Changing Your Clothes

Shopping, Sewing, Upcycling, Repairing: Make the most of your clothes!


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Read My New Article: Color in your Closet

Just published in Colette Patterns‘ sewing magazine Seamwork: My latest article on using color palettes in real life! It’s called Color in Your Closet: Discover (and Use) the Palette Within.

Features:

  • How to coax a palette out of your existing wardrobe;
  • Identifying your primary colors;
  • Ideas for using your palette to create new outfits;
  • Tips for using accent colors in unexpected ways;
  • Using your palette when you shop!
Using color palettes while you shop

Once you’ve created your palette based on the clothes already in your closet, carry it with you when you shop! (Click the photo to go straight to my article. Photo is my own, also used in the published article.)

Colormusing

This post appeared originally at my A Musing blog, here.

Want to see sewing stuff from Colormusing? Check out myBratelier (lingerie sewing, including bras!), and A Musing, covering all things color-palette-related. And don’t miss all my newest projects, including sew-alongs, at the brand-new SewColormusing blog!

Click on the dots above to visit my mother ship, Colormusing.com, where you can also sign up to receive Hue News, Colormusing’s own monthly e-mail newsletter!

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Personal Style: What’s Your Type?

Found in my inbox this morning: A slideshow from Refinery29* that suggests we can find our individual fashion identities in one of these categories:

  • Editor Off-duty
  • Club Kid Nouveau
  • Les Sportifs
  • The New Bohemians
  • Lady Hypebeast

I’m curious: When reading through this list, is there one (or more) that immediately strikes a chord before you go to the slideshow? If so, that’s a really good indication of the general direction of your personal style. For me, Editor Off-duty and The New Bohemians sound the most like me, but I think I’ll look at the slideshow before I decide.

Editor Off-duty jacket

Am I more Editor Off-duty or…

The New Bohemians

…a New Bohemian? Or both?

While it’s tempting to go for simplicity and claim just one of these categories as your own, keep in mind that it’s almost impossible to sum up your personal style under a single heading. When I first looked through this slideshow, I found myself wishing that I could just say I’m this or I’m that, and be done with it (certainly would simplify shopping!), but we’re all more complex than that. I really do like putting together outfits that combine modern structure with a slightly quirky side, rather than adopting one look head-to-toe. So, based on this slideshow, I’d call myself Editor Off-duty meets The New Bohemians.

To be honest, even saying that makes me want to rebel just a little and say, “But there’s more to me than that! What about gym clothes? What about tango ensembles??” This made me go back and look through the list of styles in the slideshow once again, but this time with this goal: Put together an outfit with 1 element from each of the 5 types. What do you think? Can it be done?

Tip: I noticed that for each type, there is a suggestion for a jacket, top, pants/dress/skirt, bag, shoes, and an accessory (bag, sunnies)— key elements for creating a complete look— so that’s what I did in the photo below. (It’s interesting that, when you think of these individual pieces in terms of the clothing category they belong to, you start to see the method in the make-an-outfit madness.)

Here’s what I came up with. (By the way, this is something I’d actually wear. Okay, maybe I’d modify those shoes just a bit.)

 

All 5 types

All 5 fashion types, together in 1 outfit! Editor Off-Duty trousers, Club Kid Nouveau shoe, Les Sportifs top, The New Bohemians bag, and Lady Hypebeast ear cuff. Ta-dah! (Click on the photo to go to the beginning of the Refinery29 slideshow. And speaking of photos, all clothing photos are from the slideshow; I put some together myself to make this image.)

Personally, I much prefer this kind of mix-and-match approach. By this I mean mixing styles; the only “matching” I really ever do is coordinating colors, and the easiest way I’ve found to do that is by creating color palettes for my outfits. In this outfit, for example, the multicolor bag pulls together the red and blue, with the white shoe and gold ear cuff functioning as neutrals.

While it’s certainly possible to dress consistently in just one style, I believe it’s easier to be true to who you are if you give yourself more options; otherwise, there is always the danger of becoming stuck in a style rut (or worse, looking like you’re wearing a costume). The style approach I find the most modern is to start with the general style you feel most comfortable with for your key wardrobe pieces, then add smaller pieces and accessories from a different style perspective.

I’m curious (again): What type(s) do you most identify with? Maybe you consider yourself to be in a category not represented in the slideshow. Are you a one-look-head-to-toe kind of person, or do you like to mix it up— or both?

*The usual disclaimer: I’m not affiliated in any way with Refinery29; I’m just an e-mail subscriber who really enjoys the fashion headlines/advice/inspiration they send me.


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Said the Palette to the Closet: Color Me Surprised!

My closet is just full of surprises.

There are the fun surprises, like finding that shocking-pink cashmere V-neck I’d thought I’d accidentally thrown away during a houseguests-are-coming organizational frenzy. Then there are some less pleasant surprises, such as a broken zipper on the skirt that would have been the perfect thing to wear out dancing or the jeans that don’t quite fit any more. And every once in a while, something simply serendipitous (not to mention alliterative!) takes you by surprise, usually when you think you have things all planned out, but then the plan changes…

The other day, I went to the library in search of books about dyeing (please note the crucial  letter e in that word). Specifically, I was looking for useful information about dyeing yarns with acid dyes (I touched on my adventures in Dye-land recently). I’m working on a book proposal on this topic, so I naturally wanted to see what’s already out there. Since I had already done extensive online searching, including scans of library databases, I wasn’t totally surprised at the meager results: less than a dozen books grouped in the dyeing category, and almost all of them focused on (a) dyeing fabric, primarily cotton fabrics for quilting (which requires a different type of dye), and/or (b) using natural dyes. (Of course, it could be that books that would meet my criteria were all checked out, but I checked on the library computer before I left, and this was not the case.)

However, it’s virtually impossible for me to leave any library empty-handed, so I looked around the color/art section and found…

…this!

The Color Scheme Bible

The Color Scheme Bible, my latest library find. (Image courtesy of Amazon.com; click the picture to see this book at Amazon.com.)

Yes, I know it says it’s about interior design, but if you look, you’ll find that most color palette-oriented materials available do seem to be for interiors. But that doesn’t mean you can’t put them to use in your closet! In fact, the following experiment may just inspire you to try new color combinations with the clothes and accessories you already have, not to mention the way you choose new items to add to your current wardrobe. Try it!

Here’s what I did.

Step 1. I skimmed through the pages of palettes (organized into sections by color families: pink, grey, blue, etc.), settling on this one that jumped out at me:

Pick-a-Palette!

Step 1: Pick-a-Palette! I chose this one primarily because I know I already have several things in my closet in the main color (bordeaux, although they’re calling it damson berry). I love the general idea of wearing several different shades of red together, so this seemed like a good place to start.

Tip: Make sure your palette has a minimum of 3 colors: main color, secondary color (often a contrast to the main color), accent color. A simple, high-contrast wardrobe example would be a black skirt (main color), white blouse (secondary color), hot pink heels (accent color). If your palette has more than 3 colors, like the one shown here, you’ll have that many more options, particularly with your accessory colors.

Step 2: Start with something in your main color. I found this skirt. (This should be a garment, not an accessory.)

Main color: skirt

Step 2: Main-color garment: Bordeaux skirt.

Tip: When laying out your garments, it helps to put them on top of a white sheet so you can judge the color effects without distractions. (This is especially helpful when I’m laying things out on my bed— it’s covered with a deep claret-red comforter.)

Step 3: Add a secondary-color piece. An ensemble is not made with a skirt alone, so I pulled this be-sequinned espresso-brown tank:

Step 2: Top that skirt!

Step 3: Top that skirt! This is the closest match I could find to the darker secondary color (top left on the book page), which they’re calling “eggplant”. This deep brown looks pretty close to me.

Already I have an outfit of pieces that I hadn’t previously thought to combine!

Step 4: Add another secondary-color piece. I wanted to find something in bright pink (the other secondary color in my palette), if possible:

Hand-knitted capelet

Step 4: Add pink! Hand-knitted capelet, combining bordeaux shades with both light and bright pinks. Also note the difference made by adding multiple new textures to this outfit. Layering also makes it more versatile.

Notice how with each additional step, I’m actually creating a new look? And all based around the same skirt, and all done with things I already have!

Step 5: Add accent colors. I’m so intrigued with the sort of deep chartreuse and bright turquoise accent colors in my palette, neither of which I would have thought of pairing with bordeaux. I’m not so sure I have anything in those exact shades, but this sweater comes kind of close to the chartreuse:

Accent-uate your palette!

Step 5: Acc-ent-uate the palette! With the addition of the chartreuse cashmere pullover, this outfit suddenly feels totally different. Okay, I’m not sure this particular sweater works wonderfully with the style of the skirt, but the point is to start to visualize new color combinations, right?

 Step 6: Add another accent color, this time with accessories, that is, if I can find anything in my closet that’s reasonably close to turquoise. How about this green bag? It’s kind of in the same color family. I think. Ooh, and this turquoise scarf!

Adding accessories

Step 6: Adding accessories. The scarf comes closer than the bag to the palette’s accent colors, but this exercise is not really about rigorously matching colors; it’s just about playing with colors. (The scarf is one I hand-knitted with some luscious merino/cashmere yarn that I dyed to create this ombré effect; the scarf is made with just 1 skein. Here’s where you can find this yarn in my Etsy shop.)

 Step 7: Add finishing touches. I’m going to put a favorite sweater-jacket in a deep rose-red over this outfit and see what happens!

Finishing touch: Jacket!

Step 7: Finish with a jacket! To my eye, at least, this ensemble suddenly looks much more cohesive. Again, the color of my jacket doesn’t exactly match anything in the palette, but it works. And the felted wool adds another textural surprise!

Tip: Looking at this last photo makes me realize that it’s a great example of the use of complementary colors, in this case, red and green (and various shades thereof). Remember my color theory crash course? Complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel—the origin of many a fine color palette.

Step 7, Part Deux: Try a different accessory color. Just by switching the turquoise scarf for one in shades of pink and red (also one of my own hand-painted yarns), this look changes yet again. And this time, the red/green complementary color thing is even more apparent:

The Big Scarf Switch

Step 7, Part Deux: The Big Scarf Switch! Changing to this subtly-variegated scarf makes a crucial difference with all these solid colors. And for me, considering all the different textures I now have in the outfit, this combination works the best, color-wise; it’s just shades of red and shades of green. Simple!

Looking at these photos again now, it really still amazes me that I could, in a matter of minutes (less if I hadn’t been taking these photos!), pull together an interesting outfit in a color combination I hadn’t thought to try before now. Quelle surprise, indeed!

Find a color palette that speaks to you, then take it into your closet. I’m betting you’ll be surprised by what you find!

I’d love to know what happens when you try this! If you want to get started right now (you know you do), browse palettes on ColourLovers. The link will take you to my page there, but you can search through the whole site; for example, when I searched for “bordeaux”, these are the palettes that came up.

 


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Run, Don’t Walk: Out-of-print Sewing Patterns on Sale!

This just in: select sewing patterns from Vogue, McCall’s, Butterick, and Kwik Sew that were previously out-of-print are not only available again, but on sale! The Vogue patterns are $5.99 each (and you know how expensive they can be at their regular prices), and all the others are just $3.99 each. But don’t wait— you have until Tuesday, November 26.

Where can you find these goodies? Click on the photo below; this will take you to the sale information page, and from there, you can go to any (or all) of the 4 pattern companies.

Vogue 8605 sewing pattern

Vogue 8605 sewing pattern. This and other out-of-print sewing patterns are available in limited quantities and sizes, so don’t wait! Click on the photo (courtesy of Vogue Patterns) to head straight to this sale!


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Party Garb: Using Key Pieces to Dress Up!

From my cyber-friends at RealSimple comes this helpful slideshow, Festive Outfits for the Holiday Season. And when I say “helpful”, I mean it: the focus is on using just one key piece—which may very well be in your closet already— to create new party-worthy ensembles. The clothes they show include links to buy them, and with prices starting at just $50.00, these options are practical and affordable!

The slideshow categories are The Colorful Dress, The Embellished Jacket, Dressy Pants, The Black Dress, and The Long Skirt (the photo below is one example).

Long skirt

The Long Skirt. Remember Sharon Stone wearing a fancy long skirt and jewels with a plain white shirt (from the Gap, I think) to the Oscars?? At $198.00 (the slideshow said $149.00), this is the priciest item in the slideshow, and you can find it on Piperlime. (Click the photo to go directly to the slideshow.)

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Second Coating, Part 1: A Belated Thrift-Shop Thursday

On this Thrift-Shop Thursday, I find myself wanting to extend the Halloween spirit just a little longer. (Click here to read my special Halloween project post, the alleged reason for this TST post’s belatedness.) To that end, I’ve decided this is the perfect time for a rather extreme idea that starts with not one, but two thrift-shop jackets. Yes, folks, I will be attempting something so wildly, radically, even insanely experimental, it has never been seen before! (Okay, never on this blog.) Follow me into the Changing Your Clothes laboratory as I prepare to create…

The Franken-Coat!

Jackets before...

My black-and-white thrift-shop jackets, before entering the CYC lab. 1. Wool/cotton/rayon blend tweed/windowpane plaid jacket, lined. Thrift-shop price: $9.95. 2. Wool/polyester blend bird’s-eye tweed coat, lined. Thrift-shop price: $14.95.

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Shades of Excitement: Fall’s Most Wearable Color Trend

Just in from my fashion gurus at WhoWhatWear: the fruity summer shades of red and pink are transitioning to the deeper, richer wines of autumn. This slideshow explores this delicious color trend, from rosy mauve to velvety bordeaux.

Shades of wine and roses

Shades of wine and roses. Click the photo (courtesy of WhoWhatWear) to see the entire slideshow.

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