Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pure Frosting, Straight Up

I wouldn't be surprised if i come across as very interested in, but not passionate about clothes. What with all the checklists, planning, charts, discipline (restrict all your purchases to only two colors for a year for utmost re-mixability), rules (NEVER EVER buy a piece unless it goes with every other item in your closet)........well, a person could definitely get the impression that, pour moi, clothing remains a strictly intellectual exercise in planning, being reasonable and staying practical.

Ha! I may not have them often, but i do have my moments. One occurred a couple of months ago, when Marcy Tilton posted this Orlando French Viscose Knit fabric to her web store. Be still my heart!! Mesmerizing curlicues emneshed in a romantic-moderne pattern, aquas and roses melting into a whole range of yummy neutrals in taupe and burnt umber, on fabric with a subtle sheen and so so soft on the skin. It is very rare for me to find anything quite this luxurious (which could be why i focus on the analytical so much - to compensate ;)

Now, one often has to pay for this much yummy. The Orlando fabric is no exception. Happily, gift money appears during the holidays, which money is only truly honored when spent on those pricey, splendid items one normally avoids. I had made up Katherine Tilton's 8817 tee once already and found it to be the most flattering and flexible pattern of it's kind. I laid out the pieces to see how much i'd need to order, and did so.

As often happens in fairy tales, the yardage was even more wonderful in person, and ridiculously easy to work with. I had a lot of fun laying out the pieces in such a way as to emphasize the curlicue knots in the design and the glowing bands of rose.  In the end, i think i would have preferred the back to be the front if that makes sense - the lighter shades and colors flatter my complexion more than the darker tones of the front. But that is nit-picking in the extreme!

In these two views you can see the delightful asymmetry in the way the print fell on this top
While waiting for my package to arrive, i'd schemed about different fabrics and trims i'd combine with the Orlando in order to create an 'arty tee' as the Tilton sisters call them. Oh, i had fun daydreaming! (scroll down and click through).  But when i got the fabric and draped it on myself while looking in the mirror the way to go was obvious. There was so much going on in the fabric itself that adding anything more would be gilding the lily.

I did want to bring more of the rose tones up towards my face. To do so i added a strip of the Orlando in rose between the two center front pieces, barely under the bust. And i used some dusty rose/taupe silk organza (scavenged from an ill-fitting RTW blouse) to bind the neckline.  I feel these subtle touches can make or break a garment. They're well worth the time, trouble, and thought.

 I wanted to include these pics as a little warning on taking photos too literally. They were taken with the same camera at the same height at the same distance from the camera one minute apart. The only real change is in my pose. To my eye, the picture on the right really over-emphasizes my bust, and if that was the only image i had to judge this top i'd have serious misgivings about wearing it out of the house. Now, i have mirrors and people around me who give me honest feedback, plus training in life drawing and photography, all of which gives me the experience and feedback to know that the image on the right is an inaccurate representation of how i look. Which is just to say - give photography it's proper due in outfit evaluation, but be aware of it's limitations.

I didn't style an outfit for this post, my hair is looking a little skeevy, the lighting's a bit winter-drab, but i couldn't wait to show you this piece that i love love love!!! I hope revealing my drooling-lust-consumed-clothing-floozy side isn't too shocking for long-term readers. If it is, brace yourself, because i bought another length of fabric at the same time based on sheer lust as well!

Have any of you fallen head over heels in love with any gorgeous things recently? Were you able to bring the object of your affections home to live with you? I hope so! As much as i harp on the importance of planning and discipline for making a functional closet, no one can be truly stylish without true passion and living without any indulgence ever drains the joy out of life.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Festive Duds

By Christmas Day i'd finished my bubbly twinset. What a treat to be thinking, as i usually do in the holiday season, 'what to wear, what to wear......' and, instead of biting my nails in frustration, think, "Oh! yeah, right!", go to the closet and pick up this little twinset. Done!

Bit by bit i move closer to my dream closet, one by one i tick off the items i've so painstakingly identified as worthy of a spot in my wardrobe. At times it feels so slow!  But more and more often i'm able to realize the fruits of my labor.

I'm not feeling 'wordy' at all about this outfit, but it was a lot of fun to wear and quite physically comfortable as well. Elastic waist and loose overtop is perfect for your feasting-type holidays ;)  In future i'd like to try this look with some sheer/patterned hose. But we've been experiencing a chilly winter this year, with temps around freezing many nights, so i wore wool blend tights instead.

I really like the cut of the little shell in this pattern. I've been wanting to develop a TNT (Tried N True) pattern for a tank/shell for quite a while. This pattern looked very promising so i'm running it up in the leftover fabric from my latest leopard print jacket. I love the pretty little jewel-type neckline of the original pattern, but alas high and close necklines don't flatter me at all. I ended up tracing out the neckline from one of Katherine Tilton's tees onto the body of this little shell, and i am very excited about the results. I've worn a tank just about every day since mid-November, it's been so cold, and i only have 3 or 4 in my dresser. A wider selection would be welcome for aesthetic and practical reasons!

The only trouble with this twinset is finding your way into it. Which side is out, which end is up, front versus back, and so on - it's all so confusing when the material itself is so transparent and similar on both sides. Thankfully i had a wee brainstorn, and marked the inside back neck of the shell with a little embroidered rose.

These are my favorite type of handmade roses. I've seen them called 'bouillon roses' (from the embroidery stitch used to create them) and also 'rag roses'. They're so three dimensional! I stitched this one onto one of the bubbles in the scrap, then trimmed the bubble out when i was done with the rose. I then stitched the 'rose-ed bubble' onto a similar 'bubble' at the center back neck, using tiny stitches and (most importantly) matching thread.

ah, beautiful are those things which are whimsical, frivolous, and banally practical all at once? I can't wait to wear this twinset over my cadmium red medium tank.....

Happy New Year! Best Wishes to you and yours! May you have extravagant luck in your own wardrobe and outfit pursuits this year!