Changing Your Clothes

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

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!)

I know it’s hard to see details because it’s a dark color, but take a look at this detailing:

Seaming details

Seaming details. The angles created with these sections result in bias draping, which creates such an elegant look (and forgiving fit). On me, this fabulous skirt is close-fitting around the waist and hips, then it has just the right amount of dance-y swing around the knee-length hemline.

I’m so happy this skirt is charcoal gray, not black! Black is harsh on me (I have very fair skin), so I try to avoid wearing it, but there’s no denying that dark colors are more practical for dancing. And paired with a wonderfully Mad Men-esque ivory jacket I just found at a second thrift shop, this skirt means business:

Work-to-tango outfit 1

Work-to-tango outfit 1. Worn with a simple lighter-gray knit cowl-neck shell under my amazing ivory jacket, my gray skirt is work-ready. Then I just need to slip the jacket off (and change into my tango shoes, of course), and I’m ready to dance!

The ivory jacket looks a little boxy in this photo, but it’s actually quite close-fitting through the waist, which works beautifully with the slim fit of the top of my skirt. Oh, and I have to show you a detail of this jacket:

Jacket detail

Jacket detail. Made from a substantial cotton brocade-like fabric (and fully lined in Bemberg rayon, my fave), the deep U-neckline with its ruched trim is an unusual finishing touch. (Jacket price: $10.00!)

And here’s another outfit possibility, starting with the same gray skirt. (Recognize the top?)

Work-to-tango outfit 2

Work-to-tango outfit 2. This tweedy jacket pairs perfectly with my new gray skirt, especially with the color-blocked top I made out of knit fabric scraps! (The tweed jacket is another thrift-shop find: $6.50!)

Now I’m starting to get a feel for where I want to go, garment-wise, in my quest for the perfect Take Tango to Work wardrobe: colors and fabrics should be more work-appropriate, and the garment silhouettes (especially skirts and dresses) can be a little more dance-y; this gray pinstriped skirt is a wonderful example of how this balance can be achieved. And no matter where my work takes in me in the course of a day, I won’t have to pack a completely different outfit to go straight to tango!

Next Monday, I’ll be focusing on choosing sewing patterns and fabrics to make work-and-dance-ready clothes. And big news! This week, I’ll be starting a new series called Thrift-Shop Thursdays (beginning on, coincidentally, Thursday); this series will start by addressing common issues with thrift-shop finds, from missing buttons to worn-out linings. Later, I’ll be working on some clothes-remodeling projects. Join me on Thursday, and don’t miss next week’s episode of… Makeover Monday!

Author: Colormusing

I'm a writer, color palette creator, and designer of fashion, lingerie, graphics, knitwear patterns, and yarn.

11 thoughts on “Makeover Monday: She Shops… She Scores!

  1. I love your Work to Tango outfit. That skirt is a fashion essential..what a great find 😉

  2. I can’t believe how creative and talented you are with the pieces of clothing that you end up re-creating. I love to shop at Value Village too up here in Canada. I don’t look for the creative pieces that you find but I tend to load up on basic separates. I am so glad you mentioned Value Village! As a matter of fact, a new one has opened 20 minutes away from where I live so now i don’t have to drive for 40 minutes to the other side of the city. So appreciate the virtual friendship! ~Thea

    • I’ve loved VV for years! (And since my wardrobe is clearly always at some phase of transformation, I donate a lot to them too.) I’m usually the most successful when I’m not looking for anything too specific; in this case, I really wanted some simple tops to dance in (i.e. washable), but found this fantastic skirt instead. And I appreciate you too, Thea!! : )

      • Next time I go to VV I will be thinking of you and what you might select. i have to admit I enjoy the hunt more than the catch! ~Thea

  3. Love the bias and detail design of the skirt – classy look & perfect to tango in = touchdown!

    • I’m so lucky to have found this skirt! I wore it to my Monday class, and it felt really good– easy to move in, light and flowy. It’s wool, but super-high quality, fine-gauge and light, so I should be able to wear it year-round!

  4. Thanks for liking my photo challenge workers. I think you have some great ideas here, and I can use help figuring out my wardrobe, so I’ll be following

    • Thank you for liking my post and following me too!! I really like to do posts that address questions from others, so please feel free to let me know what your specific issues or questions are, okay? Thanks again, Rosemarie!

  5. Pingback: Makeover Monday: Sew TTTW! | Changing Your Clothes

  6. Pingback: Thrift-Shop Thursday: Shopping Strategies, Part 1 | Changing Your Clothes

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