Changing Your Clothes

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


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A Year of Change

It’s my anniversary! Today it’s exactly one year since I published my very first post here on Changing Your Clothes. And since anniversaries tend to inspire nostalgia for the year that was, here’s a recap of my first year at CYC.

First, some blog numbers:

Followers: 127 (thank you!)

Posts: 113 (this one makes 114)

Views: 7,489

Comments: 428

And some wardrobe numbers:

Clothing items made: 19 (plus 2 for my daughter)

Clothing items altered, repaired, or made over: 25 (including one at my hair salon)

Travel wardrobes created: 2 (Santa Fe and Chicago)

So I’ve averaged more than 2 followers, 2 posts, 144 views, and 8 comments per week, not to mention a total of 46 garments (almost 1 per week) that I’ve either created or altered in the last year. That’s a lot of clothes-changing (and writing) going on!

But these statistics represent just a tiny part of the bigger-picture transformation that’s marked this year for me. As I’ve changed my clothes, my blog has changed, and creating my blog has changed me, which contributes to changing my blog even more in turn.

How can something as apparently superficial as clothes be the catalyst for this kind of chain-reaction growth cycle?

What we choose to wear communicates who we are to the observing world. Whether we dress to stand out, or try to hide in our clothes, we’re all sending a message that’s as clear as a neon sign flashing, “This is who I am”. So as long as we’re growing, shouldn’t our clothes be changing to reflect our internal state?

Try this. Imagine you’re an actor, and you’ve just received your script for an upcoming play. Let’s say you’re  normally a casual dresser, but as you read over your part, you realize you’re playing a super-glamorous, high-profile celebrity. Imagine working through all your scenes, wearing your usual jeans and t-shirt “uniform”; now imagine your first dress rehearsal, in your character’s full red-carpet style. How different do you feel, wearing clothes that are so different from your own style?

That’s the power of changing your clothes.

You don’t have to be an actor, putting a new character on each time you go to work, to experience this power. You simply have to raise your awareness of how you feel when you get dressed. It’s simple: if you don’t feel good, all you need to do is change your clothes. It’s not that you’re pretending to be someone else; you’re choosing to allow your clothes to be an active part of your personal growth.

An example from my own blog work is the jeans I made over by adding reversible cuffs. Prior to this project, I hadn’t worn these jeans in a long time, only because they were marginally too short for me; I stopped wearing them when I realized how self-conscious this was making me. But since their makeover, I’ve worn these jeans more times than I can count, even including them in my recent Chicago travel wardrobe!

My jeans, post-makeover

My jeans, post-makeover! On the left are my “new” jeans with bronze cuffs down; at right, I’ve folded up the cuffs to reveal the lace-print side. Definitely a change for the better!

So I not only changed the jeans, but how I felt about wearing them! Sure, I could have simply bought a pair that was long enough (actually not that simple, with a 33″ inseam), but this way, I get a bonus: the sense of accomplishment from making my jeans better than they were originally.

In addition to the wardrobe work, writing about changing my clothes has also been a significant part of this year’s growth for me. I’ve not only become more disciplined as a writer, I’ve also developed a sharper focus: writing about creative ways to get the most out of clothes we already have. And I realized recently that, for me, writing about clothes has become analogous to actually wearing them: both allow me to tell the world a little about who I am, as I am right now, today, and also how I’m changing over time.

It’s funny, when I try to articulate exactly how I’ve changed, it’s hard; it seems simpler to look at my clothes for clues. Virtually all the clothes I’ve either made, bought, or altered in some way have something special about them; I think my days of buying “practical” basics are behind me. What I want now is to wear clothes that express my individuality. (Think about it: if people were to describe the way you dress in one word, would you want that word to be “practical”?) So I think I can conclude that I’ve become more comfortable with myself, with who I am, and that’s what I’m seeing in my new (and newly-made-over) clothes.

Yes, I’ve changed a lot of my clothes over the past year; my writing has changed too, all of which is reflective of even greater internal changes. So what’s next?

Maybe I can begin to answer that question… over the next year or so.

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An Exceptional Resolution

New Year’s Day. Reviewing my closet this morning, I was wondering what resolutions to make, relative to changing my clothes; after all, what’s in my closet changes of its own volition, at least a little, almost constantly. Just in the past week or so, I’ve had to let go of a favorite pair of red suede T-strap shoes that I’ve had for at least 10 years, decided an equally ancient sweater was just not worth any more mending, and that a favorite sequinned tank top was (sigh) just too small. I wonder: with a wardrobe in more or less continual evolution, is it worth making resolutions today that may just have to be amended tomorrow? Continue reading


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Feeling Blue? Dressing to Change your Mood

A few days ago, I was having a low moment. Well, more than just a moment. I was wearing faded jeans and a black cardigan over a grey camisole. What does that have to do with it? Okay, there’s a chicken-or-the-egg aspect: was I wearing dull colors because I was feeling down, or feeling down because I was wearing dull colors? Either way, if I think about it in a Pythagorean kind of way, changing my clothes (or at least adding some color) should logically change my spirits.

But… implementing this sort of clothes-minded therapy requires making a conscious choice.

Continue reading


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Calling all clothes lovers!

You and your clothes… it’s a love/hate relationship. You love the way a dress looks, but not the way it fits. Or the color of a sweater is fantastic, but the neckline just looks wrong. Maybe you’ve found an amazing skirt at your favorite thrift store, but it has a noticeable stain in an awkward spot. What’s a clothes-loving girl to do?

Changing Your Clothes is all about discovering the creative possibilities that already exist, right in your own closet! Everything I post here is my own projects, the solutions I find to my real-life clothes quandaries. (And I have a lot of those.) Follow my fashion-filled adventures as I alter, repair, knit, sew, recycle, reimagine, and reinvent my own wardrobe!

It’s about time to change your clothes— and love them all over again!