Changing Your Clothes

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


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Dress Up! Flattering Options for Every Shape

Just in time for warmer weather (ahem… are you listening, Portland?), I give you this wonderful slideshow from Refinery29, featuring summery frocks to rock every figure!

Aside: I have to admit that I’m uncertain which category I fall into; am I a Carrot, an Hourglass, or a Botticelli Babe? (And is it wrong of me to prefer the latter, just because I like the sound of it?) Is a Botticelli Babe a cross between a Carrot and an Hourglass? But seriously… I often find it difficult to put myself definitively into one specific category, but maybe that’s because I don’t like being easily defined. Is it just me? End of aside.

Here’s one of my favorite looks, even though it’s not for my body type (or is it?):

Dress for a Carrot

A summer dress for a Carrot. I might just wear this regardless of my body type; it would be flattering on many figures. (Image courtesy of Refinery29. Click on the picture to see the whole slideshow.)

I’m personally most intrigued by the tips for using strategic placement of prints and color-blocking (you know that’s my favorite) to instantly change how you perceive your proportions; looking great in your clothes is, after all, much more about proportion than about size. Really.

Reminder: As of this week, I’ve decided to alternate my Makeover Monday and Thrift-Shop Thursday posts on a weekly basis. This week was Makeover Monday week, so next week, you’ll find a Thrift-Shop Thursday post on (you guessed it) Thursday. Don’t miss it!


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The Remnants of the Day: A High-Fashion Follow-up

The very day that I wrote my May 23 Thrift-Shop Thursday post, which included a section on color-blocking with fabric remnants, guess what arrived in the mail? My Women’s Wear Daily, featuring a color-blocked gown from Christian Dior’s newest Resort 2014 collection! Here it is:

Christian Dior color-blocked dress

Christian Dior color-blocked dress. I love the mix of fabrics, as well as the use of color. Personally, I’d line that lace panel, though. I’m just saying. (Photo courtesy of Style.com; click on the photo to see this dress in the Resort 2014 collection slideshow.)

This dress perfectly illustrates my suggestion of mixing textures as well as colors, when planning a color-blocked garment. (Although the silhouette is different in Butterick 5852, one of the dress patterns I showed in the last TST post, it’s remarkably similar to this Dior dress, in the way color-blocking is used vertically.) And how fun would it be to create your own original version of this breathtaking designer dress— especially if you could do it with fabric scraps and remnants?

Click here to see the slideshow of the entire Christian Dior Resort 2014 collection, in which you’ll find many examples of artistic color-blocking, from a simple contrast-color waistband on a pair of pants to structured daytime dresses. I hope this inspires you as much as it does me!


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Quick: Change Your Clothes!

It started like most Wednesday mornings. I caught up with some reading over early-morning coffee and breakfast, and I was just rolling out my yoga mat, when suddenly…

…the phone rang.

It was the manager of my hair salon. I had an appointment for 2:15 in the afternoon, but my stylist had had a last-minute cancellation, and wanted to know if I could run over a little early. As in right that minute: 10:05 a.m. (It so happens that I live literally across the street from my salon, otherwise I wouldn’t even have attempted to make it.) Here’s a direct quote from my stylist, heard in the background while I was talking to the manager: “Just brush your teeth and come over!” The question was, how fast could I get there? 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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Shopping Alert: Martin Margiela for H & M, coming soon!

I hope you don’t mind me posting 2 slideshows in a row, but I just had to show-and-tell you this: on November 15, H & M will debut a fabulous collection that’s a collaboration with the amazing Martin Margiela! Here’s one of my personal favorites:

Margiela for H & M dress Maison Martin Margiela for H & M dress, from the collaborative collection available beginning November 15. Love the peek of leg! (Click on the picture to go to the slideshow.) Continue reading


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Dressing for Your Body: Wedding Gown Inspiration

I was just looking at this slideshow from RealSimple, showing wedding gowns for various body types. I love looking at wedding gowns anyway, but this time it occurred to me that I could take some of their advice and adapt it for clothes I might wear more than once in my lifetime.

(Semi-serious disclaimer: if you detest the use of fruit names as euphemisms for body types, as I do, frankly, don’t say I didn’t warn you. That said, if you can ignore that part, there’s good information here.)

Here’s an example:

Wedding Dress for Full Figures Wedding gown for full figures. (Click on this picture to go see the entire slideshow.) Continue reading


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Changing a Pattern 3: Details

So far, the changes I’ve made just to get ready to make my jersey dress (Vogue 1305, photo 1) are:

1. Decided to make shorter version (long was the only length the pattern came in);

2. Chose to use a contrast lining, since some of the lining may be visible, due to slits on the sleeve and center back;

3. Chose a larger button than called for (closed with a bias fabric loop which can easily be made larger), being careful to choose one that’s both washable and lightweight.

(Details of the above are in Changing a Pattern; details of the process of shortening the pattern are in Changing a Pattern 2.)

Today, the final detail I need to deal with is that long slit in the center back of the dress, you know, the one that goes from the neck all the way down to there. Tres sexy indeed, but how does one wear a bra with it?? I decided that slit needed some closure (but then, don’t we all?). Continue reading