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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Just Plane Chic: Travel in Style!

By the time I was traveling a fair amount as an adult, the days when even flight attendants wore stockings and heels were long past. Now, it’s not uncommon to see people shuffling around airport terminals in what looks like pajamas accessorized oh-so-charmingly with flip-flops and uncombed hair. (I do assume at least some of these people just got off a 16-hour transatlantic flight, and I make allowances accordingly, lest you think I judge too harshly.)

The constant refrain I hear is, “But I want to be comfortable!” (Well, obviously— so do I!) Considering all the griping I also hear about all the reasons air travel is less than pleasant these days, I’d like to offer this hypothesis: We’d all enjoy ourselves a little bit more if we (a) knew we looked amazing (read: effortlessly comfortable), and (b) had other stylish travelers around us to improve our view en route.

Travel in Style, from Refinery29

Travel in Style, from Refinery29. (Click the picture to go directly to the slideshow.)

To get us started on the surprisingly brief journey to travel chic, take a look at this slideshow, courtesy of Refinery29: How to Travel in Style, sans Sweats! From suitcases to socks, this guide is loaded with fun and practical ideas that will hopefully inspire us all to up our style ante the next time we head to the airport!


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The Perfect Winter Hat: Does It Exist?

Airports Made Simple sent me this note today: “I have a question for you – this occurred to me today as I was walking my dog. It’s cold here, so I typically wear a warm cable knit hat that fits over my ears or a beret/beanie that’s warm. However, as you know…it doesn’t protect my skin from the sun like my ‘summer hat’ (a large garden hat or wide-brimmed beach hat), and I sometimes forget the sunscreen in the winter. Besides always wearing sunscreen (which I should do anyway!!), is there a winter hat style that is warm and also provides sun protection for the face?”

This is such a great question! I am very fair myself, so I’m a lifelong sunscreen user, but sunscreen alone is sometimes not enough. (Did you know that, even on a cloudy day, up to 80% of harmful UV rays still get through?) So I also love my wide-brimmed summer hats, but in the winter, they just look… wrong. Airports Made Simple raises a good point: in the winter, can a hat protect you from both cold and sun? Does the perfect winter hat actually exist?

I love hats myself, and coincidentally, I happen to have a wide-brimmed wool hat, for which I braved the blog camera (oh, the lengths I go to for you, my wonderful friends!):

My wide-brimmed wool hat My wide-brimmed wool hat: Yes, it keeps me warm and dry, but let’s be honest— it’s pretty dull, and not all that flattering. Which is why it’s mainly my rain hat. Continue reading


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Warm Evenings 2: How I Dressed Up My Coat

After writing my last post about evening coats (Warm Evenings: Dress Up Your Coat!), I got to thinking: what is that makes a coat “evening”, anyway? Sure, there are the duchesse-satin numbers, the velvet wraps, even some occasional cape drama— but how many of us own any of these, or want to? Since I’m not on the socialite circuit, let alone on the red carpet (yet), where’s the use value? Even with all the financial doom-and-gloominess, we still want to buy new clothes— we just expect more versatility. As I suggested in the previous post, why can’t one coat work for everyday use, as well as for dressier occasions?

To get into that day-coat-for-evening concept a little more, I thought I’d let you in on my getting-ready-for-the-museum-party (mentioned in the previous post) thought process.

Step 1: Pick a dress. I narrowed my choices down to 3 possibilities: the favorite, the pinch-hitter, and the in-case-of-emergency. And here’s where I ran into my problem. As I was trying on my favorite (a 1950s fit-and-flare-silhouette dress that I made with pale aqua silk noil to which I added an overlay of dark brown metallic lace), I suddenly realized it’s November, this dress is sleeveless — I have to wear a coat. Or something of that ilk. Problem: I have no coat/wrap/cape that’s the right combination of color and look to work with this dress.

So I ended up wearing my pinch-hitter dress: a bias-cut print silk georgette, one of my favorites; I got this from Anthropologie over 6 years ago, and I love it just as much now, but it’s quite definitely a summer dress. (Anthropologie called it the “Surrealist Dress”, which made it seem all the more appropriate for a night at the museum.) Here it is:

Surrealist Dress Surrealist Dress from Anthropologie; not exactly cold-weather wear! Continue reading


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Go Big: It’s All About the Balance!

Yes, the fickle fashion cycle has swung around again to embracing the oversized, but as the ensembles in this Refinery29 slideshow demonstrate, the key to making this look work is in keeping everything balanced.

Oversized skirt, fitted sweater Oversized skirt, fitted sweater; this look works because the sweater is proportionally as fitted as the skirt is voluminous. And I’m loving the pastel-with-bright color combination! (Click on the picture to go directly to the slideshow.) 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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Easiest Weekend Dressing Ever!

Okay, we now have no excuses left for looking sloppy on the weekends! Refinery29 has put together 5 outfits, each comprised of the following pieces:

1. Jeans

2. T-shirt

3. Flats

4. Sweater

5. Accessories (handbags, jewelry)

Example:

Easy Weekend Outfits Easy weekend outfits, courtesy of Refinery29. Each is based on jeans, T-shirt, sweater, and flats, with handbags and a little jewelry thrown in. Continue reading


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In Transition: A Postscript

After my last two posts (In Transition and In Transition Encore), I just wanted to add a few words on why I’m exploring this topic. I mean, it’s enough work to come up with seasonal wardrobes in the first place— now we have to mix them together?!

Every year I have the same struggle with getting my summer wardrobe together: why should I invest a lot of money, time, and effort into hot-weather clothes that in all likelihood will only be worn for a few weeks out of the year? (This applies to clothes that are bought, as well as ones that I make myself.) Well, as I’ve been finding out this year, the key is in planning. If I put more of the up-front effort into strategic planning, it should not only save shopping time, but also the time I might otherwise spend later in either returning items that don’t work, or in taking them to the thrift store. Not to mention whatever it takes to replace those rejected pieces! Continue reading


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In Transition Encore: Fall into a Summer Dress

As promised, here is another trio of transitional fall outfits, each based on the same summery dress shown here. This is a cotton jersey knit, so it’s basically a long sleeveless T-shirt, to be honest. (Actually, I made this dress with the same pattern, Vogue 1234, as the printed one in my Santa Fe wardrobe; the only difference is that this one doesn’t have the cap sleeves. They look really different, don’t they?) I love the tie-dye print in these bright, rich oranges, which incidentally is a great color for fall.

Cotton jersey knit summer dress; the interesting draping at the sides makes the hemline nearly ankle-length at its longest point, which bodes well for making it work for fall. Continue reading


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In Transition: Wearing Your Summer Clothes in the Fall

After my last post, in which I mentioned that the darker stripes on the sides of my linen trousers might enable them to be worn into the fall, I decided to follow up on that and show some actual examples of how I would do that. (All these outfits came out of what I already have in my closet, by the way. Everything I write about here comes out of my own experience— and closet.)

Outfit #1:

Linen Trousers Fall Outfit 1 Linen trousers for fall, outfit #1: Here I’ve simply added a mohair and silk sweater and fab color-blocked suede heels. Continue reading