Changing Your Clothes

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


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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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Warm Evenings: Dress Up Your Coat!

Last night, I was trying to decide what to wear to the Portland Art Museum’s member party. Since this was the first time I’ve gone to an event like this in Portland, I wasn’t sure exactly what would constitute an appropriate ensemble; all I knew was that it was in the evening, there would be food, wine, live music, and dancing. A dress seemed indicated. However…

You know how sometimes you base an entire outfit around a fabulous pair of shoes? Well, as I was trying to get ready, it dawned on me that I might just have to choose my dress to go with a coat, instead of the other way around. To the coat closet I went, only to discover that anything that could remotely be construed as “evening” was not going to work with any of my dresses. (In my defense, I have been uncharacteristically ruthless with my recent closet purges, and it was warm and dry for so long this year that this issue really hadn’t come up.)

What kinds of coats actually do work for evening? I suspect most of us don’t really want to invest in coats we’ll only wear occasionally, so is it possible to find coats that work for day as well as for dressier events? If so, where can we find these happy hybrids? Continue reading