Last week, after discovering that I would be heading to Chicago for 8 days, I told you about my initial travel-wardrobe thought process. (This boiled down to the types of pieces I thought I’d need, taking lodging, events, and weather into account.) Since I will be leaving in about a week, my priority now is to create a color palette, so that’s what I’ll focus on today.
Aside: In case my punny use of ORD is causing a raised eyebrow or two, let me explain: ORD is the airport identifier for Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. It will probably happen again. End of aside.
Changing Your Clothes is primarily about making the most out of what we already have, so that’s what I’ll do first: make over my Santa Fe Wardrobe from last fall. To my closet!
Oh. A funny thing happened on the way to my closet… I got distracted by this piece of fabric, bought just 2 days before I found out about this upcoming trip:
When I first bought this fabric, I had a dress in mind, specifically, Vogue 8787:
You know me… it’s practically impossible for me to make a garment exactly as the pattern shows it, even in this case, when the pattern gives me neckline, sleeve, and skirt variations! Here’s what I want to do: make the cowl-neck bodice (but with a contrasting lining instead of being self-lined in front); relatively straightforward. It’s when I get to the skirt that I really want to have some fun, to wit: I’m going to use the pattern for the fitted skirt in front, and the full skirt in back, plus lengthen the back by tapering from the sides down to the center back, and also tapering the front skirt slightly up towards the center— all to create a high-low hemline effect, and make the silhouette more interesting at the same time. Oh, and I’m also going to use contrasting lining for the skirt (I’m thinking chartreuse, which you’ll see in the following fabric groups), so that from the front, which will be shorter than the back, you’ll be able to see this lining color behind my legs.
Enough about this dress for now— let’s move on to colors! Starting with this print, here’s how my new color palette is evolving:
Photo details: 1. Because I really do want to use as many things as possible that I already have, I usually start my travel wardrobes with accessories. Here, my favorite turquoise necklace and a wedge sandal (both from my Santa Fe Wardrobe) blend nicely with my cotton print. But I don’t want a wardrobe with nothing but turquoise (at least not this time). 2. Looking through anything turquoise, I found this cowl I knitted from cotton yarn; I’m loving the addition of the chartreuse with all the shades of turquoise, aqua, and teal. 3. From my fabric stash comes this gorgeous chartreuse silk georgette. 4. Digging further into my fabrics yields (clockwise from far left) iridescent sequins (stretch), chartreuse georgette, citron rayon/spandex knit, and dark green stretch lace.
With all this vibrant color, I feel the need for some calming (but never boring) neutrals:
Color tip: I’m most drawn to colors that I think of as “in-between” colors. Here’s my test: if I can’t immediately think of a name for that color, I will probably love it. This is not just for the sake of being different; it’s because I’ve found that colors like these are the most surprisingly versatile. In my experience, the more “definite” a color is (e.g. fuchsia), the more effort I have to expend to make other pieces work with it. In the above photo, the fabric just above the charcoal grey at the bottom is a wonderful example of the kinds of colors I’m talking about: it’s not quite sage, not quite blue, not quite grey, not quite teal. And it will go with virtually everything I own.
And here’s the whole collection with the original print added:
Tip: It’s unlikely I will use all these fabrics in this travel wardrobe, especially given the time constraint, but they are incredibly useful for developing color palettes, and also for sparking ideas for texture and color mixing. Even small fabric scraps (or balls of yarn) are helpful.
At this point, after revisiting last week’s ORD post, I’ve decided to add a jacket to my list of pieces to pack. It’s something I’ve been wanting to make anyway, and I think it will be a great addition to my entire wardrobe, as well as for this trip. And along with jacket fabric, I thought I’d see what I could find to add to my palette. Here’s what a tour of 3 fabric stores yielded:
Tip: I decided to go with a contrasting color (4) for lining my jacket (5), partly because I’m obsessed with the color combination of these 2 fabrics, and partly just because I’m looking forward to the luxury of the silk/cotton lining. Oh, and the lining color also connects with the rest of my developing color palette. Linings are a great opportunity for playing with different colors and even prints!
Now I’m going to lay all these fabrics out side by side, just to see them from a different angle:
In these photos, I grouped the fabrics according to color families; below, they’re going from dark to light to dark(er):
And before I get to the final palette, here’s everything, including the original accessories:
… This is my Santa Fe Wardrobe palette— look familiar?
And here, I’ve translated all my fabric colors into the new ORD palette:
For me, choosing the colors for a wardrobe (or even a single garment) is one of the biggest hurdles. Now that this momentous decision has been made, my next step is to make a specific list of garments and accessories to pack. This will make it clear what items I’ll actually have to make (in less than a week!). Right now, the things I’d really like to be able to take with me are the dress mentioned earlier, and the jacket, but these are both fairly involved projects that I just might not have the time to complete. We’ll see.
Tip: The jacket I want to make is from a Craftsy class I purchased recently, called The Starlet Suit Jacket. The class includes the downloadable pattern, video instruction, and tons more, including interaction with other people participating in the class. Craftsy classes are a great way to not only add to your technique repertoire, but also to gain access to designs like this jacket that may not be available elsewhere. (Please note that I do not receive anything from Craftsy for recommending them; I just really like them!)
Okay! I have my colors and fabrics, so that’s it for now. Next time, I’ll let you know what garments I’m putting together for my ORD wardrobe!