Changing Your Clothes

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


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Makeover Monday: She Shops… She Scores!

Previously on Makeover Monday: Last week I told you about the launch of my wardrobe-wide makeover, that will transform my motley assortment into a cohesive collection. My most pressing need is for more professional wear, but I would also like to incorporate additional garments suitable for Argentine tango— without having to create 2 separate wardrobes. Hence my new and ongoing Makeover Monday project: Take Tango to Work!

My main issue: For me, virtually all clothing currently sold as tango wear is inappropriate, both as part of a professional wardrobe, and for a woman of a certain age. (Not to mention that tango clothes frequently come only in various combinations of red and black, neither of which is a personal favorite.)

What kinds of pieces would work? Even outside of dancing, I prefer wearing skirts, so I’m starting there. But even with the fashion latitude a creative professional enjoys, I don’t think slinky skirts and dresses are proper. So I’ll look for more structured pieces, meaning made with woven fabrics, including stretch wovens; these materials typically result in a more substantial garment, as opposed to one that would cling inappropriately.

Since I really wanted to get this makeover project off to a quick start (I have a tango lesson tonight, after all), I dropped into one of my favorite thrift shops, Value Village. (If you happen to be in the Portland area, the one I usually go to is the Tigard branch; this is a fairly large chain of stores, and you can search for the one closest to your zip code.) I was looking more for tops, of which I found a few, but my big find for the day was this skirt:

My new gray skirt!

SCORE! My new gray skirt is a lightweight wool pinstripe from Jones New York, fully lined, with an invisible zipper, in like-new condition. And it fits me perfectly! (Skirt price: $7.99!)

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Practical vs. Extravagant: The Follow-up

I know you’ve all been breathlessly waiting to hear the results of my Practical vs. Extravagant question. Wait no longer! (For those of you who are breathlessly confused about what I’m talking about, you might want to read the post that started this great debate.) Here is my finished outfit:

Extravagant dance outfit!

My Extravagant outfit, all dressed up and hoping to dance! The skirt, with its glowing colors and asymmetrical hem (longer on the right side of this photo, shorter on the other side), is sexy without being inappropriate.

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Practical vs. Extravagant: The Great Debate

Last week, when I was trying to plan a special holiday outfit, toying with various pieces of fabrics and patterns, I found myself in a familiar place of indecision. I had put together a selection of more or less coordinated fabrics from my over-abundant stash: I started with a gorgeous sequinned fabric with cutouts and a fabulous pointy border, which I thought would be most appropriate for a skirt, but this would necessitate some sort of lining. I came up with a tie-dyed georgette which looked wonderful under the sequins, but which was semi-sheer, so I found a bright coral satin for the undermost layer of what was now a 3-layer skirt.

(Those of you with sharp eyes and memories may recognize this satin from my recent post about making a skirt from a custom-fitted muslin; the satin lines that skirt. Good thing I like this stuff— even after making this second skirt, I still have a lot left over!)

Finally, I added a coral stretch velvet to make a simple top (with all that going on in the skirt, the top really needs to be simple). Here are the four fabrics:

Fabrics for dancing outfit

Fabrics for my dancing outfit: The sequinned beauty with the tie-dyed georgette underneath and showing through the cutouts in the sequinned piece, and the satin underneath both (you can see a little of this by itself in the lower right corner). In the upper left corner is the stretch velvet.

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