I am wearing brights today too). I am doing well on my "don't buy it unless you LOVE it" resolution.

  3. Most people around here don't dress that nicely to go anywhere much less for a walk. You look so very nice and cheery. I love the jacket!
    I think that maybe part of the reason we don't dress up to exercise is that it gets so darn hot here.

  4. Good for you for following through on the fabrics! I'd love to see the pink paired with some version of khaki/taupe. And if you add some white/cream, why you've got neopolitan! (I often think of food and clothing in the same terms, dimensional double thick ruffles look like icing to me and so on. Lace looks like cracked caramel glaze. Maybe I only think of dessert? )

  5. My only resolution is this year is to learn to shop retail, but other than a pair of sandals I haven't learned yet. I like your outfit and can imagine what a breath of fresh air you were to the companion on your path. I had not known this about coyotes and will pay more attention to those I see in our area, which are often at a distance.

  6. Hello P! you have been very busy, looks like being busy with a plan in place is yielding great results! That makes me very happy :) i'm glad you like the sketches - you can also use them to try out new trends without the changing room, or see what type of alterations would work best on a particular garment. Plus, it's just fun!!!

    Hi Patti! it is fun to see all the various critters around here, we're very fortunate that people before us worked to create open space. And that's so exciting that you are staying by your "LOVE IT!" resolution! I am very curious to see how it will end up affecting your closet and your style.

    Debbi, how right you are about the heat! Dressing in the heat while maintaining my style has been a BIG topic on this blog. This jacket is cotton seersucker, underneath is a cotton tank, and the skirt is linen. So when i take off the socks this is a great look for walking in the heat - everything breathes well and i'm protected from the sun.

    But it is a trial to find pieces that work for this in ready to wear....which is why i'm making the two tops of the last picture!

    Thank you Vildy :) i had a nice synchronicity/psychic flash regarding your comment. Out of the blue, as i was climbing our stairs the afternoon you posted this comment, i started thinking about neopolitan ice cream! Now i do have a notoriously voracious sweet tooth, but i haven't even thought about that white - pink - choco stuff in years. It was really fun to see your comment an hour or so later!

    i am thinking about pink with khaki and pink with cream as well (yum, strawberries and cream....). Especially with khaki, i love the way it brings out the pink while toning down the too-sweet aspects. You're providing excellent motivation for me!

    Hi Terri! i was happy to wear this look and i'm enjoying the colors i've added to my closet in the last couple of months. Even a few pieces can make a big difference! Coyotes are awesome and they're increasing in numbers i think. They are so smart and very self-possessed. Have fun getting to know the ones in your parts, tell them i said hello!