Sunday, March 30, 2014

Ultra Violet Made Visible

I've always loved this shade of violet - not too cool, a slight undertone of ultra-violet, not super concentrated but neither washed out at all. It tastes delicious (i'm a synaesthete***) and flatters my coloring and eyeballs. Yet i struggle so to wear it happily! Even with this turgid history, when i saw this beautiful linen on sale at Stone Mountain and Daughters i decided to chance it. I made it up into Marcy Tilton's 'Vintage French Housedress' pattern (Vogue 8813) last summer.

Since then i've worn it fairly often. It's very comfy, especially in the heat, and i do love the color. The neckline (which i didn't take a picture of) is very flattering and i think i've come up with a way to modify the top half of this dress in a kind of slouchy tee/top. But the color still felt a bit flat to me when the dress was worn more or less on it's own.

The other day i paired this dress with my digital print leggings and a jean jacket. I can't believe how much more i love the color worn this way! The clear denim blue and the greyed peach tones in the leggings just set this off perfectly, in my view. This success has given me a couple of ideas about how to style this dress in the hotter months with an aim to achieving a similar effect. I'm on the lookout for some brass snaps to replace the silver ones on the pockets, and i may restitch the pocket edges with a merlot color instead of the current navy so that i bring these salubrious tones into the dress itself.

I also have a small silk square scarf with lots of apricot and coral tones which i'm thinking of tying to my purse or in my hair to spark the violet a bit.

While i can't say that this individual dress came out exactly the way i'd like for a piece in my ideal wardrobe, i'm very glad i made it. I've learned how to wear a color i really like, i've discovered and grown to love a new, very flattering and practical neckline, and i'm on the trail of a wardrobe workhorse hot weather top. I also now have enough confidence in this pattern to keep an eye out for a ultra-drapey matte black knit so i can make it into an LBD with the coolest hemline in town.

In the meantime, i wear it and it makes me happy!
*** i wanted to link to the wikipedia entry on synaesthesia just in case some readers weren't familiar with the term. Upon reading the entry i discovered there's a term for my dominant form:
"Auditory-tactile: A type of synesthesia in which certain sounds can induce sensations in parts of the body. Auditory-tactile synesthesia may originate from birth or be acquired sometime in life. It is one of the rarest forms of synesthesia."

Friday, March 28, 2014

Another Signature Look Variation

A signature look for when i feel like wearing pants. Pretty much just switch out the skirt for a pair of pants and leave off the hat - easy enough to remember.

No one has commented on it, even my mother, but a couple of months ago i cut my hair short again. I'd become absolutely frustrated with it about nine months ago and had just been letting it grow. I'd been trying bangs, which were okay but required too much maintenance for me to commit to them.

Defining my signature look formula has been so helpful in answering vexing style questions. For example, as soon as i consciously 'got' my signature look, the hair question popped into clear focus.  Two aspects of my signature look bear on the hair issue: 1) my look is very practical/utilitarian and has a rugged, 'ready for anything' vibe 2) a hat (structure and focus on my head/face) is a core item in this look. Combined with my previous identification of Amelia Earhardt as a style icon, my choice became ridiculously obvious.

I understand people who feel that this type of style and closet analysis is boring, too prescriptive and restrictive. But, if you have issues or trouble with certain areas of dressing or developing your style, taking the time and focus to work through these exercises can really be worth it. Once you develop a vision which is true to you and which fits your lifestyle, you can confidently pass on all the thousands of items of clothing, shoes, accessories, etc. which don't fit into your particular structure. These statements and structures make it possible for you to laser in on what will excite and work for you, without distractions and second guesses.

This silk blouse came to me by a bit of kismet. Nordstrom opened a Rack near our house a few months ago, which has me pretty stoked. Unfortunately, given how much free time we spend together, Mr. E had been there once and was not impressed. I've been pestering him to stop on by but he was dead set agin' it. Well, following my endo/colonosco/combo-py we went out for dinner and afterwards i asked to stop by the nordies' Rack. Taking pity on my evil experience, Mr. E agreed.

Of course once he spent some serious time at the Rack my spouse found a very nice coat. And i found a tantalizing flock of  Equipment silk blouses at 60% off. I've been on the yen for these blouses for two or three years now. I'd fantasized about the standard double flapped pockets in a lipsticky coral. Which was exactly what they had in stock! This heavier silk crepe is just divine on the skin, i'm almost impatient for it to get threadbare so i can justify wearing it to sleep in. I'm not a fan of many colors, but i simply lurve me some coral.

Nailing down a signature look has also made my closet population strategies and priorities very clear. My third layers play a defining role, so focusing my sewing energies on these pieces is the smart move at this time. And i feel more sensible about buying things like slouchy tees or little camis when i find ones i like. My outfits usually focus more on the third piece and accessories, with many tees, tops, skirts and pants playing a supporting role. I also sew fairly slowly, i always have more projects in mind than i can complete, so having a clear method for prioritizing calms the scattered feeling.

That's it from here. I've been pretty diligent about taking OOTD pictures and finding them helpful, looking at what i'm wearing through this new lens of the signature look. I'm also getting to a point where my day to day looks maintain a level of consistency which has always been a major goal of mine, though more of a dream than a reality until recently.

How important is style consistency to you? I know many fashion and style bloggers tend towards more of a concern with getting in a rut, and the internet medium rewards the new, so i'm curious about your thoughts on this. Paradoxically, one of my main motivations in starting and keeping up with this blog is for me to obtain that consistency, which gives me hope that more of you may be out there. Let us know in the comments!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Are Subtle Variations Satisfying to You?

Hi everybody! I thought i'd show you some looks i wore over the course of two or three days (it wasn't a week, honest!). I really like the basic formula of skirt/blouse/structured jacket, even more these particular pieces. The warmth in the washed-out khakis really pops the denim blue, everything's comfy and eminently practical for my life.

So i get to play with accessories, wearing different pieces and the same pieces different ways to create little varieties. I'm continually fiddling with what i wear, buttoning and unbuttoning, switching up scarves and so on. I'm actually very sensitive to subtle changes and differences - to me, that skirt is actually a COLOR, not a neutral; so this amount of variety and difference feels just right to me. I get to maintain a very cohesive style identity (one of my highest priorities) whilst still feeling my look is fresh.

This whole question of what is enough, how much variety do you enjoy and what type seems to be a major stumbling block in many style plans. My only advice is to simply pay attention as you experiment, keeping these issues in mind and making some kind of notes on how you feel as you try different scenarios. 

I don't see this idea addressed in much depth these days on the style blogosphere, though those 30 for 30 challenges were hot a couple of years ago. That idea was to choose 30 pieces, wear only them for 30 days and to create a new look every day. This is awesome for exercising your remixin' chops, but here i'm thinking about how to structure your wardrobe in a way that gives you pleasure and satisfaction, that gives you enough without overwhelming.In other words, a more personal and long term strategy and/or structure.

 I'm thinking it would be fantastically helpful (to folks like myself who need things spelled out letter by letter, slowly....) to have a few examples of sample closets and how they play out in terms of a three month season. You could have the bare bones minimal, the 250 item maximal, and a couple of spots in between. But what a project!!! The logistics!  I'm really bad at keeping up with the blogosphere, so if anyone knows of any good resources along these lines please be kind and share in the comments :)

Now, a couple of follow ups to last post. helenko left some great ideas about mending and copying jeans you love in the comments section. Happily for me, i obtained a pair of sxy byfrnd jeans in a medium denim wash at over half off regular price and have been wearing them since. I'm keeping an eye out for a good deal on a light wash as well as a good ivory (hello summer!). I have nothing against sewing one's own jeans, i've done it myself, i just don't enjoy it and would rather sew other things - especially since i'm such a slow sempstress :) Thank you Helen!

And in defense of Dr. B's 'little skirt' comment. He only saw me wearing a hospital 'gown', not in the dress i'd worn to the ER, so he didn't have that context. And current fashion, especially among the young and especially around these parts, features a lot of lingerie-inspired elements.  A lot of people, even our age (which he was), think of a slip as being of beige or black nylon, not baby-blue silk.

And frankly he sounded so charmed he could have called it a little spacesuit and still put a smile on my face.  So, do any of you feel like you have a good handle on how much variety you really do well with, and how to reflect this in your wardrobe? I am all ears!