Changing Your Clothes

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

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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


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


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


Closet Confessions: How My Trousers Got Their Stripes

Remember my pale sage green linen trousers I made for my Santa Fe travel wardrobe? Well, there’s a reason they have those sporty side stripes— and I’m willing to tell all, purely out of consideration for you, dear readers.

For my sewing friends: have you run into this problem with multi-sized patterns? The one where the size range is, say, 6-14 or 16-22, but you are in between? This is what happened to me with the trouser pattern I used. It went up to a size 14; in ready-to-wear, I’m more like a size 12, but in sewing patterns (which are sized differently), I’m finding that a 14 or 16 is more appropriate, depending on what type of garment it is. (But even that isn’t consistent across pattern brands. Aargh.) When purchasing the pattern, I decided optimistically to get the smaller size range, intending to cut the largest size (14). Which I did.

Problem:  <Deeeep breath>  The trousers were too small. In some fabrics (stretch wovens, for example), this might not have been such an issue, but I was using a substantial linen, and the trousers were cut with wide legs, so I didn’t want the fit to be tight. Aargh encore. Continue reading


Packing Lists, Airport Info, & More: A Fantastic Blog!

Since my posts about travel wardrobe planning and creation are really all about the clothes, I wanted you to see this blog, AirportsMadeSimple. In addition to practical information about airports, including weather, international travel help, and even tips on traveling with your pets, they have some fantastic packing lists! Check out the “her” packing list; this has everything you could possibly want or need, starting from what should go in your carry-on (from reading material to face spritzer), up to and including antibacterial wipes for hotel room and jacuzzi. I do believe they’ve thought of everything!

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Changing Their Clothes: The Reinvention of 5 Classic Labels

Pringle of Scotland, Belstaff, Kenzo, Moncler, Pierre Cardin: 5 long-time fashion labels are reinventing their classic images with 21st-century style. Take a look at this slideshow, courtesy of Refinery 29.

Pierre Cardin, shown in July 2012

Pierre Cardin, shown in July 2012 (click on the photo to go to the slideshow)

I find this so inspiring— if a company like Pringle, which has been around since 1815 (!), can not only keep up, but also add something unique to the ever-changing fashion landscape, surely we can too!  And it shouldn’t require completely doing away with the old; Pringle has, for example, taken the classic tartans and argyles from their style archives and given them a fresh modern twist. Moncler started out making outerwear for mountain climbers, which it has now morphed into a sporty-chic fashion line! And Pierre Cardin, known in the 70s for his futuristic fashion vision, has softened those stark silhouettes into looks that brilliantly combine ease and structure.

Let’s take inspiration from these fashion icons, and look at our existing clothes in a new way. Okay, maybe those distressed (not to say tortured) jeans have seen better days, but they could be worn with sleek-heeled boots, close-fitting cabled sweater, and a colorful motorcycle jacket (don’t forget sunglasses!). That classic print wrap dress? Even though it never really goes out of style, it might still benefit from an update, courtesy of ombré tights, fringed suede booties, and a topping of faux-fur vest.

Me? I have a little black dress that I can’t bear to toss, but since I’m moving away from wearing black, I’m thinking maybe accessories (jewelry, gloves, maybe a capelet) in a palette of many shades of grey (much more flattering on me than black), with a single pop of really bright color would make this dress work for me; I have a large, deep gold bag that would be perfect with the greys.

What’s in your closet that could be reimagined? I’d love to hear your ideas!

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Fresh from Fashion Week: Multimedia Looks!

I just got this link from Shopbop. It’s a slideshow of some amazing multimedia effects, creative combinations of textures, colors, and silhouettes. Yes, these are high-fashion looks, so I send this along primarily as inspiration— just think about incorporating a single idea from these total looks.

For example, in the first photo (the model with the golden statue, below; clicking on the photo will take you directly to this page of the slideshow), maybe you love the idea of the sky-high burnished-gold boots, but simply don’t get how you can work them (let alone the entire outfit) into your pick-up-the-kids-stop-for-groceries-make-dinner days. Try applying the concept instead: glimmering bronze-finish statement earrings, or perhaps a great belt with a big, gleaming golden buckle.

Gold Boots, via Shopbop Via Shopbop: One of the multimedia looks in this inspiring slideshow. Continue reading

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Santa Fe Wardrobe: P.S.

As a follow-up to my Santa Fe wardrobe follow-up, I thought you might be interested in a few stats about my Santa Fe travel wardrobe:

1. Out of the 9 main items I packed (not counting swimsuit, sleepwear, etc.), I made 6 of them myself:

a. The deep olive green silk twill Origami skirt;

b. The pale sage green wide-legged linen trousers with deep taupe herringbone racing stripes;

c. The print silk crepe de chine one-shouldered tunic;

d. The cap-sleeved sage-and-lavender-print knit top;

e. The print jersey V-neck dress;

f. The hand-knitted one-sleeved entrelac wrap (also my original design)

(The ones I did not make are the jeans, teal knit top, and asymmetrical print top.)

2. The only things I bought specifically for this wardrobe were the following (everything else I already had, including sewing patterns):

a. Fabrics for the linen trousers and cap-sleeved knit top;

b. The jeans

(I also bought the pewter jersey to line the bronze dress, which ultimately did not make it into my suitcase for this trip. All other fabrics came from my stash.) Continue reading


Santa Fe Wardrobe: A Post-Trip Review

Now that I’m back from Santa Fe, I realize that I need to follow up on my previous posts about creating my travel wardrobe for this trip. (See the following if you want to catch up: Santa Fe Travel Wardrobe: Color Palette, and The Fabrics & Projects. I also posted ideas for shopping for this wardrobe: Shopping! and Shopping 2: $49.95 or Less! Meanwhile, I’ll get all these photos ready to show you.)

Honestly, I’m a bit surprised that my actual travel wardrobe turned out almost exactly as I planned it; I’ll give more details about the changes as we go. First, here are photos of the pieces I packed: tops, bottoms, dress.

The Tops The tops; it’s unusual for me to wear prints at all, so you can see I’m trying to push myself! (I made the one-shouldered silk tunic and the sage and lavender cap-sleeve knit top.) Continue reading

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Closet Makeover Ideas, courtesy of Real Simple

Look what came into my e-mail box this morning: Loads of closet-transforming ideas from Real Simple! From using the proper hangers to space-saving tricks for tiny closets, here are 31 fantastic strategies for your best closet ever!

What are your favorite tips for keeping your closet under control?

Add a Shoe Platform

Closet tip: Add a shoe platform! (Click on this picture to go directly to this tip at Real Simple.)