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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Shades of Excitement: Fall’s Most Wearable Color Trend

Just in from my fashion gurus at WhoWhatWear: the fruity summer shades of red and pink are transitioning to the deeper, richer wines of autumn. This slideshow explores this delicious color trend, from rosy mauve to velvety bordeaux.

Shades of wine and roses

Shades of wine and roses. Click the photo (courtesy of WhoWhatWear) to see the entire slideshow.

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While You’re Waiting…

I’m working fast and furiously (to say nothing of alliteratively) on what threatens to be a lengthy follow-up report on my ORD (Chicago) travel wardrobe you’ve been reading about over the past few weeks; for now, suffice it to say that just sorting through all my photos amounts to a full-time job today.

Aside: I was going to refer to your excited anticipation with the phrase “bated breath”, when I suddenly realized I have no idea what that means. If any of my more erudite readers can explain exactly what it is that makes one’s breath bated, please enlighten me! End of aside.

So while you’re waiting for me to pull myself my report together, feast your eyes on this inspiring slideshow, featuring 21 uniquely stylish Frenchwomen, courtesy of WhoWhatWear:

Coco Chanel

The one and only: Coco Chanel, in her signature Little Black Dress and ropes of pearls. Click her picture (courtesy of WhoWhatWear.com) to see the entire slideshow of French women, from actresses to bloggers, who continue to inspire us with their unique style!

P.S. I’ll have Part 1 of my ORD Travel Wardrobe report for you tomorrow!


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Makeover Monday: A Tale of Two Skirts

It was the best of skirts:

Just-below-knee-length pencil silhouette, charcoal grey, substantial-weight stretch woven fabric, invisible zipper, back vent. Goes with everything.

Pencil skirt

Pencil skirt (before). Serviceable, but…

It was the worst of skirts:

Dull.

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Makeover Monday: A Shirt Story

Last week on Makeover Monday, I showed you how to remove a collar from a button-down shirt, and finish the raw edges to create a fun, versatile accessory piece. Today, I decided to experiment with the rest of that shirt. We’ll see how this turns out…

Faced with the raw-edged remains of my now collarless-shirt, I thought I should at least give it a chance at a new life. After all, it’s a nice-quality, soft, lightweight cotton in a beautiful coral-meets-terracotta color, and it’s only the collar that’s gone:

Collarless shirt

My shirt after last week’s collar-removing project; this week, I’ll see what I can make from what’s left.

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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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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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Makeover Monday: Rethinking the Concept

I’m working on some fairly major makeovers right now, none of which are quite ready for their close-ups, so I’m going to take a little break from the projects this week, and give some thought to my whole makeover concept.

If I was going to have a total makeover myself (clothes, hair, makeup), I would only consider it a success if the changes were more than just superficial; helpful shopping advice, greater confidence, more openness to trying new styles, or tips for tailoring clothes to fit me perfectly, for example. And if I apply that same thinking to my Makeover Monday projects, shouldn’t I expect more than, say, newly-dyed jeans or a scarf turned into a sweater?

I’d like to think, when I’m choosing and working on my Makeover Monday projects, that you’re getting more than just a tutorial; after all, maybe you don’t actually have a pair of jeans in need of an overhaul, or a scarf that you love and yet don’t wear. If that’s the case, I still want you to derive some benefit. So now, after quite a few weeks of makeovers, maybe it’s time for me to ask myself: Is there more to my makeovers than meets the eye?

The more I think about the answer to this question, the more I come back to the original intent of this blog: to inspire you to think about, and wear, the clothes you already have in new ways. That may involve repairs, alterations, embellishments, or all-out makeovers, or it might be simply rethinking the way you use the items in your current wardrobe. I’ll give a simple example from my own closet: jeans (recognize them from a previous Makeover Monday?), cowl-neck knit top, tweedy jacket, and my very favorite (okay, only) Hermes silk scarf, a souvenir from my very first trip to Paris over 20 years ago. Here are 3 ways I wear the same scarf:

1 scarf 3 ways

1 scarf 3 ways: draped and tied at the neck, swinging from a belt loop, and embellishing the bag.

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Fall 2013: Vogue’s Guide to Fashion

Yin and yang. Hard and soft. Masculine and feminine. For fall 2013, fashion is all about the contrasts.

Vogue Magazine’s supersized slideshow (it’s 140 slides) is your guide to the most influential trends, designers, and collections of Fall 2013. In addition to showing iconic looks from their 12 favorite collections of the season, Vogue has compiled examples of an amazing range of trends. Menswear Materials, The New Blue, Velvet, and Touch of Fur cover fabric, color, and texture directions; Forties Glamour, Sweaters & Skirts, The Bike Jacket, Discreet Chic, and Rock Star Style are key trends in ensemble dressing; and Wardrobe of Coats, Modern Evening, and At-Home Dressing all speak to the integration of fashion and lifestyle.

Just in case you don’t have time for all 140 slides, here’s a greatly-condensed version, complete with some of my favorite picks from each category. (You can jump directly to any category by clicking on its photo.)

Menswear materials

Menswear materials: Michael Kors. This is one of the most flattering takes on the peplum trend I’ve seen so far, and the skirt length is proportionally perfect.  (Click on the picture to go directly to this section of Vogue’s slideshow.)

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Makeover Monday: Cardi-Wrap to Cocoon

Ever since I made my first 3D scarf for last week’s Makeover Monday, I’ve been wearing it almost every day. It’s the perfect light-yet-warm layer that goes on easily over everything. (I’m wearing it even as I type right now!) In fact, this surprisingly versatile piece has gotten so much use already that it inspired me to root through more than my scarf collection for makeover candidates. And lo! Lurking deep in a stack of seldom-worn hand-knitted sweaters, I found this:

Cardi-wrap, pre-makeover

Cardi-Wrap, pre-makeover. This is literally just a long, wide scarf with sleeves set into the rectangle.

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